Monday, May 01, 2006

The Great American Boycott

The Great American Boycott is a pro-immigrant demonstration where supporters will not work, go to school, or purchase anything on May 1st, which is today. This was set up because of recent demonstrations by illegal and legal immigrants nationwide. Illegal immigrants are being targeted because of the lax laws the United States has with border security. According to this article, there's approximately 12 million illegal immigrants living in this country.

Many want them out of the country because they claim they are breaking the law by entering illegally into this country. I say "Who cares?" The majority of these people are entering this country as a last attempt to better their lives and the lives of their families. They are mostly poverty stricken people that are looking for a better life like other immigrants have done in the past. Are they breaking US laws? Yes, but the US is allowing that to happen. There is very little border security. If there was better control of the situation, we wouldn't have 12 million illegal immigrants.

I saw a report the other day, which talked about the problem with immigrants. They don't assimilate to the American culture, they live in bunches, they take jobs that Americans should have, and they don't speak the language. Well, let's discuss all of these points because I find them very interesting.

Illegal immigrants aren't assimilating to the American culture. This is actually an argument that Cuban Americans have posed, but that's a whole other post. Every single immigrant, from Italians, Jews, Irish, Puerto Ricans, and etc. have all retained a part of their heritage. They become completely American by retaining some of their own culture and mainstreaming it into American culture. If that weren't the case, then we wouldn't be eating Italian food, having Matzo, eating pasteles, listening to different types of music, and the list goes on. Cubans wouldn't be Cuban Americans if they didn't offer un cortadito, arroz con pollo, cigars, and etc. We also wouldn't have the influx of latin beats into American music if it weren't for Latinos.

Everything that I just mentioned is what makes America, America. The reason for this is because America is a country based on immigrants. There is no mistake in that when you come to NYC and go to Little Italy and Chinatown. Does this mean that the Italians and the Chinese aren't assimilated? No, it just means that they are bringing a different aspect of being American. Diversity people, diversity.

These illegal immigrants live in bunches. Well, have you tried renting lately? The majority, if not all, of these immigrants are working low paying jobs in which they end up sending money to their families back at home. I can't blame them for doing so. Their families are living in poverty. As you see, they don't have much of a choice. If they live together, then they'll pay less rent and more money will be sent to their families. Again, I can't blame them for doing so.

So the illegal immigrants are taking jobs that Americans should have. Well, if Americans wanted them, then they would have them. Obviously the jobs that these immigrants are taking, aren't jobs that are desirable by Americans. Are they driving wages down? Yes, they are. Again, if more Americans were willing to take those jobs, then that wouldn't be happening.

The language part is my favorite. Now, I'm a big proponent on learning English. You're in this country, you should learn the language. It is in your best interest to do so. The problem is that most of these immigrants work many, many hours. If your main worry is to put food on the table, then you really don't have time to learn the language. I will use my father as an example. My father use to work from about 7 or 8 in the morning to sometimes 8 or 9 at night Monday through Friday. Then on Saturday and Sundays, he would work 12 hour shifts. He did this for many years. Do you think he had time to learn English?

I also challenge all Americans that only speak English to pick up another language. I find that many are very proud of knowing English like if that makes you better than other people. I know two languages. You don't see me boasting about it. In fact, I'm kind of embarrassed that I never fully learned French while I was in college. I know English because I was born here. I know Spanish because that's the language that was spoken in my house, but I never made much of an effort to learn another language. I had a hard time with French and decided to take Spanish in order to write better. Europeans learn more than one language. Why isn't it that important in the US to learn more than one language? The fact of the matter is that learning another language is difficult. English is also a particluraly complex language. It does not make much sense like Spanish, French, and Italian do.

There are many valid arguments on both sides of the spectrum. I happen to think that it is impossible to kick out these illegal immigrants. Grant them amnesty. Let's think about being humans and not Americans and illegals. These people are here just like everyone else that came before them to look for a better way of life. You can't blame them for that. The United States needs to have better control of the border situation. We are allowing them to come into the country. Don't turn around and call them criminals for breaking our laws. We are not doing much to stop them.

To show solidarity with the illegal immigrants and all immigrants, I will not be going into work today. All Americans should participate in this because we were all immigrants at one point. Like it always happens when a new wave of immigrants come into this country, we tend to critise them for being different or for changing the face of America. That's what makes immigrants great. They add a new flavor into this country. For a country made up of so many different cultures, we sure aren't tolerable to new people. What does that say about us?

1 comment:

Melissa H said...

Not to mention that America does not HAVE a "national language", so all of those who say ignorantly, "Learn English or go home" need to realize that our country has never specified that there is an official language to be learned. I absolutely agree that we should all learn tolerance as well as educate ourselves on the amazing cultures and languages abundant in our country.