The real problem is not that immigrants are destroying the American dream but that they are achieving it. If you are in the segment of America that applauded the re-writing of the plaque on the Statue of Liberty by Ken Cuccinelli yesterday, you can no longer look her in her bronze eyes. The truth about the debate over the immigration conundrum is not that we are fearful of immigrants being on the dole, it is the fear of their success. Following the abolishment of slavery, America entered into the Reconstruction Period. The dream of the now freed slaves was to stand on their own two feet, as Mr. Cuccinelli scornfully suggested as an addendum to Emma Lazarus’ words.
Former slave owners were not in fear of losing an exploited workforce because they continued the exercise of power over freed Africans. Reconstruction offered a move toward equity, and that had to be quickly snuffed out. Demanding wages, education and the right to vote and run for elected office brought about the night riders, now known as the Ku Klux Klan. During the wave of Chinese immigration, it was initially welcomed as a labor force that helped build the Transcontinental Railroad system. Once real economic advancement started, and the Chinese became less dependent as a cheap workforce, along came the Chinese Exclusion Act.
That brings us to the philosophy of Stephen Miller the White House adviser who has long envisioned the solidification of white America. The Trump administration started by chanting for walls and sending people back from where they came. The next step for bigots is to go after people of color who are here legally. So, first, you stir the embers, throw on a few logs, then sit back and let the blaze burn the bodies of your problem. The crying child begging for the release of her father through swollen eyes and a flood of tears, the dead bodies of a man and his daughter clinging to his back for their lives on the bank of a river, or children laying in their own feces, delights the White Supremacist Mr. Trump is now openly courting.
Statistically, immigrants are the safest people to be around as far as crime is concerned, and they avail themselves of social welfare programs in far fewer numbers than Americans. Immigrants add to the labor force helping to maintain lower prices for goods made in America. So, if they add to the economy, have lower crime rates and pay taxes, what is left but fear of their success. I dare anyone reading this or your friends to describe a conversation you had with yourself or your friends about how a “Mexican” took that lettuce picking job from you or worked digging road ditches for less pay from you or your friends.
I recently had a man of Mexican descent fix a leak in the ceiling of my bathroom. He is the first generation of his family born in America. His Mexican father would not have passed the Ken Cuccinelli immigrant entrance exam, he came here with no money and a dream. He started a drywall company, became an American citizen and is now raising a family in a South Carolina suburb. After the repairs were done, he loaded up his equipment and on his way to his truck he was stopped by a cop who wanted to know what he was carrying from my home. He was covered in joint compound sanding dust, paint on his face—and cap, and what was left of a small bag of joint compound mix. I saw what was happening from my window and quickly ran downstairs to vouch for him. We looked at each other, we both shook our heads, and he got in his vehicle and drove off.
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