Immigration & the New Illegality
Xenophobic tendencies in U.S. immigration policy are nothing new. The creation of a “permanent impermanent status” for millions of undocumented immigrants today can be seen in a historical context when we learn about The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Asiatic Barred Zone in 1917, and the mass deportations of Mexicans in the 1930s and 1950s. Currently there are nationalist sentiments demanding the deportation of 12 million undocumented immigrants no matter how impractical, no matter the cost. Even the humanitarian gesture to expand the numbers eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA is overruled by activist judges. And we can still hear immigrants blamed for everything from bedbugs to measles. But these attitudes are losing traction as the “browning of America” continues. More humane proposals to integrate displaced peoples are slowly moving through state legislative bodies. But on the national level, the plight of new arrivals to the United States seems to twist in the proverbial political wind.
Avi Chomsky is a Latin American History professor at Salem State University and author of Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal and They Take Our Jobs and 20 other Myths about Immigration.
Avi Chomsky gives a very informative overview of U.S. government immigration policy that exposes the racist foundations of the system and explains how it evolved to become what it is today, as well as its persistent injustices.
Her talk shines a light on the plight of the many children in the U.S. who grow up not even knowing they are undocumented, until around age 16 when they find the “path to adulthood” basically closed off to them as a result of not being legally allowed to get a driver’s license or a job or attend college at affordable in-state tuition rates. Listeners are helped to understand the reality that if you are poor and from the “wrong” country, it is basically impossible to legally migrate to the United States.
When Chomsky notes the exclusion of Native Americans from the 14the Amendment’s granting of birthright citizenship in a negative context however, she neglects to mention the fact that Indian tribal lands are technically independent nations, by treaty with the U.S. government. Thus making Indians into U.S. citizens without explicitly granting them dual citizenship would have undermined the independence of these lands.
The problem of course remains that the U.S. government has not been respecting that independence, which exists mostly on paper only. It should be pressured to uphold its treaties with the tribes and respect the sovereignty and independence of their nations, which should also be recognized by other governments and by the United Nations.
kasha barton –
I heard this on alternative radio one evening. This talk was one of those that you pull your car over when you get to where you’re going and just sit and listen. I didn’t want to miss a thing. It was one of the most comprehensive, thoughtful, respectful and enlightened discussion of how the illegality of immigration came to be. I will definitely use it with my college students to offer the whole perspective to a story that is told from only one white male side.
I’ll be researching other books and talked by Avi. Excellent program. please keep them coming! Thank you Thank you thank you!!
Even Austria, Switzeland, Monaco born people do not get immigration. In Qatar, after marriage some immigration restrictions. I think the same is in Emyrates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait. Media reported In South Africa were cases when locals even kill immigrants.
So US is better than average. And why US has to let everybody in? It is not affordable for tax payers. No country in the world wants to be flooded w poor not educated people. It is also a terrorist threat. I do not think US residents Mexicans want US to be flooded by Mexican immigrants. They will take cheep jobs from US Mexicans, but not from wealthy Americans.
I doubt if it can be “easy immigration law for rich White Europeans”. Then Russian mafia will step in. Remember The Beatle John Lennon had problems w immigration even if he married US citizen. He is in the category of “rich White”.