Tag Archives: immigration

A Better Way to Internet Politics

I often wonder if there’s a more productive way for politics to move forward. It’s especially bleak right now after the election of Donald Trump, an election that was very short on actual policy positions and very high on the spread of fake news.

Everybody has a take on the 2016 election, and I’m sure we’ll be reading about it forever, but one story I read compared Trump to Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi and suggested the way to beat Trump is to ignore his antics and focus on policy.

I wonder if that would work. That seemed like one of the most telling moments of the presidential debates (and I commented on it my election post), though I don’t know if that moment changed anyone’s mind (it was easily overshadowed by other moments).

Maybe it’s idealistic and wouldn’t actually work, but I think a better, saner grasp of the facts and issues would go a long way to helping democracy, for all sides.

So what might that look like? Continue reading A Better Way to Internet Politics

Immigration Protest: “It’s Not About Us”

I’ve confessed before that I’ve turned into a pretty sappy guy of late. Today while listening to a news story on immigration I felt those familiar heartstrings being pulled. The tears weren’t coming—not just yet anyway. But if the story went on it could have gotten ugly.

It was a story on The World about a group of immigrant students who held a sit-in protest in Senator John McCain’s office in Arizona. They spoke with one student, Yahaira Carrillo, who has lived in the United States since she was seven. Her parents were migrant farmer workers for a time and she was brought into the U.S. illegally by them, with no choice in the matter. She’s been in the United States her entire life and considers herself an American. However, she has no path to citizenship. She represents as many as 65,000 students who are in the U.S. illegally, brought here by their parents. Now they’re being punished for their parents’ mistakes.

These students’ only hope is a piece of proposed legislation, the Dream Act, that would give students like them a path to legal citizenship.

Carrillo sounded like your typical American college student. She didn’t have a hint of an accent and says she speaks and writes English much better than she does Spanish (though that shouldn’t matter). The only thing she’s ever known is America and if deported—something she could face after the protest—she has no idea where she would go. And that’s when I felt the heartstrings being pulled:

“We knew what we were facing by going into the Senator’s office, we knew that deportation in the long run is a possibility. But It’s not about us, it’s about something bigger. What matters is the Dream Act, what matters is all of these thousands of young people—like I said, it’s 65,000 a year who graduate who don’t have a path to follow their dreams.”

When Carrillo says she loves America, she’s not just full of it. She wanted to join the Marines and spent a year in an ROTC program before realizing that she’d never be able to join the Armed Forces as an illegal immigrant.

“I love this country,” she says, “I want nothing more than to contribute fully and as much as I can to it.”

Call my sappy, but that kind of initiative and sacrifice on the part of her fellow undocumented students is incredible. I’m no expert on the Dream Act after listening to a five minute radio story, but it seems to me that students like her who didn’t have a choice in breaking the law should have some option other than deportation.

Immigration is a pretty touchy topic these days. I certainly don’t know what the best solution is, but as I read a New York Times piece on the generational divide over immigration, I was reminded that only a hundred years ago my grandparents’ church still had services in German. We are a nation of immigrants. We should never forget that.

Minnesota: The Muslim Frontline

Is it me, or is Minnesota some kind of flashpoint for Muslim conflict? There were the Muslim taxi drivers refusing to carry alcohol, there were the six Muslim imams booted off a U.S. Airways flight, there was the charter school allegedly teaching Islam and now we’ve got Muslim tortilla workers fired for dress code violations.

Freedom of religion is turning into a frontline battle in Minnesota. What I find so perplexing is the double standard Muslims seem to face. Once upon a time Christians were in the same boat.

So far the Star Trib article covering the tortilla caper has 536 comments (though I urge you not read them—a newspaper article with comments is kind of stupid; it’s not quite the same as a personal blog entry). The infuriating comment the Star Trib highlights is bad enough:

Immigrate = Assimilate
“I don’t understand why recent immigrants have refused to embrace the American way of life. Why did you come here if you don’t want to change any of your behaviors? When my relatives came here, they learned to speak English and embraced the norms of American society. You can still love and respect your culture, but to live in American means to be an Americann.”

I’ve always understood being American to mean we have the freedom to live the way we want, not being forced to embrace a certain lifestyle. These kind of ‘Immigrate=Assimilate’ arguments always frustrated me. The initial immigrants to the U.S. (i.e., colonists) hardly assimilated with the natives—they just conquered them. The Native Americans were always the ones learning multiple languages and serving as translators while the Europeans sat idly by with their sole language. Times apparently don’t change.

And apparently we’ve forgotten the lack of assimilation of our forefathers. The church my mom and grandparents grew up in was founded by German immigrants and held German services well into the 20th century, long after everyone got off the boat.

I think the U.S. is quickly reaching a point where the dominant culture is no longer white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant males, and it’s freaking some people out. Welcome to the minority.