Today, Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) unveiled legislation at the White House, with a stoic looking President Piss Party right behind them. That legislation seeks to put a serious damper on how many people can immigrate to the United States. The reforms sought by Cotton, Perdue, and Comrade Trump would cut the number of foreign born people who can receive green cards to be joined with family already living here, cut the number of refugees we take in (which is already almost nothing compared to European allies) by half, and eliminate a program that helps low-income families in other countries gain work visas to work in the States.
The subject of undocumented or “illegal” immigration is a touchy one, full of all kinds of gray areas. It’s easy to sympathize with people so desperate to improve their lives that they break some immigration laws to move themselves or their family to a country of opportunity, like ours. It’s also easy to sympathize with people who “wait their turn” or “do it the right way.” There are reasons to get a handle on undocumented immigration, including getting all immigrants paying into the system through taxation.
You could make a reasoned, passionate, and compassionate argument to limit undocumented immigration that is still “liberal.” You can argue that everyone should pay into the system they want to bring their families into. I would be willing to hear all kinds of rationale, and I am sure you would be to, for fairly assessing our immigration system and finding ways to discourage people from entering illegally, while also encouraging people to do it the right way.
But there is only one single, solitary reason to put a limit on how many people can enter your country — Good Old Fashioned White Supremacy.
Make no mistake about it, there is no logical reason to so severely limit the legal immigration of people into a country other than for racist reasons. Think about it. Cotton and Perdue are essentially arguing that someone being born on American soil makes them a better person. They are trying to imply, I gather, that there’s just something superior in our American DNA to that of people who happen to be born on the other side of imaginary lines drawn on a map.
Every generation of Americans has been told that foreigners are the devil and will destroy our economy. The Chinese, Italian, and Irish immigrant populations all faced some stiff opposition to their immigration to this country. Each had to prove themselves worthy of citizenship by first entering society at the lowest rung. They’d build our railroads and high rise buildings, and eventually, they weren’t looked down upon.
Now, do I think that every Republican who wants to limit immigration does so because every immigrant — to them — looks differently than they do? No, of course not. I just think it makes it a hell of lot easier for people like Cotton and Perdue to sell their bullshit. If every immigrant looked they came down from Toronto, do we really think Cotton and Perdue or their ilk would care so much? Hell, during the press conference announcing the legislation, Cotton made sure to say that he wants immigrants who speak English well. Because you know, we can’t possibly believe that bright, energetic, wonderful people who will contribute to society might not speak English perfectly.
Also, while I’m thinking about it, it’s kind of hilarious that Cotton would be speaking about favoring people who have mastered English just steps in front of a guy who tweets and speaks with the grammar and tone of an angry toddler and only speaks in superlatives.
It just feels like we’ve been over this immigration thing a million times, and certain Republican wings still don’t get what history has taught us. Without immigration, Apple could have been founded in Syria. Without immigration, we wouldn’t have Little Italy, or Chinatown, or any other great enclave of multiculturalism. Think about it, without immigration, we wouldn’t even have pizza or hamburgers in this country.
Legal immigration and illegal immigration are part of what makes this country great. I’ll put it in veterinarian terms, even though I’m neither a doctor nor a doctor who sees animals. I did however once have a conversation with my wife’s cousin, who is a vet. And she told me that mutts live longer and have fewer health problems, on average, than purebred animals do. Why? Because evolution has had a chance to work its magic, and the best traits from the donor DNA have been selected over hundreds of years to produce a hybrid animal better than one made of just one breed.
America isn’t a purebred dog, as much as certain hood wearing congressman would have us believe. America has always been a mutt. I for one hope we stay that way, because pink tongues aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, but also because I’m not a racist piece of shit who thinks my skin color belongs on a job application under “special skills.”
Trying to block undocumented immigration is tricky but understandable. Blocking legal immigration is only done when you think your precious homogeneity is more important than being a melting pot. What difference does it make if you have to Dial 1 for English? What harm does it do you to see a billboard in Spanish or Korean on your way to work? If you’re a Republican, apparently you take these things as an affront to your very being.
To the rest of us, we just see stuff that makes you realize you’re not on a big island of white folks. Oh the horror!