Monday, 2 July 2012

This land is your land...Wait. No, lemme change that...

My PSA for the moment:

The election season is really starting to heat up. Facebook is absolutely awash with people sharing their views in easy to read infographics. I know, as a woman, this political season has been a jaw-dropping, nail-biting cluster fuck of me wondering how in the hell these things are happening (again).

But I'm not going to talk to you about Women's Rights-although make no mistake, I have PLENTY opinions about all that....

No, I'm going to talk to you right now about immigration. People banging on about closing the borders. Build a wall. Send them back. America for Americans.

My husband is an immigrant. My son is an immigrant. We are a little family that has done more paperwork to be together than most Americans would see in a lifetime. Being an immigrant is hard and it is scary. I know, because most of my adult life so far, was living as an immigrant myself in the UK.

While America and England share so much culturally, there are glaring differences, and being out of the climate that you were raised can induce a lot of feelings of panic, isolation, and depression. Being an immigrant can be a  thrilling, amazing experience, but make no mistake, it is scary.

Now, usually, when this sort of banter begins and I point out that my little family is a little family of immigrants, people usually like to say "Well, it's different". Why? Because we're white? We speak English? Because we filled out our paperwork correctly? Technically, by these neo-conservative standards of wrong, my husband has still "stolen" a job that should rightfully belong to an American. Never mind that it is to support HIS family (of course, including his apparent "anchor" baby).

The isolationist propaganda frightens me. This is a country that was built from immigrants. As a country, we take an almost disgusting amount of pride in our individual heritages without even really knowing what that necessarily means sometimes, other than to perpetuate cultural stereotypes. How we can be prideful of a past we are so disconnected from? Why are we so afraid of a continual influx?

This USA makes it nearly impossible to enter this country via any way except through marriage. It was easier for Griff and I to live for years in England and decide to finally marry on our own terms and in our own time, rather than simply marry in the US so we could stay together. Many couples have no other option. Never mind the fact that if you are a same-sex couple, you are virtually screwed. And au-pairs? No way. While other countries have visas that allow part time work while traveling, America says no. And even if you are fortunate to get a work visa, be prepared to be heavily investigated. America does not want you.

So the talk turns to illegal immigrants. We can all agree that it is wrong to break the law. But I take issue with the statement that being illegal is somehow easy. No way. Being legal can be stressful enough, but being illegal I'm sure is terrifying. I take issue with a law that would say "We can stop you at any time and for any reason to check your papers because YOU LOOK ILLEGAL".

This is not a brilliant piece of writing. But recently, my feelings were hurt by people I care for, by a thoughtless infograph. My family matters, my family exists. We may not fit the stereotype that you are rallying against, but make no mistake, we are immigrants.


Wendy Marie said...

I wish you would share this on your facebook. Love it and you and your immigrant family.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic piece. Love you.