Sunday, March 25, 2007

Immigration movement

I was at the pro-immigrant rally today here in downtown L.A. It was nowhere near as large as the one I participated in last year but there were still plenty of people (I heard something like 3-5k) out supporting this human rights issue. It was very peaceful which was great considering there was a group of about 200 anti-immigrant supporters there as well. It got a little heated at times as people exchanged insults but it never went past that. Like last year, all kinds of people came- families, non-minorities & youth- which was also nice to see.

I'm completely befuddled by the folks who are anti-immigrants. Their "beef" is that immigrants come here to take jobs, usurp social services (public education, healthcare, etc.) & do not want to assimilate into American culture (ie. learn the language). These folks have obviously been fed mass media's b.s. & are simply ignorant (for not doing any research on their own, at least). I'll explain why.

UCLA published the findings of a study a few years back which stated that immigrants contribute more than $20 billion (going off memory, but pretty sure that's correct) to the economy than they receive in return- due to not being eligible for certain services or not even applying due to fear of deportation (I lost that link when I reformatted my hard drive over a year ago but as soon as I locate it, I'll edit this post).

Immigrants do attempt to assimilate into American culture by learning the language, thinking otherwise is ludicrous! You try learning a completely foreign language (that uses totally different tongue muscles) when you're an adult & see how you do, it's not easy (why parents are advised to teach their children as many foreign languages as possible @ an early age, it's easier to learn the younger you are- it's a proven gerontological fact). I lived near a middle school about 10 years ago close to Hollywood & every day around 6-7pm, traffic was insane due to the amount of adult latinos (some koreans too) going to night school to learn english.

The #1 issue I hear anti-immigrants clamoring about is immigrants coming here to take jobs. First of all, if anything, immigrants here are victimized by employers who have poor working conditions, don't pay adequately & just, generally, abuse the system & their employees. Second of all, many times it's these immigrants who are doing menial jobs that noone else wants- being a cook at a fast food restaurant, working in agriculture or working in other service professions like low-paid healthcare, childcare & house cleaning. The thing that gets me riled up the most, however, is how you have TONS of American corporations moving their bases of operations (ie. Halliburton) or completely off-shoring large segments of their business outside of the U.S. I've worked in Technology for 10+ years & it's become common practice. Pay close attention next time you call Dell, Compaq/HP or your local cable company for tech support- that's not an American helping you out, it's usually someone from India. But we never hear about this in the media & I don't hear the American public holding these multi-billion dollar corporations accountable for the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs stateside.

It's this ignorance perpetrated by the mass media that's keeping our population misinformed. Daresay, I even call it divisive. That's what saddened me the most today- seeing faces of color on the anti-immigrant side. Has it been so long that they've forgotten that at one time, in the past, they were treated & viewed in the same, inhumane way?

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