Friday, May 16, 2008

Juan Crow?

I think this article provides an important paradigm shift on the immigration issue. I hope you will take the time to give it a read:

Juan Crow: The Deep South's New Second-Class Citizens, by By Roberto Lovato, The Nation.

Here is the heart of the matter:
...younger children of the mostly immigrant Latinos in Georgia are learning and internalizing that they are different from white -- and black -- children not just because they have the wrong skin color but also because many of their parents lack the right papers. They are growing up in a racial and political climate in which Latinos' subordinate status in Georgia and in the Deep South bears more than a passing resemblance to that of African-Americans who were living under Jim Crow. Call it Juan Crow: the matrix of laws, social customs, economic institutions and symbolic systems enabling the physical and psychic isolation needed to control and exploit undocumented immigrants.

When we come at the immigration issue from a divisive and reactionary place, we dehumanize immigrants and, in the process, denigrate not only them but ourselves, too.

In Nebraska, we have had a number of recent examples. For instance, the Unicameral tried to pass legislation blocking in-state tuition for children of undocumented immigrants, a purely mean and punitive move designed to take away one of the key ladders to independence and self-determination. Or, our bone-headed Attorney General, John Bruning, has refused to enforce federal fair housing legislation because a couple of the cases involved undocumented immigrants, even though federal law is clear that immigration status does not justify discrimination. In both instances (and others), conservative politicians and their followers have forgotten the humanity of immigrants, instead opting to exploit them as symbolic pawns in an increasingly desperate political game.

People! Let us wake up to the humanity of others: Immigrants - documented or not - are PEOPLE, HUMAN BEINGS, and as such, deserve to be treated with compassion and justice, regardless of their status.

What does all this reaction say about us? What does it reveal about the soul of our nation?

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