Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Immigrant Problem

From Jerry Gettinger, friend and friend of the blog...and correspondent from next week's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte :) .  He wrote the following as a "My Turn" column and submitted it to the Arizona Republic, which published it in one of their print editions.  Since the Republic isn't publishing those columns online right now, he sent it here.

I have thought long and hard, and yet, I cannot understand what the problem some have with immigrants. Sure, I have heard all the standard reasons immigrants (legal and otherwise) are a problem. But when I go into the details of each reason, the reason doesn’t hold. I have been told that the crime rate is higher in areas where there are many immigrants (legal or otherwise), but the statistics say otherwise. Some elected officials cite the danger of immigrants and their propensity to commit illegal acts. However, the crime rate is no greater among immigrants than native born. I suspect that immigrants are used to scare residents gaining reelection. Incidentally, that tactic is as old as the United States. During the mass immigration of the late 1800’s there were leaflets warning citizens about people from Eastern Europe who were likely to “steal or commit other heinous crimes.” In many cases the flyers were referring to our relatives. How soon we forget!
There are those who insist that immigrants take jobs away from “law abiding citizens.” I may have looked in the wrong lot, but I haven’t seen many “law abiding” citizens looking for day jobs. Granted, there have been immigrants who have contributed ability and knowledge to a profession. Albert Einstein comes to mind. His knowledge helped populate NASA, which incidentally had several newly immigrants in its employee ranks. They became citizens with the stroke of the president’s pen. True. Look it up. Several of the scientists who developed the V2 rocket became citizens because of their knowledge. The fact that they were responsible for many deaths during WW2 was overlooked. (We sometimes come to conclusions based on the reality of need rather than morality). 
At this juncture I still cannot find out what the “immigrant problem” is. I know there are some who have offered conclusions, but to no avail. A man named Plumber Joe wants to build a high fence and shoot anyone who climbs it. That solution really doesn’t appeal to me. I would imagine the law (if implemented) would have to be evenly applied. I just don’t see shooting an older man with bushy white hair as he walked off a boat. Another interesting point I discovered. The immigrant problem changes identities as one changes location. It’s Asian In nature in parts of California, It was Irish and Italian on the East Coast, and there were times in New York City that everyone was against everyone. I suspect that some who profess to be “anti-immigrant” are actually racially motivated. The color of one’s skin seems to be important to many. Much to my surprise I discovered the second greatest number of “illegal immigrants” is the Irish. I don’t hear about Plumber Joe wanting to shoot them as they overstay their visit with their relatives.
Our country’s history is one of taking in people and patiently observing their assimilation. The Vietnamese boat people are a good example. Their children are grown and many are contributing. To see the number of “dream” youth who want the chance to be part of our country’s achievements makes me proud. I don’t hear of anyone lining up to be a citizen of Azerbaijan or the like. So Governor, instead of putting roadblocks in the path of the “Dream “people, how about helping them. The impressive contributions immigrants have made in every aspect of our country cry out for a positive resolution. Educate, employ and train is the solution. Sheriff Joe, Gov. and even Plumber Joe would benefit. Jonas Salk’s family immigrated.
Jerry Gettinger

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