Another Wave of Immigrants:
The Hidden Truth about the Immigrant Other
Some people might call me Xicano (Chicano), or some might call me Mexican-American, or Latino or perhaps just simply American. But in the eyes of some right wing fundamentalists, I might be called an anchor baby. They say that because of my parents illegal status at the time of my birth that I shouldn’t be considered a United States citizen. Isn’t it fair to assume, though, that many of these same people, who use the derogatory term “anchor baby,” are also descended from immigrants?
I mean, if I’m an anchor baby because I was born from undocumented immigrants, then aren’t we all technically anchor babies ? I mean, aren’t we all a generation or generations descended from undocumented immigrants?
Unless, that is, you come from a Native American heritage, which last I checked the percentage in this country, was fairly low. In my estimation, the majority of us come from immigrant parents or grandparents or great grandparents or what not, who came with the same dreams and aspirations.
With recent policies and challenges to the 14th Amendment, however, it seems as though there is a looming wave of ignorance among the uninformed masses. They don’t see that we are all sons and daughters of immigrants and that we should be helping each other not hating each other.
Needless to say, let me remind them that the original 13 colonies were a group of dissidents from another country that came here to improve their lives, while securing something for their future generations.
Also, because of them African slaves, as well as other groups, became a sort of “involuntary immigrant,” which became the primary reason for the creation of the 14th Amendment. It allowed foreign-born slaves, or laborers, to produce US-born citizens into bondage.
After slavery was abolished and somewhat diminished, our country resorted to Chinese and European immigrants to deal with the shortage of free labor. The First Transcontinental Railroad was built on the backs of many different cultures.
Once they – Chinese Americans, Irish Americans, Italian Americans, Polish Americans etc. – began to assimilate and gain rights, these immigrants were persecuted very much like the immigrants of today. Interestingly enough, the Chinese Americans were subjected to a discriminatory policy i.e. the Chinese Exclusion Act that bares a close resemblance to recent immigration laws against Latino immigrants. It really is strange how the past really is never really past.
Current immigrants are met with the same ignorance that was shown to the Chinese, Irish, Italian and Black immigrants. Moreover, all of this is ignored while raking in the rewards from the huge services that documented and undocumented workers provide. The truth is that the undocumented worker of today is no different than any another worker from the past; the slave, the servant, the laborer and the “other,” will it never end?
The views upon undocumented Mexican or Central American immigrants today may seem like a burdensome problem to some, but the truth is many of the same people remain ignorant of the reality of immigration: they provide the cheap labor that has been the staple in any thriving US economy.
Let’s face it, these workers are doing the jobs no one else will do. The back bone of America today is Latino, and is being disregarded.
The following Telemundo report, about the agricultural immigrant labor in the Salinas valley, highlights the experiences of immigrants today and how they are filling the role of cheap labor.
The report analyzes the notion of stolen jobs by undocumented workers. The video is in Spanish, so put your Sombreros on 😀
I’m just saying, how many of us are willing to pick fruits and vegetables for a living? and shouldn’t we be more aware of the treatment of immigrant workers, so that perhaps they aren’t taken advantage of?