Friday, March 17, 2006

Immigrants of Every Color of the Rainbow

Living in the Southwest, when the topic of immigration comes up, it usually rests in the context of the relationship between the U.S., Mexico and Latin America; but since today is St. Patrick's Day, lets shift the focus for a moment from brown to green, and honor the activism of some of the Irish immigrants who are using their cherished holiday to take a stand for human rights.
At St. Patrick's Day parades in San Francisco and Chicago last weekend, activists with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform wore white-and-green T-shirts saying "Legalize The Irish" and passed out fliers urging people to call their elected representatives in support of allowing undocumented workers to earn legal status as guest workers. Similar activism is expected at parades in other cities in coming days.

Adding heft to the immigrants' message, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who visited San Jose on Tuesday, plans to push President Bush for legal status for illegal Irish immigrants when he visits the White House on Friday, St. Patrick's Day.


"They are in as dire straits as any other ethnic group," said Kennelly, who estimates there are 3,000 to 4,000 Irish illegal immigrants in San Francisco, most working in construction, in restaurants or as nannies and caretakers for the elderly. "They cannot get driver's licenses, it's harder to open bank accounts, they cannot travel home and return again. ... The relationship between Ireland and America is so long and fantastic, but it's in danger now."

San Francisco Chronicle
As Duke1676 pointed out yesterday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is laying the foundation for a new era of domestic concentration camps, designed to herd unwanted human beings into the shadows of society. A large-scale "dust under the rug" strategy, if you will.

A good litmus test to determine the morality of any policy decision is to ask yourself "Why?" What is the motivation for taking a particular course of action?

In the case of egregious moves to seal off the country by wingnut Republicans like John Sensenbrenner, Arlen Specter, Jon Kyl and John Cornyn, the motivation is xenophobia, racism, and greed. No one on the left or center of the political spectrum should support their efforts, but sadly there are enough liberal and moderate Americans who have bought into the propaganda against the scary, eeeevil "aliens" invading their Manifest Destiny-imparted land.

The Irish immigrants demonstrating for their freedom today carry on the torch of all human beings who are seeking a better life. They are hard-working people who are merely satisfying the instinctive need to care for their own. As they rally today, clad in green, may their message of equality and human dignity be spread across the country with the vibrancy of a rainbow, and may the pot of gold found at its end be Freedom.

Accept this Irish Blessing today as a call to Solidarity.

We're on this Earth together,
And if we would be brothers,
Fight not just on your own behalf
But for the sake of others.

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