Monday, August 09, 2010

The Political Complexity of Immigration

The Tribune/WGN commissioned a poll of the Chicago area that shows that voters understand that immigration is something that must be handled with nuance and compassion
The telephone poll of 800 heads of households across the six-county Chicago region July 8-14 found that 57 percent of the respondents did not want police to seek illegal immigrants for deportation.

Almost half of those polled, 48 percent, said they believed that illegal immigrants snatched jobs and resources, taking away from society and the economy.

Nearly all of those who responded, 87 percent, believed that some sort of legal status should be offered to the nearly 11 million people in the country illegally, provided that the immigrants aren't dangerous felons, that they learn English and that they pay fines and back taxes.

I've been blogging immigration for over five years now. Earned blisters from marches, protests and vigils close to home and across the country. Voted and advocated for promigrant/prohumanity candidates. Networked to help relief find the random email from a scared brother or sister without documents.

To be honest, it feels unsettling to talk about immigration as a political issue, because it has been used a weapon to destroy the lives of migrant workers, youth, and the communities that give our neighborhoods the vibrant sense of home that we love and cherish.

On the national level, both parties have bought into the notion that there is such a thing as having enough border security - the mirage of satiating the bloodlust of nativists who would rather see a fence hundreds of miles along a desert homeland that has experienced the migration of human beings for as long as the species walked the earth.

We have to be willing to change the way we think about immigration.

We must have the courage to look in the mirror for the reasons that the Summer of 2010 will go down as the deadliest in Arizona. 214 as of July 31st.

We should challenge politicians who are trying to save their careers by offering soundbites that are reckless and unconstitutional.

We must - because it will be the only thing that slows down this march to extremism by the United States. We must remember who we are as human beings.

We must.

Which is why The Sanctuary is back.

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