Chaotic–The post-election state of immigration

Chaotic–The post-election state of immigration

How is it that a nation—one that calls itself a nation of immigrants— turns against the newest of arrivals? What can we do to make their lives less chaotic and more just?

¿ Cómo lo es que nuestro país—una que se llama si misma una nación de inmigrantes–se vuelve contra los más nuevos inmigrantes ? ¿Qué podemos hacer para poner sus vidas menos caótico  y más justo ?

Life is suddenly more chaotic for immigrants. I live in Minnesota. Here there are resident immigrants and resident bigots. Until the election, most of the bigots were invisible. That has changed. One of the young Latinas in our congregation told me some classmates she thought were friends now harass the immigrant students. ‘Go back where you came from!’ She said it was worse for Somalis, who are called ‘terrorists,’ and must fend off attempts to snatch their hijabs. How can anyone live while looking over her shoulder? How do I deal with this when I’m not an immigrant? Let’s start by understanding  our history and the roots of nativism.

La vida está más caótica para los inmigrantes ahora. Yo vivo en Minnesota. Aquí, hay los inmigrantes y intolerantes residentes así como. Hasta las elecciones, el más de los intolerantes fueron invisibles. Ahora, eso ha cambiado. Una latinas en nuestra congregación me dijo que algunos de los alumnos quienes ella pensara eran su amigos acosan los estudiantes inmigrantes. ‘Ir atrás tu país!’ Ella dijo que fuera peor para las somalís, que están llamados ‘terroristas’ y deben de prevenir atentados de remover sus hijabs. ¿Cómo puede cualquier persona vivir mientras mirando sobre su hombro? ¿ Cómo hago enfrentar esto cuando no soy inmigrante? Vamos a comenzar por entender nuestra historia y las raíces de nativismo.

Do we mean what we say?

This is our ideal. Do we mean what we say?

The racist virus has always been in the body politic but, with this election, it has broken out in pustules of hate. We can no longer pretend racism doesn’t exist. It’s always been there, now it’s visible. Trump didn’t create it, he exploited it. He drew to the surface something most of us preferred to ignore unless it touched us or someone we knew. We can’t pretend any longer.

El virus de racismo ha sido en el cuerpo político siempre pero con esta elección, lo ha rompió en pústulas de odio. No podemos pretender que el racismo no existe. Lo ha estado con nosotros para siempre. Ahora los está visible. El Sr. Trump lo no creado, él lo explotado. Él traigo al superficial algo que la mayoría de nosotros preferidos ignorar hasta que el racismo nos tocaba o un conocido. No podemos pretender nunca más.

Our history shows us the contours of our intolerance. The largely Protestant American majority of the 1850s feared Irish immigration—they were poor and Catholic. Chinese and Japanese immigrants barred by treaties ad laws in the 19th century. In the early 20th century, a fear of Slavs and Jews from eastern Europe resulted in quotas designed to keep a white majority from northern Europe. Indigenous Americans received citizenship in 1924! U.S. citizens of Japanese descent were interned during WW II, but not U.S. citizens of German descent. The quotas are gone and many whites fear they will no longer be the majority.

Nuestra historia nos muestra que estamos selectivos en nuestros prejuicios. La mayoría de protestante norteamericanos en los 1850s resisten la inmigración de Irlanda— fueron pobres y católico. Los chinos y japoneses estuvieron prohibido por acuerdos y leyes. Temprano en el sigo 20, un miedo de los eslavos y judíos de europea oriente resultó en cuotas fijadas para mantener una mayoría blanca desde europea norte. Los americanos indígenas recibieron la ciudadanía en 1924! Ciudadanos descendientes de Japón estuvieron internados durante la guerra mundial dos pero no los ciudadanos de descendientes de Alemania. Desde 1924 hasta 1965, nuestras leyes de inmigración usaban las cuotas para mantener un población de mayoría blanca de orígenes europea norte. Las cuotas existen no más y muchos blancos temen que ellos no van a ser la mayoría nunca más.

Trump campaigned by playing on an anti-immigrant fears and stereotypes. Lacking any grasp of the facts, he called Mexicans criminals, drug dealers, and rapists. FBI statistics show that violent crime is lower among immigrant communities than native-born communities. As for drugs, the U.S. and its citizens are the worlds largest market for narcotics. Market demand and not immigrants is the cause of drugs in the U.S.

Do good fences make good neighbors?

Do good fences make good neighbors?

Trump hizo campaña por tocando en los miedos y estereotipos de anti-inmigración. Faltando cualquier entendimiento de los hechos, él llamó mexicanos criminales, narcos, y rapistas. Las estadísticas de FBI muestren que los crímenes violentes son menos entre las comunidades de inmigrantes que en las comunidades de ciudadanas. En cuanto a las drogas, los EEUU y sus ciudadanos son el mercado más grande del mundo. Exigido del mercado y no los inmigrantes es la causa de drogas en los EEUU.

What is happening to our country? After centuries of immigration, why are we in chaos over who is or can be an American? Does the Statue of Liberty mean anything now?

¿Qué esta pasando a nuestra país? Después siglos de inmigración, por qué estamos en caos

Send me your...?

Do we still want the tired, the poor, the people unlike you and me…?

sobre quien es o puede ser un norteamericano? ¿Hay cualquier significada en la estatua de libertad ahora?  

If you worry about the chaos and discrimination against immigrants, there are simple but effectives things you can do. But if you aren’t concerned about the lives and civil rights of immigrants, then you are one of the oppressors. Silence in the face of evil is participation in the evil.

Si te preocupes sobre el caos y discriminación contra los inmigrantes, hay cosas simples pero útiles que puedes hacer. Pero, si tú no tiene una preocupación sobre las vidas y derechos civiles de los inmigrantes, eres uno de los que oprime. Silencio en la cara del mal es participación en el mal.

I recommend the following. Recomiendo los paso que siguen.

  • Join the local branch of a human rights organization like Amnesty International. Unirte con un organización para las derechos humanos.
  • Inventory your social and political connections. You probably know a professional who can help guide an and political system immigrant through the legal. Hacer un inventario de sus conexiones sociales y políticas.
  • Educate yourself on the legal rights of immigrants. Many immigrants are unaware they are entitled to due process—just as you are. Educar tu mismo sobre los derechos legales de inmigrantes.
  • Accompany an immigrant friend to court. Be a companion in their fearful walk. It will strengthen them—and you as well. Acompañar un amigo inmigrante al tribunal.
  • Honor your American ancestors. They fought in wars to secure legal and civil rights for all—the rights we too often take for granted. Honrar tus antepasados norteamericanos que pelearon en las guerras para asegurar tus derechos civiles.
  • Join an immigrant organization. A congregation, cultural, or service group will bring you in contact with people who need your friendship and aid. You will receive in proportion to what you give. Unirte una organización de inmigrantes.
  • Write letters for them—recommendations, introductions, or other documents. It is a small thing for you to do but it means the world to an immigrant. Escribir para ellos las cartas de recomendaciones y introducciones.
  • Let people know you are available to help them. Until immigrants know you are willing, they probably won’t ask you. What you receive back in friendship will exceed what you do, or think you do. Decir a la gente que estás desponible ayudarles.
  • Don’t worry about getting into trouble. It isn’t a crime to be a compassionate human being—regardless of their legal status. Standing with them in the face of trouble and injustice is the highest form of friendship if not patriotism. No preocuparse sobre ponerte en dificultades. Compasión delante de injusticia es el patriotismo más alto.

There is abundant information at the following:

Amnesty International

Fair Immigration Reform Movement

American Civil Liberties Union

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Immigration Legal Resource Center

American Immigration Council.


Lying and the greater good



When is it all right to tell a lie?  And when isn’t it all right to tell a lie?  Hmmm (I’m scratching my head).  “That depends,” I might answer.  “Depends on what?” you ask.  “That’s just it,” I answer.  “It depends.”  Bill Clinton had this problem as well, depending on what the meaning of “is” is.

So let’s step back and do what any college sophomore would do: Redefine the question.  Is lying the same as not telling the truth?  And is lying a greater sin than not telling the truth?  Or are they equally abhorent?

As a language student in Mexico, I lived with a host family – Julian and Lupita – whom I liked a lot.  And when I returned to Puebla for another two weeks of immersion, I asked to live with them again.  That wasn’t possible and I was assigned to a different family.  Six months later, when I made plans for a third immersion, I was again assigned to Julian and Lupita.  And during that immersion, I spent Cinco de Mayo visiting with the woman who had been my landlady six months before.

As we were visiting and watching the parade on her television, she abruptly asked me: “Why didn’t you ask to live with me this time?”   Her question caught me by surprise.  My mind shifted into panic mode: How to answer her question.  I didn’t want to lie, because I dislike lying.  And I didn’t want to tell the truth because it would offend or wound her.  Telling the whole truth would answer her question but it wouldn’t result in any good or remedy.  So, I told some of the truth and left out other parts.

“I didn’t ask the Institute to assign me to anyone.  I let them assign me where they thought best.”  The answer satisfied her and we continued to visit and watch the parade.

My answer was technically true as far as it went.  But what I didn’t tell her, was that I wrote to Julian and Lupita months in advance because Lupita had told me she would ask the Institute to place me with her if she knew when I was returning.  The whole truth was that I didn’t enjoy living in the woman’s household as much as I enjoyed living with Julian and Lupita.  That was my personal preference but it was the kind of truth that causes pain without anything good.  All the same, I felt some guilt.

Was my story a lie?  Well, yes and no.  In a legalistic sense – were I under oath in court – my story was less than the whole truth and could be counted a half-truth, a “white” lie.  To a legalist, I told a lie.  I deceived the woman.  My defense is that I deceived her to spare her pain.  Which was the greater good?

Flat out lying, fabricating or prevaricating falsehoods for the purpose of deception is clearly wrong.  But telling less than the whole truth falls into moral ambiguity.  Was it better to tell the whole truth about why I preferred to live with Julian and Lupita even if it gave offense?  Or was it better to spare the woman the pain of rejection because my personal preference is what it is?

That’s the problem with life’s ambiguities; it’s usually a conflict between two or more of our positive values.  I value integrity and telling the truth.  But I also treasure compassion and try to avoid giving needless pain, physical or emotional.  There was nothing the woman could do to change the outcome of my choice; it was purely personal on my part.  So the whole truth – my preferences – would have impaired our friendship and not bettered her life.

Sorting out the greater good is the crux of it whether or not to withhold the truth.  Do the ends justify the means?  If we are about to tell a lie (or withhold the truth) perhaps the best test of the lie is to ask ourselves to whom are we lying, and why?  Are we lying to deceive another; or are we deceiving ourselves?  It’s been said that once we have learned to lie to ourselves, all other lies are easy.  Our lies may harm others, but we must recognized the fact that our soul is the first casualy of our lies.