Dear State Senator Steve Smith,
I realize you have a lot on your plate, and I’m sorry to bother you with this little matter. But you see, it appears that you have access to some exclusive information that could really help out some of my friends, so I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind sharing some of this insider’s info with us.
I heard your interview on NPR a couple months ago, and you sure seem to know a lot about how privileged immigrants are in the United States. More so, in fact, than many immigrants themselves. See, I have quite a few friends who are immigrants from Mexico and other countries, and apparently they have never been told about the great amenities and services available to them!
First things first—could you please direct my attention to the open door in the U.S.-Mexico border through which people are able to walk through with ease and convenience, with or without papers? You see, a lot of folks I know were unlucky enough to make the cut for the Green Card lottery, and not patient enough to wait the average 182 years that it takes for a working class person to get any kind of permit. They couldn’t survive in their hometowns, thanks to all the U.S. companies that bled them of their wealth, and thanks to treaties like NAFTA that stack the cards against Mexico’s poor.
So they came here without papers.
Thing is, everyone I know was foolish enough to risk their lives crossing through the desert! Can you imagine that? Now apparently there is an open door somewhere in the border, but for whatever reason, none of my friends have heard of it. Could you help a brother out and let me know where this door is located? It would really help people avoid a life-endangering trek.
In addition, you refer to large groups of immigrants who “don’t want to change” and are forcing Americans to change and accommodate them instead. Now, my buddy José works 12 hours a day, busting his ass to earn a little money for his family, and on top of that he’s been taking night classes to learn English. This is because he lives in a part of the U.S. where most people speak English, and he doesn’t have access to a lot of services because of his limited ability with the language. In fact, he was having trouble ordering at McDonald’s the other day, and somebody behind him shouted, “It’s America, learn English or go home”.
Evidently, José is not aware that everybody in this country has secretly gone to the trouble of learning Spanish! Why have you all been holding out on him for so long? No seas sangrón, compa.
You also refer to enormous groups of people who “don’t want to change”. Could you tell my friend Wang Liu that? He’s been studying hard to take the driver’s test and learn the rules of the road here in the States. But apparently he doesn’t have to, according to you! Could you please direct him to the neighborhood where people are allowed to drive according to China’s laws without getting pulled over? I think it would really save him some time.
In fact, I’d love to put my friends in touch with these groups of anti-American immigrants who are taking from this country without giving anything back. See, my friends have foolishly been paying more in taxes than any services they can hope to benefit from! They pay sales tax, gas tax, property tax, rental tax, and the folks who use a false Social Security number have been paying thousands into our Social Security system without ever using any of this money! In addition, they’ve been wasting their time stimulating the U.S. economy by pumping cheap labor into our companies—the very companies that made a mess out of the job market in their own countries of origin! Man, are they going to be disappointed when they find out that they could have avoided pouring all this money into U.S. corporate and government coffers.
At the very least, you could be a champ and point them in the direction of the immigrant-friendly gangs that you referred to. The only gangs my friends have encountered are U.S.-based gangs made up of mostly U.S. citizens who rob them every now and then. In addition, some of these immigrants have had the bad luck of running into white supremacist gangs who beat them up (or worse) because of the way they look. Could you please shoot off an email to the 800-plus white supremacist organizations in the U.S. and let them know that “gang warfare” is for people from other countries? They seem not to have gotten the memo.
Last but not least, I can’t help but notice that you claim to be a devout Christian. Now this poses a problem for many of my friends who have come here from Latin America, because most of them consider themselves devout Christians as well, of both Catholic and Evangelical Protestant varieties. Evidently, however, there is no room in your Church for these people who do not share your cultural background. Could you please recommend a different religion for them to join? Do you know if Neo-Paganism or Zoroastrianism are still accepting new applicants?
Of course, I hate to ask my friends to change religions, since many of them are very attached to their faith in Jesus Christ. But evidently, this is the faith of xenophobia, bigotry and a U.S.-centric world view. So I’m afraid these folks will just have no choice. (You know what, on second thought, never mind the last part. Assuming that this vast apparatus exists that gives preferential treatment to undocumented immigrants, I’m sure there must be a program out there that helps folks get out of your church and into something more comfortable.)
Thanks for all your help!
Confused in California
TEXT OF INTERVIEW:“I’ve always been Mr. USA. I’ve always loved this country,” Smith said. “I remember getting in a tussle at school; I think we were in the in seventh grade, and it was just silly conversation and someone was saying something against America -- I mean, I’ve always been that kind of Midwestern kid, you know: God, family, country. And that's what I live for and that's what I live by.”
New housing developments aside, Smith said he does not like the other ways he sees his country changing. In Michigan, he watched a nearby city approve Muslim prayer calls, while banning church bells. In Arizona, he's horrified by the phenomenon he refers to as "Press Two For Spanish."
“Don't make me change my country for where you come from,” the senator said. “If you don't like this country with you, you wanna bring your language with you, your gangfare with you, stay where you were! Or face the consequences. But don't make me change because you don't want to.”
Smith introduced five immigration-related bills this year, most of them written to cut off social services to people who are in the country illegally. Even in Arizona, the bills were controversial. Only two passed -- one of which allows the state to raise private funds for a border fence.
"Here's the biggest issue in everything related to the border: If we truly wanted to secure the border, we could,” Smith said. “The problem is, we don't.”
Smith, on the other hand, does. To this end, he recently announced the web headquarters for his fundraising campaign: buildtheborderfence.com. His first goal is $50 million dollars.
Though even if these millions are raised for the fence, there’s still the question of where to put it. Ahead for Smith is an intricate and complex network of private, state, and reservation landholders, environmental constraints, not to mention the federal government.
Yet Smith remains undeterred. Asked at a recent Republican gathering what he would do if said federal government tried to stop him from building the fence, Smith laughed and replied: “Well, they can try.”
Written by David J. Schmidt, a freelance writer and multi-lingual translator in San Diego, CA. He is a proponent of immigrants' rights and fair trade, and works with worker-owned coops in Mexico to help them develop alternative, fair sources of income. David volunteers as a writer for World Relief Garden Grove.
This piece is cross posted at Faith and Immigration.