^ people trying desperately to get to America are not evil. They are —  JUST LIKE US !

—- —- —- —-

This political season has dumped some of the vilest troll talk into the national conversation that I have heard in decades. Toxic especially : attacks upon immigrants who the trollers call “illegal.”

I now post this response to the trolling of “illegal” immigrants :

  1. there is no such thing as an illegal person. Candidate Don Berwick said that in last year’s Governor campaign, and he was right and is right.
  2. Immigrants, as Jeb Bush noted last year before trump intimidated him, come to America at great risk, out of love for their families, to seek a a better life.
  3. Immigrants undocumented or documented are customers, every one of them, for businesses of all sorts. Do we want businesses to grow and prosper ? I think we do.

Much of the bile tossed at “illegal” immigrants has no basis in fact, none : (1) undocumented immigrants cannot receive “welfare” because you need a valid Id to qualify (2) most work super hard at crummy jobs, often exploited, at all hours of the day; jobs that few of us would do if we had to (3) undocumented immigrants sometimes manage to acquire social security numbers and thereby pay taxes — billions of dollars of taxes, in fact.

As was recently pointed out by a national columnist, the so-called “birth tourism” “anchor babies” that this year’s number one demagogue rails about aren’t “welfare” cases at all; they are mostly Asian and quite well off : it costs an average of $ 35,000 to come here and deliver a child. This same columnist wrote that a grand total of 9,075 such babies were born to “birth tourists” — not the 60,000 or so that Mr. Demagogue yells about.

It’s a non-issue.

In Massachusetts we face one immigrant request that isn’t simple : should the state accord drivers’ licenses to immigrants undocumented ? All sense says “of course.” Who wants unlicensed drivers — uninsured — on the road ? It has recently been argued, contra, that awarding licenses to undocumented people invites identity fraud, because if the applicant has no documents, how do we know who he or she actually is ? I agree that that’s a problem; but solutions hardly lie beyond the Kuiper Belt. The applicant can send to his or her country of origin for a birth certificate; or he or she may possess a verifiable identity card from said country.

Let’s give it a try.

As Frank Zappa once sang, “think — it ain’t illegal yet.”

Immigrants work hard, start more businesses than the rest of us, and — as Jeb Bush noted in that last year’s talk I referred to above — have a younger demographic that relueves the current age imbalance threatening the financial health of Social Security and Medicaid.

Immigrants also include refugees and asylum seekers, and should : our nation was founded by such, and we have always been the safe harbor for the world’s oppressed. It’s our national purpose, almost our national mission.

Immigrants also enrich our national culture, in which multitude prevails over uniformity. Immigrants bring many languages, varied cultural customs, different faiths. Their multiplicity reinforces that there is no one correct faith, no language better than any other, no national custom superior to any other. Immigrants live the equality our national Independence Day myth seems merely memorized.

Why do some of us not see this ? Do we prefer to believe the lies told by demagogues about immigrants because our brains are wired for thinking ill of people ? Does the national impetus to conformity arise as a caution against multiplicity becoming divisive rather than unifying ? For me, conformity is just as cautionary as multiplicity. as in all things societal, the practical  answer lies somewhere in between.

Candidates for President should embrace immigration, not spurn it. Basic economics cries out; as does commin decency, not to mention the profound morality of welcoming all of good will who seek to join  our nation’s mission.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

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