We need to talk, again (or why I hate Facebook)

This is what I found on the Facebook profile of a family member:

xenophobic_post
Read it one more time, then we’ll talk about it.

I’ve permanently lived in the United States of America since the age of ten. Before then, I was here many, many times because many of my family live here. Last year, I became a US Citizen. Much like my marriage, I chose to make this country my home. I’ve chosen to live the rest of my life here, have children here, and defend this country if necessary.

It may sound cliche, but I love America. And America has loved me back.

North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iran. That’s not a good club to belong to. They are either failed states, dictatorships, or both. They are nothing like the United States of America. We live in a republic, a democracy. We are bordered by two countries, one to the north and one to the south. The one to the north is lucky because it’s residents are, for the most part, White and English-speaking. The one to the south, the country where I was born, where I grew up, is not so lucky.

Because of historical accidents, Mexico speaks mostly Spanish and its residents are, like me, dark-skinned. Mexico also has a huge problem with poverty. Because of the millions of addicts with dollars in the United States, Mexico also has a drug trafficking problem. It’s a developing country with all of the problems a developing country has. Frankly, however, there are plenty of pockets here of similar communities in the United States, and they’re not made up of Brown people, or even Black.

“If you cross the US border illegally, you get a job, a driver’s license, food stamps, a place to live, health care, housing, child benefits, education, and a tax free business for 7 years?”

The answer is simply, resoundingly, astonishingly “NO!”

People who come to this country illegally are not coming here because it’s a field trip. They come here because they want to live a better life, make better money, and put their children in better schools. Why? Because the United States is not North Korea, Iran, or Afghanistan. If it were, and that is clearly what the author of that xenophobic posting wants it to be, no one would come here. There would be a population decline and crash in the economy so tremendous, that it will make the Great Depression look like a party at Disneyland.

Immigrants are propping up the economy, contributing more than taking.

People who come to this country illegally, like many of my ancestors and family members, are not coming here to ask for handouts. Their intention is not to cross the border and immediately apply for benefits. Besides, they can’t get benefits, and you can thank Bill Clinton (the raging Liberal) for that. They come to look for work.

What kind of work?

This kind of work. Rarely are they here to be doctors, nurses, theoretical physicists, or investment bankers. Some of them, if they work incredibly hard, become physicians who change the world. But those are the exception. It’s their children who will have a better life, not the parents. And they’re okay with that. It’s the American way.

Welfare can only take you so far.

But, you know what? I get it. Fear is a very powerful agent. It has put people on trains and deported them for many, many years now. Fear has denied people health care, even in the most dire of circumstances. It has also closed borders and led to failed states and autocracies like North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iran.

We are not North Korea, Afghanistan, nor Iran.

The US system for controlling the borders and the flow of immigrants is a failure. It’s broken. It needs a lot of work. And the people doing the most whining about it are the ones blocking anything from getting done. But, one more time, in case you didn’t catch it, we are not an autocracy, a dictatorship, nor a failed state. We are a republic, and we will solve this problem, like we’ve solved so many before.

And, like so many ethnic and racial groups that were blamed for the ailments of this country, immigrants, legal and illegal, will integrate into this society and make it better… Because we love this country, and we will not allow it to become like North Korea, Iran, or Afghanistan, the way the person who created that posting seems to want it to be.

I'm a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. All opinions posted here are my own, of course, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my school, employers, friends, family, etc. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen