There are many strong opinions encircling the issue of immigration in America, with many unquestionably on one side or the other. But unfortunately, there’s no middle ground on the subject. I suppose the best place to start then would be to provide a credible definition for immigration.
From Britannica.com, immigration is “The process through which individuals become permanent residents or citizens of another country. Historically, the process of immigration has been of great social, economic, and cultural benefit to states. The immigration experience is long and varied and has in many cases resulted in the development of multicultural societies; many modern states are characterized by a wide variety of cultures and ethnicities that have derived from previous periods of immigration.”
What strikes me most about the definition above are the following statements: “immigration has been of great social, economic, and cultural benefit to states,” and “the development of multicultural societies.”
Neither of those statements is derogatory in any way regarding immigration in America. They also seem to contradict statements made by former, sore-losing President Donald Trump, who said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
Yet immigration in America remains a divided and heated debate in our country as individuals from diverse cultures across the globe are shunned and even persecuted for seeking citizenship in the United States.
The way I see it, the negativity surrounding immigration in America boils down to one thing and one thing only – a total lack of compassion and empathy.
Many honestly and sadly have NO idea what either of those terms means, so let me define them here.
Compassion – sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.
Empathy – the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another.
Now back to the negativity surrounding immigration in America and why I believe a lack of compassion and empathy are to blame.
You might be wondering how I’ve come to this conclusion and why, as a natural-born citizen of the United States of America, I would choose to side with those not indigenous to our country.
There’s another word worth defining. Indigenous – originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native.
Unless you’re privileged enough to have a familial connection with the Native Americans who were, in fact, indigenous to the country we now call America, we are ALL immigrants.
Let me repeat that – at one time, our families were the immigrants we now shun and persecute in America. So ask yourself these questions.
Have you ever lived through religious persecution?
Have you lived through a violent carnage or ongoing wars in your own backyard?
Have political and social issues prevented you from gaining employment and ultimately the necessities your family needs, such as food and medicine?
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. It’s easy to speak negatively about immigration in America when you view it through a lens deficient in compassion and empathy (see definitions above). Without those abilities, you strip away humanity and replace it with contempt.
Our extreme politicians, and many of their followers, are perhaps most skilled at speaking their minds about an issue they know NOTHING about. Why? Because they haven’t lived through the struggles, endured the repercussions, and battled for the fundamental right to stay alive.
We are all united as immigrants of the United States of America. Yet somewhere along the line, we now believe white rights are the only rights that matter.