By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid
Here’s a summary of my thoughts on im/migration so far:
- Short of 1st Nations people, everyone living in the US emigrated—whether by choice or force, whether the im/migrant is themselves and/or their ancestors or current family members—from somewhere else. And we’re squatting on 1st Nation lands.
- For those who want to argue that the Black people who came to the US cannot be immigrants in that Ellis Island/American Odyssey Mythology sense because that group were forced by white slave traders and slaveowners to be on these shores: no, we—and I say “we” because I’m the great-granddaughter of an enslaved Africans and African Americans, so I’m of that group–didn’t see Ellis Island. That does not negate that we moved or “migrated,” albeit involuntarily, from one part of the world to another—which is the definition of an “immigrant.” Or that we don’t have our own American Odyssey. That’s also another post for another day.
- The US government needs to give undocumented people amnesty and broader roads to citizenship, if that’s what they seek, instead of assigning inherent criminality to them based on some racialized rhetoric. They don’t have papers, usually because the system is so labyrinthine and expensive that it’s discouraging. Or they’re trying to get residency and/or citizenship and are stuck in the process. And the reality that’s clouded by the vitriol is, among other things, that undocumented immigrants not only contribute to this economy—sometimes endangering their health in the process–they also contribute to the economies of the places from which they moved.
- Thanks to the nasty racialized rhetoric, people who have US residency, of not citizenship, are getting caught in the dragnet to catch “those people” who, according to the heuristics, allegedly look nothing like the people spouting the rhetoric. (And, to the clear, the folks spouting the rhetoric aren’t always white, either—my mom and uncle will hiss about the “Mexicans” taking “our” jobs and trying to have children in the US so the parents can stay in the country and “take advantage” of “our” public services. Like I said, allegedly.)
My pro-immigration stance isn’t radical or revolutionary; honestly, I think it’s quite middle-of-the-road, compared to writers and other creatives who have extensively and award-winningly written on the topic and advocates who tirelessly work on this issue. (Usually, these groups overlap.)
But my middle-of-the-road thoughts don’t stop me from wondering if an advocate seems to be doing a bait-and-switch for the cause.