Thursday, February 14, 2013

As a Hispanic Male, I don't care much about Immigration Reform

I was reading an article at Think Progress this morning detailing Republican Lamar Smith's comments about why Republicans shouldn't pursue immigration reform, essentially saying it would give millions of votes to Democrats. He said that, instead, Republicans should focus on better job security, more take home pay and a stronger economy. That those topics would be more successful with at least a part of the Hispanic population. Guess what representative Smith, you're absolutely right! 
Except that you're absolutely wrong about every way about how to go about achieving those goals.
Look, let's get one thing clear before I comes across like a selfish devil. I do care about immigration reform. If you were brought here at a young age and only know American culture, but you've worked hard, want to serve in the military or get a college education, you should stay. I believe the DREAM Act is only sensible. I believe for all the demonizing of the Mexican immigrant, they're working jobs at low level of pay that nobody else will, and that they're doing it as part of economic market manipulation to keep costs as low as possible. They deserve some consideration in the new era of immigration reform. I do care about this issue.

But me, personally? I'm six feet tall and white. I'm working on my PhD. You're more likely to find me discussing Proust, sustainable gardening methods and a lot of other nonsense some people would consider middle class problems. I'm not the labor worker, I'm not the recent immigrant, I'm distanced from some of my cultural background by adoption, appearance, and a host of other factors. I care about immigration because I care about people, it's just not my number one priority.

So when I hear Republicans talking about job creation, more pay and a stronger economy, my response is, "Sell me!" Except that the answers I get back from Republicans is nonsense. Deregulation that would risk another economic bubble collapse. Tax cuts for the wealthiest while poor and middle class people get shafted. Cuts in benefits, Social Security, Medicare, because these things are unsustainable but huge tax breaks for oil companies are okay. Wealthy 1% individuals that have a chance at paying lower taxes than me.

Look, I'm no slouch. I'm well aware that because of a number of my activities, my income is going to put me into a bracket many people would be envious of, at the same time that I'm looking upward and being envious of the wealthiest. But, I've got no problems paying my taxes. I've got no problem saying I'm willing to shoulder a little more. So why can't we ask the wealthiest to do the same? Why does 'tax break' mean cuts for the absolute wealthiest while increasing the sales tax and thus forcing middle and lower class individuals to shoulder even more? And guess what Republicans, these economic issues affect me, they effect immigrants, and that puts me into a boat with them. Your argument hits a wall, because you say ignore immigration for economic topics, but then your economic solutions are nonsense.

I mean, I don't even want to get into the horrible rhetoric Republicans use against Hispanic people. When Lamar Smith says stuff like "Does anyone really think Republicans are going to outbid Democrats on giving benefits to illegal immigrants?" I get incensed. Hey Lamar, these are human beings. They're working tough jobs. They don't want handouts, hell, they haven't been given any. They want fair opportunities, and guess what, so do I. Your economic policies, though, put me shoulder to shoulder with them. And guess what, I may not strongly identify with Mexican culture, but when Republicans insinuate that Mexicans are lazy, or takers or violent, you're talking about my family. You're talking about my mother and father, you're talking about my cousins and uncles. We may not be perfect, but we're not lazy, and we're not violent.

So yeah, Representative Smith, immigration's not my top issue. Too bad you've got no solutions for my economic ones, or any solution for my anger toward your racial hysteria. Honestly, if this is the best approach you want to take, your party better take a long look at the solutions you're offering, because I'm not buying them.

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