Thursday, April 29, 2010

Arizona's new law

If I had any business with/in the state of Arizona, I would boycott them right now. The anti-immigration law passed there usurps federal powers and authorities, and is blatantly racist. The people there may feel justified frustration at the tide of illegal immigrants, but essentially requiring police officers to racially profile people who look like they might be Mexicans goes way too far to solve the problem. And it discriminates against a good number of legal immigrants and American citizens, who find themselves suddenly in the position of proving they belong where they belong.

The anti-immigrant movement generally is a cover for racism both blatant and subtle. Blatant, in that it appeals to depends on that sizeable sliver of America which is openly hostile to others based on the color of their skin; Subtle in that it also appeals to people who are feeling discomfort and fear related to the widely-reported lawlessness across the border.

The truth is, that America is stronger becuase of its immigrant populations, both "legal" and "illegal", and its multi-cultural identity is a huge strategic advantage in a globalized world. Unlike any other nation, the United States draws people from every other corner of the globe. That fact alone gives the lie to all those who talk in doom and gloom terms about America's future. The infusion of energy, cultural ties, youth and hope that these immigrants represent is priceless.

Focusing just on the most apparent costs of illegal immigration blinds many people to the benefits. Yes, there are some traffickers and criminals among them. Yes, there are costs to social services, from police to hospitals to schools. Yes, those costs should be shared by the federal government. But that certainly isn't the whole picture.

The long and short of it is, a lot of Americans just need to come to terms with our country's multi-cultural future, because we are already living in a multi-cultural present -- even if they refuse to admit it.