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Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity

By       Message Jill Richardson       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   7 comments

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opednews.com Headlined to H2 5/25/18

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From Other Words

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We should be able to debate immigration policy without calling people "animals" or disparaging the poor.


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I don't think I'm alone in believing there's an intrinsic value to human life.

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That is, any human, no matter who they are or what they're like, has worth simply because they're human. On some basic level, all of us are equal and precious.

That's why many of us would save a human from a burning building before we'd try to save a dog. And why we'd go to extreme lengths to save the human if it's at all possible.

No doubt you have people you love, people you like, and people you dislike. There are people you wouldn't want to have as a neighbor, co-worker, or friend. But even when you dislike someone personally, and wish to avoid them, you wouldn't deny their fundamental humanity.

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Or at least, I like to think most of us wouldn't. Apparently, though, some of us would.

I've been deeply uneasy with some trends that seem to rank some people as more valuable and others as less. One of them is the idea that immigration should be based on "merit."

What does merit mean? Merit as a human being?

What's actually meant by proposals to allow immigration based solely on "merit" is that only the wealthiest and most educated people can come to the U.S.

Calling that "merit" implies that one's worth as a human is dictated by their wealth and education. I don't believe that's true. I believe the poorest and most destitute refugee has equal worth to the wealthiest billionaire.

Beyond their intrinsic worth, immigrants who lack money and education make tremendous contributions. Not least, they put food on America's tables.

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Immigration crackdowns in Alabama, Georgia, and California led to crops rotting in the field when undocumented immigrants were unavailable to pick them, and nobody documented was willing to do the job under the pay and working conditions being offered.

An even more troubling devaluation of human life was Trump's assertion that Central American gang members are "violent animals."

Obviously, few of us would defend or invite members of a violent gang into the United States. The problem here is that Trump has routinely tried to associate all immigrants -- and particularly those from Latin America -- with criminality.

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Jill Richardson is the proprietor of the blog La Vida Locavore. She writes on food policy issues and she is currently working on her first book, due out in 2009.

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4 people are discussing this page, with 7 comments


Hosea McAdoo

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Humanity in the USA? You are looking in the wrong country.

Submitted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 7:50:06 PM

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b. sadie bailey

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This is a good write; heartfelt and well supported. I agree with what you say. But... Why is a dog any less than a human? We act much worse even than a pack of dogs. They just follow "instinct." Humans are supposed to "know better." The "white" race, mostly offspring of European immigrants ourselves, brought colonialism to this continent and the rest of the planet

One thing that many people in this country don't seem to understand and seem so shocked about, now that it's all out in the open, is this: The heartless immigration policies you are seeing now, are the culmination of bigotry, class war, and misogyny that go WAY back throughout European (and other) history. It's just more blatant and in-your-face now because we are in a dictatorship phase here in the U.S. and have been under corporate and bankster dictatorship for some time; and because industrialization sped everything up breakneck.

The moneyed few rule and own us all now - even in US of Amerika where people felt entitled and thought it'd never happen to them. As Russell Means said, "We're all Indians now." The poor immigrants fleeing war torn countries and dictatorships, were never treated well here. If you don't know U.S. history, you might think this is just a trump thing. Wrong! You won't find it in textbooks or the rhetoric the overlords tell the people, either.

True, we have to stop with the ranking - one person over another, people over animals, people over plants, people over the environment. But the biggest reason for this is income disparity and the lies disseminated to divide us. Without dealing with income disparity, true reform on immigration will be impossible because the moneyed (usually "white") few, mostly, if not all, men, call the shots, all across the board. This can only happen person-to-person. We already know the government is too far gone.

Submitted on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 9:27:18 PM

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BFalcon

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Wonderful writing.

The bad news is that you are preaching to the choir.

'We' here believe in humanity and values of every human.

Trump is not here.

Neither is Bannon nor any of those other idiots who accept 'merit' in dollar value.

But it is good that you said it, good for all of us to remember again.

To remember, again:

"New Colossus

by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" "


And let us again confirm that it is these "huddled masses" that built this country, not the privileged few who built their wealth by using this country.

Submitted on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 8:38:01 AM

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Lee Beacham

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I suspect the writer would feel different if she was in more direct contact with the illegal immigrants. Of course, that's the immigrant problem we have. No one is addressing reforming our immigration rules to match present needs, ours and theirs. Open borders would be fine if this was the wild west of the 1800's and taxation was minimal and mostly local. If we try to mix socialism and immigration (like man on this site propose) we will not be a country. We will become a "shithole" similar to where many are coming from. There is room to improve immigration policy. I suggest each person who is passionate about bringing in all who can drag themselves in, open your house and wallet personally. We've all got more room in our house and budget, don't we?

Submitted on Saturday, May 26, 2018 at 2:02:14 PM

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BFalcon

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Reply to Lee Beacham:   New Content

Are you trying to defend socialism ?

Submitted on Sunday, May 27, 2018 at 4:23:36 AM

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Lee Beacham

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Good question. Now that I think about it, voluntarily funded socialism is fine, good and sometimes urgent. It's called charity. Any government is ill equipped to provide charity with other peoples money.

Submitted on Monday, May 28, 2018 at 7:49:13 PM

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BFalcon

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Socialism should not be charity.

It is a safety net, the insurance for all of us when things don't work as they should.

A child who could be next genius leader and a very successful man gets meningitis and is handicapped for life.

Normal means to live the best they can is something for all of us to provide since it could have been any of us.

Submitted on Thursday, Jun 7, 2018 at 3:17:56 PM

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