I have enjoyed reading the other posts, but as time limits my post will be short … I have a few thoughts to add, or reiterate as the case may be.
At first look it seems like we are comparing two injustices, one based on race and the other based on nationality. But I want to be sure it is acknowledged that the immigration debate is deeply rooted in racial prejudice. Washington loves to frame the issue as a clear citizen vs. non-citizen issue, but when “illegal immigration” is mentioned, the racial other, the Mexican, is pictured. The border wall makes this all the more apparent. Just as southern state laws sought to keep African Americans as an economic underclass with no political power, immigration laws today seek to keep Mexicans as an economic underclass with no political power. Immigration laws may look like they are meant to keep Mexicans out, but they don’t really—-rather they keep Mexicans illegal, cheap, and quiet. It’s no secret that much of the economy is highly dependent on cheap labor, and I’ve done enough restaurant worker organizing to be confident in saying many employers will knowingly accept a fake SS card as readily as they will accept a 19 year old’s fake i.d. when selling alcohol. Immigration laws are unjust and deceptive. They do not serve the purpose that many Americans are convinced they are meant to do.

So although the problem of non-citizenship is sticky, I think a large part of the problem that must be overcome is the racial and economic side. As long as Mexicans and Mexican Americans are seen as a racial other, people will continue to support racist legislation such as the border wall. As long as Mexican workers provide labor for less than minimum wage, immigration laws will continue to restrict legal immigration to those who can afford it.

Illegal immigrant workers are increasingly vocal but their limitations are obvious (losing their job, deportation). The status quo would have them “adjust themselves to oppression” as Dr. King might say, by doing their job and receiving their pay quietly and without complaint. But their potential is overwhelming, their numbers more than enough to make major change. Just as Dr. King brought dignity and confidence to a group of people who were intimidated and “adjusted” to their position, the same can be done with illegal immigrants in the U.S.

I can’t wrap up my comments neatly and conclusively with a positive plan for action. The words aren’t coming. Maybe next week.

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