Day Without Immigrants
My mother is an immigrant and naturalized citizen. She has worked hard, in the public as well as the private sector, all her life to make a good life for my brother and me. But, she didn’t struggle as much as many. She married an American serviceman, whose American-ness made it easier for her and for us, her children. We were Americans, after all, born in the US to an American father. No one would send my mother back to her native country and no one would separate her from her children.
There are, however, those who came here, looking for more opportunities and did not have an American spouse to smooth the way. Many work in low-wage, low-status jobs that many Americans won’t take. They make up the majority of restaurant staffs around the country. Where on earth would Americans eat, if not for immigrants? They clean our houses, they mow our lawns, and do untold tasks that privileged Americans are happy paying them to do. On the other side of the spectrum, though, they are doctors and scientists and intellectuals. They came to America to offer their skills, ideas and innovations, while taking fair advantage of the benefits America has to offer.
Immigrants come from countries all over the world and represent every race, ethnicity and religion. Like any group of people, there are good and bad. The population of immigrants in this country is not without its bad seeds. However, in lumping all immigrants into a monolithic category and then directing vitriol toward that category is part and parcel of a patriarchal white-supremacist culture. It is a culture that takes no account of the humanity of individuals. Indeed, it purposefully seeks to de-humanize individuals in the homogenizing in order to further its racist, sexist and ethnocentric/jingoistic agenda.
Today, I support all those immigrants and their children who will stay home, showing the President, and others of like-mind, that the US economy is nothing without immigrant labor- legal and illegal; the US culture is starved of what makes us exceptional without immigrants.