Archive for immigration

Immigration Reform and the Death of Culture

Posted in discrimination, immigration, politics, racism with tags , , , on June 21, 2018 by rachelcoles

The terrorization and victimization of immigrants currently going on at our borders is not just horrifying for all the key reasons of human rights violation. But on a different level it is a threat of extinction of a part of ourselves fostered by the idea of America. There are many metropolitan centers in the world. And certainly many aspects of multicultural cities are duplicated in some measure in many parts of the world. But not to the same degree in so many places, as here. This is most clearly shown in the wealth of food variety, and the phenomenon of the food mecca. Take one well-known food mecca, Denver. In very few other places could one find restaurants in the same city that offer Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Eritrean, southwest BBQ, Deep Southern, Cajun, Creole, Syrian, Persian, Lebanese, Mexican, Brazilian, Peruvian, Native American, French, Italian, Israeli, German, Czech, Hungarian, British, Irish, Indian, and ‘classic American’. This, in what twenty years ago was a little mid-west cow town that still had hitching posts outside one of the malls. All thanks to immigrants.

The food mecca is a magical place that could not exist without the labors and true love of immigrants and the encouragement of immigration. Food, one of the most basic of necessities, is also one of our most basic ways of expressing love. It is into our food that we pour that love of family, of culture, of life itself. It is how we bond, how we share with friends. It is how we express notions of safety, security, happiness, and the comfort of home. When our children get married, we say “Hey, my kid’s going to have lots of sex and someday start their own family. I’m going to be a grandparent…hopefully! Eat with me and share my hope!” When someone leaves us, our friends and family say “Here, eat this fried chicken, a bowl of these noodles, a slice of this cake, and everything will feel better in the morning.” And for people everywhere, there is a basic drive to share this slice of home, this comfort with the world. I, for one, am happy to eat from everyone’s slice of home. Sharing food, every kind of food, is one of the most joyful things in the world to me. When people are sharing food, they aren’t bickering or dwelling on the bad impulses of our nature, except maybe gluttony from food porn. I’ll take that instead of war and hatred very day. When people are sharing food, they are growing on each other, and learning that not only do we have some basic things in common, but our differences could be delicious and wonderful. It is into food that we pour our souls.

The death of immigration will mean the death of the opportunities for such food meccas, such opportunities to share, first our food, then other things. It will mean a narrowing of our focus. It will mean isolation, and eventually the death of our collective soul. Immigration must be defended to prevent all of the immediate threats to life and human rights, but also to prevent the sequelae of such an amputation of many many limbs that makes us American in our ideals, and to prevent the damage to our minds and cultural souls as a whole.

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No Ban, No Walls, No Raids

Posted in Muslim, politics, Trump with tags , , , , , on April 30, 2017 by rachelcoles

In honor of the May 1 protests, here is a copy of the letter to senators that I am sending. There are no physical protests going on Maui, so I will be sending my protests by mail and internet. Please feel free to copy this letter and use pieces of it, if you like, that match your own situation:

Dear Senator,

No ban, no walls, no raids. The executive order to ban Muslims and other immigrants, the demand for a wall to be built between us and Mexico, and the ICE raids going on even in the face of assistance organizations and sanctuaries for people in need is despicable, unconstitutional, and un-American. The poem by Emma Lazarus which was written to raise money for the pedestal on which the symbol of our nation sits is about accepting immigrants, those who have nowhere to go. If Congress does not speak up and stop the ban, prevent the wall from being built, and stop the raids by ICE, the symbol of our nation will be a lie.

This country was built by immigrants. With the exception of services provided by Native Americans, every single thing bought and sold, every transaction, every service provided, from medicine, to education, to science, to the food we buy from the grocery store, that was grown in or out of our country, has been made possible by immigrants. We have been making jokes about it because it’s absurd that we have to, because at the end of the day, it’s the truth. If we keep others out of this country, we are crippling ourselves in terms of new ideas, brain trusts, and skills that come into this country that we need. In addition, we make ourselves hypocrites to every other nation in the world, and lose all credibility.

Banning immigrants and refugees, and deporting people who may even have lived here for decades does not increase our national security. We already had background checks in place to make sure people who meant harm didn’t get in. Occasionally that failed. It failed only because of statistics. There is no such thing as perfect security. The answer is not to become paralyzed by fear, not to expel everyone who seems different. That only serves to make enemies and sow anger among people who only want to live as Americans. That behavior makes us less secure, not more. When we are kind to people, they remember that too. That is how to build loyal Americans. My family is Jewish. They are alive, I am alive because America took them in. My family has repaid that service with loyalty to America, to the country that didn’t let them down. I myself have worked in public health for 17 years, and now work in child welfare services, in government. Believe me when I say that kindness matters. Kindness is the difference between a child who survives and becomes a gift to the people around them, and one who crashes and burns and is lost. This is true of all people, not just troubled children.

Please act with aloha, kindness, and the American spirit, and fight against the immigration ban, against the wall, and against the immigration raids. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Rachel Coles

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