There has been recent immigration related news that illustrates a divide in our understanding of who deserves to be our neighbor.
From our recent post on Immigration Headlines:
This week, Alejandro Mayorkas,chief of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,a unit of the Department of Homeland Security, will unveil several initiatives designed to attract and retain foreign entrepreneurs. Foreign entrepreneurs will be eligible for a so-called EB-2 immigrant visa without a specific job offer,as long as they demonstrate that their business endeavors will be in the U.S. national interest. The government is also seeking to bolster use by foreign entrepreneurs of H-1Bs,which are temporary work visas for foreign workers in a specialty occupation.
Interesting. This is how we judge the “eligibility” of those who we would “allow” to live among us.
If they are able to “invest at least $1 million in a venture” as the Washington Post reports, then they are welcome and should be counted as our fellow Americans.
But if they come here and scrape by at the bottom of our society, marginalized and criminalized, toiling for decades in search of the American Dream, well then they are just “illegals” and should be “shipped out” on the first flight to “wherever they came from”.
A recent NPR article reports that although illegal border crossings have gone down in the past decade, the number of deaths still remains high. One particularly shocking account is that of the morgue where the bodies of “illegals” are stored, unidentified and unclaimed.
Dr. Greg Hess, the Pima County medical examiner, opens the door to a refrigerated morgue. Inside are those who ran out of luck. White plastic body bags are stacked on shelves up to the ceiling.
“We probably have about 250-ish people in there,” Hess says, guessing that almost all of them are undocumented migrants.
These are just the migrants who haven’t been identified. Someone from the Mexican consulate comes to the facility’s other morgue several times a week, trying to ID bodies and then notify relatives back home. In this morgue, each bag has a John or Jane Doe tag. Some bags contain just a few bones. Some have been here years.
They are born as ghosts and die as ghosts. Those who survive live as ghosts. They occupy the dark corners of society trying desperately not to be seen or noticed. But when the country hits a bump in the road, they are the first to be blamed and attacked.
And although the reforms to the foreign entrepreneur visa system are important for several valid reasons, our inability to extend the same welcome to those who sweat and toil their way through life, as opposed to pay their way, is immoral.
In a country that values self-reliance, independence, stories of hardworking people building a life out of nothing, overcoming all odds, we still are unable to applaud and see those achievements in those whose skin color or national origin differs from our own.
Unless of course they carry a purse of gold. Then they are creative, hard-working newcomers, people who represent the entrepreneurial spirit of America.