Two Cheers for Immigrants

I love immigrants. I hope to marry one someday. Since 100% of Americans are immigrants or descended from immigrants, either legal or 'illegal' ones, I guess that makes me an immigrant too.

Actually I hate immigrants. They ruin our country and wreck our institutions and bankrupt the nation. I sincerely wish the Aztecs had slaughtered Cortez, and the Incas had done the same to Pizzaro. I wish the Massachusetts Indians had burned and sunk the Mayflower and all succeeding ships that tried to put ashore in North America . The Pilgrims should have been sent back to England , or put to work in the fields and kitchens as slaves for 300 years, just like the black Africans.

After all, the original Paleolithic immigrants--mistakenly called Indians--had walked thousands of miles across a land bridge near the Arctic Circle . Then, for thousands of years, they settled all over America . Why should they have allowed European newcomers to just sail right up to the shore and claim beachside property? What gave these newcomers the right?

I love immigrants. Even the Europeans (my ancestors). Whatever their color or creed, they are usually strong, savvy survivors. They crossed oceans and deserts. They left homes and families. Hard workers, most of them, they risked everything to get here. Whether white, black, brown, yellow or red, they may not be the best or brightest but they score high in bravery. And they have always done--and still do--the dirty work here in America .

Wherever I have gone, whatever hard work I have done, I've seen immigrants working. Sometimes I work right alongside them. In Santa Monica , California , they were mostly Mexicans who worked as housekeepers, carpenters, bricklayers, tile-setters, nannies, painters, cooks, janitors. I worked alongside lots of them as an antique restorer, cabinet maker and painter. They stripped the furniture or sanded the wood or hung the drywall. Many of them were illegal.

In Alaska , on commercial fishing boats, I worked with immigrants too. Some legal and others not. Most of them had official documents that looked more official than mine, documents they bought.

I worked several summers in Alaska with several Argentine and Israeli deckhands who were among the best workers I ever saw. Fearless, they never complained as we worked in 'the most dangerous job in America .' Sometimes the fishing fleet couldn't even find available crews. Who wanted to do this dirty, dangerous work? Obviously not pampered white Americans. Where were all the so-called 'legal' Americans, we sometimes wondered? Where were all the US citizens these immigrants were, allegedly, stealing their jobs?

In Florida I now notice immigrants everywhere. Mostly the Haitians here do all the dirty work. They pick up the garbage, bag the groceries, serve as nursing aides to the elderly. Meanwhile, Mexicans in Central Florida work in the fields for those rich Republican landowners. Cubans appear to have claimed the better jobs, especially in Miami . Here in South Florida , black Haitians do the dirty work that no pampered American citizen will do, whether white or black.

I love immigrants. I respect their work ethic. If they take away my job'and some of them have--I often resent them for a short while. But then I imagine how those American Indians must have felt when white settlers stole their land and took away their jobs and incomes. You see, to an American Indian, that land was THEIR work. It provided everything they needed. Had I been a member of any Indian tribe, with hundreds if not thousands of years of occupancy on the piece of land, I would have been as angry as the Minutemen are today. Angrier.

I love most immigrants but, like some people, I fear certain ones. Curiously, I don't fear the immigrants that most Minutemen and Frosty Wooldridge fear: the Mexicans and Haitians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Muslims.

You see, I fear certain newcomers, the immigrants and descendents of immigrants who came to America from totalitarian or repressive governments. These immigrants worked hard, got into the right Ivy League universities, joined the right clubs and political parties. Once in power, they boldly and transparently worked to destroy the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

Were you aware a pair of immigrants--one still possessing a foreign passport--wrote the PATRIOT ACT? Michael Chertoff and Viet Dinh wrote the document that smashed the Bill of Rights. Your rights. A pair of immigrants took away your rights, even if you and your ancestors have lived here in America for hundreds of years. They took away your Constitutional rights. Feel more secure now, or still need that fence?

Another immigrant-- US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales--descendent of Mexican immigrants, granted the US president immunity to torture and wiretap. Torture and wiretapping are NOT granted in the Bill of Rights, but actually forbidden in no uncertain terms.

So, now you see why I do not fear certain poor, hardworking immigrants who snuck into the country, mostly to work. Especially the ones who grow our food and pick our crops and clean our toilets and sign up to fight our foreign wars (to get citizenship). Sure, I agree with the Minutemen, there should be secure US borders (Chertoff to blame again). Even better, there should be fewer US foreign wars. Because, for the last 50 years, illegal foreign wars have contributed to a HUGE illegal immigrant problem. All those Salvadorans, Vietnamese, Iranians, Koreans and Filipinos in America are here because the interventionists in Washington DC (And the US voters who supported them) fucked up those foreign countries with dirty, illegal wars, supporting CIA-backed dictators.

As for those recent immigrants who have used their Ivy League education (Chertoff, Dinh and Gonzales) to revoke the Bill of Rights or US Constitution, national birthrights that other immigrants created, defended and then died for, I say deport those immigrants immediately. Round them up, ASAP, and send them to Guantanamo. Or better yet, deport them all back to Israel, Vietnam or Mexico--shitty countries better suited to repression. Keep the Mexican farm workers and Haitians as guest workers and deport the others.

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Douglas Herman's picture
Columns on STR: 149

Award winning artist, photographer and freelance journalist, Douglas Herman can be found wandering the back roads of America. Doug authored the political crime thriller, The Guns of Dallas  and wrote and directed the Independent feature film,Throwing Caution to the Windnaturally a "road movie," and credits STR for giving him the impetus to write well, both provocatively and entertainingly. A longtime gypsy, Doug completed a 10,000 mile circumnavigation of North America, by bicycle, at the age of 35, and still wanders between Bullhead City, Arizona and Kodiak, Alaska with forays frequently into the so-called civilized world of Greater LA. Write him at Roadmovie2 @