Today, if we take a poll, many people will agree that immigration has become a hot issue. Amid immigration matters are the sole dominion of our federal government, many State and local politicians are jumping onto this bandwagon. They are doing so with limited understanding and the political motivation to milk it for their own benefits. I want to provide a word of caution: this hot issue may be a slam dunk legally, but morally, it is a very delicate matter and thus must be handled with care. A public uproar about immigration is usually a backlash for other deeply rooted problems, but since immigration is such a visible superficial change, it often comes to be blamed for the shortfalls.
We cannot deny that the unfortunate attacks perpetrated to our country on September 11, 2001 opened the occasion to revisit the immigration dossier. That is because the 19 highjackers were foreign nationals and almost all of them had some kind of immigration or visa violations. Since then we've all witnessed an increase in political and media attacks on all immigrants across the board amid the 19 perpetrators of the events of September 11 were not immigrants. It saddens me to hear in the press and by the mouths of some politicians to refer about these two different groups of people in the same limelight as though they were the same.
I want to utilize this article as an occasion to clarify the confusion once and for all. At this point, there isn't anything anyone of us can do to undo what happened on 9/11. But, I think it is unfair that innocents be prosecuted because of guilt of association. It is about time to begin clearing the dust and let the true guilty be uncovered. We have the obligation to do this together. Otherwise, this trend may result in the enactment of draconian new laws or injurious new measures to hurt the innocents. These new laws will generally affected people from the poor countries thought innocent, but may have zero effect to the people from the oil rich countries who are the likely participants.
I will repeat it loud one more time: The 19 perpetrators were foreign soldiers temporarily in American soil waiting for the orders to fulfill their military mission - They were not immigrants!
By definition, immigrants are the people who flee their countries of birth in the search for better life or peace or freedom in some foreign lands. And they do not go to a foreign country to die there while proving a point, but to live.
None of the 19 perpetrators has had to wash dishes in the local restaurants or hotel kitchens to make ends meat, nor scrubbed any toilets, or did any low paying menial type work that is characteristics of all immigrant newcomers to America.
They lived high in most expensive condos in the sun state of Florida where they attended the most expensive private flight schools in the nation. They flew first class allover the country and received hundreds of thousands of dollars wire transfers into their bank accounts – a symptoms that none of the real immigrants have had the luxury of.
Over the 21 years that I lived in this country, I have had the opportunity to meet people (immigrants legal and illegal) from almost every country on our beloved planet Earth. They were as devastated about the events that took place in New York City on 9/11 as anyone else in this county. But, it's regretful that all immigrants are now being lumped into the same basket. All immigrants that I have known are good people and are here to work hard to advance their economic stands, get to the stand that they were denied in the old countries. They have no other agendas.
I feel fortunate that I have the opportunity to write this article. I feel proud that I am one of the former immigrants and fortunate to lead this truth telling and blame allocating efforts. This should evidence that America is still a true land of opportunity. That someone can be an immigrant one day and good citizen making a world of contribution the next.
It is unfair that folks from an oil rich country to commit a criminal act such that of 9/11, but the backlash of that offense spill over the poor folks – the immigrants from the poor countries who had nothing to do with it. Of course jumping the fence over the Mexican border or sneaking into America into a cargo container is illegal, but it is not as sinful – is a much lesser evil as diving a Boeing 757 loaded with 10,000 gallons of jet fuel into a building with 30,000 occupants. Why not distinguish the two and only make the people involved pay for their misdeed. Unfortunately, it seems like we prefer to pick on the poor folks because they are easy target. Picking on the poor folks will not rock the boat supplying oil into our ever increasing fuel demand. It's morally wrong and we shouldn't do that.
There is a natural principle in Thermodynamics that makes heat flows one-way only from hot to cold and not the other way around. Our creator had equipped all human beings with a similar status. Regardless of the country someone is born in, a survival instinct will kick in to choose prosperity over poverty. All of us north of the border; we would have jumped the fence the same way these undocumented immigrants are doing if we lived in a place where poverty was one side of the border fence and prosperity is the other.
Although America can not sustain its prosperity if a good chunk of poverty from Central and South America is relocated into our urban areas, thus controlling border traffic may just be adequate. But something as arbitrary and capricious as deporting an undocumented immigrant at the first DWI is a bit pushing the envelope too far.
Today, 5 years after 9/11, we still have not learned from our mistakes. The mistake is loophole that occasioned the attack to happen in the first place. Because of our capitalistic system, we have developed the fallacy that “rich is good” and that someone with money can't do nothing wrong. I truly believe if the 16 out 19 attackers on 9/11 were poor Zulu boys from Soweto-South Africa or were poor Kayapo Indian boys from the jungles of Brazil , the attack would not have taken place. I believe so because someone would have questioned their activities, their intents and suspected that something was in the works. The attackers' activities and intents left a lot of trails showing that something suspicious was cooking. But given the mindset of the relevant authority entrusted to protect and watch for this kind of activity: “Boys from an oil rich country” clouded their intuition and not a single red flag was raised.
Myself, even as a layman (untrained in the matters of security); if I'd learn about someone only interested in steering an aircraft up in the air without knowing how to takeoff and land, that will certainly register into my filters.
To avoid another 9/11, we must alter our perception of rich and poor. We must also relinquish our negative attitudes toward the poor. Immigration becoming the hot issue recently is a good evidence that our attitude has not changed at all. Most the laws we have enacted since 9/11 are only affecting the poor, the undocumented immigrants, the folks from poor countries with illegal immigration status. But this is not the group that perpetrated the attack. Why are they being punished? Is this the place where we can find an easy victory?
In my opinion, I will endorse that unwarranted eavesdropping in overseas communications to combat terrorism be warranted, but investing additional billions for cracking down on illegal immigrants already inside the country is an off target war on terrorism.
The next set of terrorists will not come into this country via crossing the Mexican border, nor will they live here undocumented. In the contrary, they will come in fully and properly documented. It doesn't take much for someone with money to obtain proper documents and enter this country set aside their intentions. They will probably land at one of the major international gateways at New York-JFK airport or at Chicago-O'hara. They will be rich or come from an oil rich country. They won't have the time nor the stamina to go through Mexico 's slums. They will feel too prissy clean to climb over and jump the Mexican border fence.
All because they are aware of our immigration policy which is designed and totally focused on stopping the poor from coming in, but minimum scrutiny on wealthy people.
Possibly, they will come in via a chartered private jet and land at any small airport anywhere, USA without going into a single checkpoint.
So, why not stress security at small airports as well. I know why – Chartered flights are the turf of the Rich!
By RAPHAEL BASISA, SR *
© Congo Vision
* Raphael Kutota Basisa was candidate for city council at large in Charlotte, North Carolina and is considering running again for the same position in 2007.