Immigration Involves Welcoming, Not Tear Gas

November 28, 2018

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Something fairly obvious about me is that I am an immigrant. I came to this country in almost a perfect circumstance. A support network was already in place, there was no ambiguity about where I would be living, who would be taking care of me, and I was afforded almost immediately all the benefits and privileges of being a citizen. One of the most vivid memories I have is of my naturalization ceremony when I was in second grade and I received full US citizenship. I think that is where my love affair with the US began. I avidly started reading about US history. I pored over books about the American Revolution and the Civil War. I preferred learning about the Revolution because it was such a miraculous underdog story, and I really connected with the freezing troops at Valley Forge, even as an elementary school kid. I desperately wanted to suffer a winter like those brave patriots hundreds of years ago. I wanted to be able to claim that I, too, sacrificed much, even to the point of providing the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great nation. While I still have very high levels of patriotism, I have evolved my thoughts and I am now more willing to provide the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our great planet. 

 

I have a horrible admission to make. If I were a religious person, I would pray for an alien invasion. An honest to god, textbook invasion, not the bullshit that Trump and his pathetic followers define as an invasion. Why? Because faced with an existential crisis, humanity would forgo borders. For a moment, we would have to forget that you're Iraqi and I'm Persian, or that you're Greek and I'm Turkish, or that you're American and I'm Mexican. We would be forced to put aside our territorial animosities towards one another and work collaboratively, or face extinction. Idealistically, it would be really nice if we could unite together in the equally perilous emergency of man-made climate change, but President Fuckstick can't even recognize science because "it's really cold out there right now." And so, even though we have a perfectly good, actual, legitimate crisis on our hands, I find myself wishing for a more obvious one that people with the mental equivalency of a boiled sweet potato can actually comprehend.

 

Instead, if aliens were smart, they would skip this planet altogether, just like I skip Golden Corral as an acceptable dining option. Let's face it, we're probably the Golden Corral of the galaxy. Which means that if we get invaded, the aliens won't be galactic do-gooders. They will most likely be the universe's equivalent to Dog the Bounty Hunter, mullet and all, determined to wipe out scum across the galaxies and videotape it all for the other galactic trailer trash to vicariously enjoy. What makes us so despicable? It is our greed. We seem to have an inability to rise to our better natures but instead succumb to our most base instincts. I know many people, some of whom I like, that don't want to allow thousands of Central American refugees to seek asylum in the US. The question that I and so many other Americans with opposing opinions, ask is: Why?

 

And when it boils down to it, the reason why, even though they won't admit it, is because they are just too different for their comfort. I am so tired of the lies, the manipulations, the fear-mongering that has resulted in far too great a number of people thinking that the word immigrant is a threat to this country. Many of them will hide behind the straw man argument that they support legal immigration. "Just do it the right way, then I am fine with that" says the person who cheers when Bonespurs threatens to close the border permanently, thus removing "legal" asylum seekers the chance to enter this country. The families that seek entrance into this country are out of options. I immigrated to Spain when Bush got re-elected. I had options to go almost anywhere in the world, except New Zealand, where I failed my qualification exam. Should have cheated off the Canadian, I suppose. But Spain was a pretty terrific second choice. These families from Honduras and Guatemala don't have that luxury. They believed in a product that we, the US, have sold and exported with such cocksure confidence. That product is the American Dream. 

 

My last trip back to Korea I learned that I was the one who told Han Mu to put my brother and I up for adoption. Having dodged a fatal overdose for all three of us, I told him that he wasn't fit to be a father. In the orphanage, when I was asked if I wanted to go to the US, I responded in the Korean equivalent of "Fuck yes!" The notes say that I knew what that meant, and I was most definitely up for coming to America. I was five and a half years old, but I knew that the US would provide a better life for my brother and I. And you know what, it happened. And we were greeted at the airport with welcome arms, a weird stuffed animal (Mr. Beeps) and a family where no one would try to make us participate in a murder-suicide. I see images of children running away from tear gas at the border of the country that has given me so much. And all I can think about is the random, arbitrary situation where I was greeted the way I was, and these innocents were greeted the way they are.

 

What is wrong with us? How have we become so callous and hardened to the suffering of our own very same species? These are people, for fuck's sake! The vast, vast, vast majority of whom are good, decent, hard-working people who are just out of any other options for survival. If some of them have a criminal record, perhaps it's because they were forced into gang activity because they had an allergy to bullets entering their body. Maybe they stole to sustain their families. They're not going to take your fucking jobs, asshole. They aren't going to go on welfare, and you know what, even if they do, I'm ok with it because the next generation of Americans will be the ones that go into battle in your place. They will be more American than you are because they will have remembered where they came from. As an immigrant and US citizen (fuck yourself, Trump, there isn't shit you can do about it), I urge you to reconsider your position and find some aspect of your rotten and infected heart to display some compassion. Because it's ultimately just an imaginary line on the ground, it's just a slightly different melanin content in the skin, it's just a different way of saying I love you. 

 

I used to say that I am an American first. Maybe I see things that most of you can't. But I'm an Earthling first now. We are a global community. And it's high time we started acting like one. Or else I'm going to be begging Elon Musk to go with him to Mars and live on a planet where humans don't cannibalize each other. We can do better. We must do better. 

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