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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Native Nation Immigration

Black Bedouin
In the past two months, I have been exposed to 2 very opposite sides of the immigration coin.  Not merely a “should they stay or should they go” perspective, but a more complex and painful perspective. In February, out here in Arizona, there was an immigration protest. One Native American had much to say, and it was not nice. If you continue watching The Young Turks, you will get some perspective on what “Americans” did to become Americans.

Then, two weeks ago, we had the Boston Marathon bombing. A serious and extensive tragedy, if you look closely there are some sticky issues that we, as a Village, have to consider. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect of the bombings, became a naturalized U.S. Citizen on September 11, 2012.  The reality – a U.S. citizen is being held for the murder of three and maiming of over 250 other Americans. It is currently believed that Islamic radicalization may be the reason that Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev resorted to such criminal vehemence.

On the one hand, we have a true Native American telling us we have no right to tell any other peoples or cultures that they cannot come here, after all, we didn't ask...we just showed up.  The flip-side of that is that once you become a naturalized citizen of the U.S., do you have the right to be treated as a U.S. citizen even if you committed a terroristic crime on U.S. soil so soon after becoming a citizen?

As uncomfortable as these topics are, we still have to examine them. Why are we so intent, as a nation, to have this debate about illegal immigration, particularly where Mexicans are concerned? After watching news coverage on the Boston bombings, it should be apparent that there are many other illegal immigrants here, and they aren’t from Mexico.  Prior to the bombings, I truly don’t remember hearing the trash talk about Russians or even Jamaicans for that matter. Is there some difference in illegal immigration – is it better to be an illegal immigrant from China than Mexico?

When did we become so insensitive to other Americans? Yes, the Tsarnaev brothers, if accused correctly, are toast in my book. We are Americans.  We don’t beat up and bully each other because of religious beliefs….or at least we’re not supposed to. And when did the amount of time you've been an American matter? Musician Sting (formerly of the Police) was considered American by most Americans long before he actually established any kind of citizenship over here.  Conversely, Tina Turner has thrown her lot in with the Swiss, but does that really make her any less American to us…the girl from Nutbush, Tennessee?

Notice that in the 400 words I have written previously, the word human has not entered the conversation one time. My point here is very simple…if we don’t start dealing with some of our human rights issues like we are human, i.e., Native Americans, Mexicans, then we cannot expect those that we allow to enter our country to become truly American and embrace those higher values that we are all reaching for.  If we don’t treat ourselves, our American selves, like we love each other, then how can we expect others to come and do the same?