ethel’s words

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IMMIGRANTS FROM MESO-AMERICA:
NOT EXACTLY FOREIGNERS

My one concern about immigration (in general) has been that Native Americans are “interned” on reservations, mostly small, and when they try to leave, they are pushed back and hemmed in by the thrust of burgeoning populations--including--BUT NOT LIMITED TO--immigrants. The Natives have not received assistance to “succeed” in Whiteman society as have most immigrants from abroad. In fact, Native Americans are routinely cheated by government, corporations, and individuals, and are terrorized by police. (True, the distinctive Native languages, that we might see as esoteric or arcane, add to isolation.)

But stop here! The so-called immigrants from Mexico are Natives--Mestizo or Indio--as are the more distant from us peoples of South America.

They are not “foreigners” in the way that Europeans or Asians are. In the southwest United States, in fact and in particular, the so-called immigrants (as well as “born citizens”) are on their native land--the land of their grandfathers.

If we are going to classify humans, to fence some out and let some in, what criteria should we use? Traditionally, it appears that the color of hair is the dominant feature. They are all beautiful, from the pale Nordic blond to dark-as-midnight African. They are equally intelligent, and when you see them dancing, it is hard to say any one group is “the winner”.
But they are culturally different, bringing marvelous enrichment of human life. We should want them all--but not to the detriment of native peoples.

Some critics of allowing immigration from Mexico warn against “over-population”--an absolutely valid concern. But this problem is not addressed by law in the United States of America. The present national administration, with its overload of dogma, pursues a policy of encouraging population increase.

Evaluating immigration policy should include prominent recognition that the peoples of Mexico, the Spanish-speaking and the “Indian” natives, are peoples of the Americas, and many, before and after the gun-forced Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, lived--and live--in what is now called Southwest United States. To give them preferential privileges would be simply respecting human rights.

Ethel C. Hale