The immigration issue is becoming more than just an issue of illegal people in this country. The whole issue is turning into a complex feeling of hatred toward foreigners which it means that the immigration issue is becoming a Civil and Human right issue.
The immigration issue or immigrants are associated most of the time with a particular group or minority which is the Latino population or Spanish speaking people and most of the time Mexicans. Of course other ethnicities or cultures are suffering similar problems but usually news or TV debates, jokes on immigrants are about Mexicans. So the whole immigration debate also becomes an issue of language, race, appearance, etc.
Immigrants can be discriminated not only because are illegal but if they are not illegal can be discriminated because they don’t speak the language. There is a famous cheese steak place in Philadelphia with the sign of ‘This is America when ordering speak English’.
It’s funny though because I remember once in South America when I was waiting to get my luggage there was this English speaking tourist furious complaining to an Argentinean officer about opening his bags. The officer didn’t understand a word of English but was trying to calm down the man. I translated and the situation was resolved. The man was an American from Virginia and like he said to me, his frustration was that nobody spoke a word of English in the f*** airport. What it’s funny is that sometimes we expect from other more that what we expect of ourselves.
The Dictionary defines Xenophobia: it is a dislike, hatred and/or fear of that which is unknown or different from oneself. The term is typically used to describe a fear or dislike of foreigners or of people significantly different from oneself, usually in the context of visibly differentiated minorities. Diversity of language is protected and respected by most nations who value cultural diversity. However, people are sometimes subjected to different treatment because their preferred language is associated with a particular group, class or category. Commonly, the preferred language is just another attribute of separate ethnic groups. Discrimination exists if there is prejudicial treatment against a person or a group of people who speak a particular language or dialect. Language discrimination is suggested to be labeled linguicism or logocism. Anti-discriminatory and inclusive efforts to accommodate persons who speak different languages or cannot have fluency in the country’s predominant or “official” language, is bilingualism such as official documents in two languages, and multiculturalism in more than two languages.
I don’t know if you have opportunity of reading about the law passed in Arizona criminalizing being illegally in the U.S. Just a little explanation about crime and illegal. There are some things that are illegal in USA but if you do them don’t make you a criminal in the justice system. e.g. parking in a forbidden area is illegal and you get a ticket but it doesn’t make you a criminal, you don’t even become a criminal in the justice system if you don’t pay the ticket. If you pass a red light is severe traffic offense and you can lose important privileges like you driver license; still that doesn’t make you criminal. If you drive without a license you are driving illegally but that does not make you a criminal in the justice system. So being illegal was never a crime in USA. So criminalize people that is not legally in the US is a big jump… a huge one. I don’t really know if the Supreme Court will get involved in this issue but it seems like they should now because illegal immigration will be part of the justice system.
Arizona just raised the issue and now there are other States that will follow… again, this is becoming more that just lack of control of illegal people, is becoming a passionate debate and is bringing mix feelings, bad feeling out…
Arizona started and there is now a Republican State Representative Mr. Metcalfe in PA that is proposing similar measures for PA.
Metcalfe’s Arizona-modeled legislation would provide state and local law enforcement with full authority to apprehend Pennsylvania’s estimated 140,000 illegal aliens and several other sweeping reform measures, including:
- Creating a new criminal offense for illegal aliens who violate federal law by either willfully failing to register as an alien or failing to possess proper proof of such registration when stopped for another primary offense such as a traffic violation.
- Requiring law enforcement officers to attempt to verify the immigration status of suspected illegal aliens.
- Creating a new criminal offense for persons who are unlawfully present in the United States and are an unauthorized alien applying for work.
- Allowing law enforcement officers to arrest illegal aliens for any public offense which would warrant removal from the United States.
- Creating a new felony offense for intentionally smuggling illegal aliens for profit; and authorizing law enforcement officers to impound any vehicle driven by an illegal alien, or used to transport illegal aliens.
The immigration issue is becoming more than just an issue of illegal people in this country. The whole issue is turning into a complex feeling of hatred toward foreigners.