Reflections On America: Immigration

by: cassandracarolina

Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 12:34:21 PM EST



Having recently arrived on your welcoming purple shores, I've been thinking about immigration. It's a subject that amazes and perplexes me, and one that our witless politicians are finally beginning to grapple with, but for all the wrong reasons. They see what all the rest of us have seen for years: the US is no country for old [white] men.  While our politicians were busy re-fighting the battles of the past, millions of folks in search of opportunity have quietly entered the country and begun living, working, and studying along with the rest of us.

Conte sailing dayIt's an enormously complex and interesting challenge. As usual, the politicians approach it primarily from the perspective of near-term personal advancement. They can't win without the Hispanic vote, gosh darn it all to heck. Guess it's time to do something, they sigh. Just have to be careful not to scare away the old white guys, so we'll be sure to include a big fence with concertina wire and armed guards. Plus our contractor friends will get some good work out of it.

Me? I'm not a politician, thank [insert name of deity here]. I'm just the daughter of an immigrant mom, trying to connect the dots in hopes that I can figure out what's happened so far, and what might come next. So please pull up a chair, and let's try to sort this out together.  Maybe we can make some sense of all this.

A World War I veteran in the medical corps and prominent neurosurgeon in Berlin, my grandfather left Nazi Germany in 1938, arriving in the US. He learned English, and obtained a position as a university lecturer (for a salary of $500 per year) while studying to re-take all of his medical boards in every field of medicine, not just his specialties of neurology and psychiatry (in English, of course), before being allowed to practice medicine. Then, in order to become a naturalized citizen, he had to leave the US and re-enter. He took a bus from Boston to Miami, traveled to Cuba by boat, then back into the US. Only then could he send for my mother and grandmother to join him.

Back in Germany, my mother and grandmother packed up their belongings under the watchful eye of the Gestapo, who required that every item taken out of the country be inventoried. Under ordinary circumstances, this would be an irritating and time-consuming hassle.

Heightening the danger in this case was the fact that my grandmother was smuggling out hundreds of black-listed books by authors that had been critical of the Third Reich.

Picture: The Conte di Savoia - Gateway to America for My Mother and Grandmother

cassandracarolina :: Reflections On America: Immigration
Somehow, by mixing these books in with my mother's childrens' books, and allowing the Gestapo officer to keep himself entertained playing my grandparents' grand piano, they avoided detection. As a result, works by Sigmund Freud, Bertolt Brecht, Erich Kastner, Thomas Mann, Kurt Tucholsky, Scholem Asch, Stefan Zweig, Emil Ludwig, Max Brod, Franz Werfel and many other prominent writers made the perilous cross-Atlantic journey under the watchful eye of my courageous grandmother and my adventure-loving mother.

Next up: petitioning the American Consulate for exit visas to emigrate to the US. My mother recalls that it was easier dealing with the Gestapo than the unhelpful and uncaring bureaucrats in the Consulate. Day after day, they were told to return another time. Finally, my mother and Grandmother were granted permission to leave for the US. All of their German money had to remain in Germany. All costs had to be paid in US dollars.

They traveled by train from Berlin to Milan, then to Genoa where they boarded the Conte di Savoia. Crossing the storm-tossed Atlantic was no picnic, despite the ships supposedly state-of-the-art gyro stabilizers. The greater concern was mines that littered the ocean, lying in wait for passing vessels. Still, they arrived in New York Harbor on February 29th to be reunited with my grandfather. After what must have been an unimaginably emotional reunion, they piled into his newly-purchased (for $120) Ford and headed to Boston.

Reveling in their new-found freedoms, my mother and her parents settled in, recovering from their nutritional deprivation through the delicious cooking of their Sicilian neighbors, exploring New England, and settling into American life.

Unfortunately, they were not home free. When the US became involved in the European war, my mother and grandparents were declared "enemy aliens" in a proclamation by their hero, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. As "natives, citizens, denizens or subjects of Germany 14 years of age and upward", they were to refrain from "interfering by word or deed with the defense of the United States or the political processes and public opinion thereof". They could not possess or use "short-wave receiving sets, cameras or firearms". Many other limitations were imposed, the most difficult for them being that they could not travel - even within New England - without permission of the government.

Having heard these accounts on many occasions, find myself feeling very conflicted. Here were three productive, intelligent people who only wanted to live in America. They endured family separation, risk to life and limb, interminable bureaucratic delays, and expense, and sacrificed the possibility of seeing some of their loved ones ever again. Only through their tenacity and courage were they able to be reunited and go on to live for many years in a country that millions of us take for granted.

Fast forward to 2007, when Mr. Carolina and I relocated from a town of about 7,000 souls in New Hampshire to the outskirts of Houston, Texas, a metropolitan area of about 4 million souls.  

We sold our 4-bedroom "country colonial" house with its lovely farmer's porch in NH, and found that for $100K less, we could buy a 5-bedroom, 4-bath brick house in a nice neighborhood, spiral staircase, granite and tile throughout, game room, media room, three car garage, all top-notch construction, nicely landscaped. How was this possible?

Our realtor put it this way:  "We LOVE our Mexicans!" What the...? OUR Mexicans?  

Immigrant labor is the engine behind the "Texas Miracle". Fortuitous geology helped, of course, but there's more to the Lone Star State than petroleum. Immigrants staff our restaurants, manufacturing plants, and commercial businesses.  Our lawn crew? All immigrants. Our neighbors' nannies and cleaning ladies? Yup. Immigrants. Most of the folks building new homes throughout suburbia? You got it.

You might wonder why our witless governor Rick Perry has done virtually nothing to "crack down" on illegal immigration. His corporate cronies are way too comfortable with the status quo. Immigrants are willing to work for crummy wages. They'll tolerate unsafe or abusive working conditions. They won't complain and risk retaliation or deportation. We love our Mexicans, indeed.

Somewhere between the extremes of immigration policy - making it nearly impossible for people to come here, or leaving our borders completely porous and then acting surprised that we've added millions of people without any sort of plan to handle them - lies the possibility of real reform.  

I love the fact that my mother's an immigrant. Nobody loves the US more. At age 87, she still votes in every single election. She's better informed than most people on political issue (and she's a lifelong Progressive!) I love the fact that between my husband's family and mine, our ancestors got here one way or the other, coming to this country for love, for a job, or for education, or to escape tyranny.

As people are fond of saying here in Texas, "I wasn't born here, but I got here as quick as I could".  We're a nation of immigrants, a fact that our political "leaders" ignore at their peril. People are getting here as quick as they can, and a good thing, too. There's much to be done in the way of nation-building here at home, and we will need the intelligence, vision, tenacity, and skills of all sorts of people to get the job done.  

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what a wonderful... (2.00 / 24)
recount of your parents and grandmother's immigrant story!  

Question - did you capture their telling on audio??  It's something that I think is important to future generations.

One of my sisters as part of some school project taped by Grandmother's account of growing up in NYC Chinatown - as the first girl-child born in NYC Chinatown.  My mother's voice you can also here since she had accompanied my sister - and my mom is now gone for some years.  It's wonderful to just hear both their voices.. and when I realized how strong my mom's NY accent was... along with my grandmothers!


Thanks, kishik - my mom has written an autobiographical (2.00 / 21)
memoir on her experiences, and my dad added to it on their visits back to Berlin (once for a trip organized by the German government to show refugees that things had indeed improved and that they - and probably their US dollars - were welcome back anytime,

My mom has also done presentations for groups from her my niece's elementary school to the assisted living place where she's an active participant.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
are they taped?? (2.00 / 18)
please, do it!!  

I think hearing the accounts of our forebears is what makes us all remember how we are all immigrants at some point.

Of course being in NY, I'm near Ellis Island that has their own wonderful record of immigrant accounts.  :)

I take it your Mom and Grandmother came through Ellis Island?  and your Dad??

the process to emigrate or settle here is still as bureaucratic as ever - but some things made easier.


[ Parent ]
I believe my niece did a video recording of my mom (2.00 / 16)
for her high school project.

My dad's mom was reportedly a Mayflower descendant. Seems to me that the Mayflower must have been Titanic-sized to accommodate all such claims. His dad's folks came from Sweden to Massachusetts.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
The Mayflower was small, but it was also many generations ago. (2.00 / 15)
When you think that you have two parents, and four grandparents and eight great-grandparents, it becomes clear pretty quickly that it's not surprising that folks may have a Mayflower ancestor.

[ Parent ]
Thanks, Wee Mama, and nice diary you just posted (2.00 / 11)
I was listening to the President's speech on the way back from my appointments just now. Powerful stuff.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
I just put up a short diary on his speech and (2.00 / 11)
consilience, the way that different reasons can point to the same policy.

[ Parent ]
::facepalm:: sorry for not reading your comment carefully - (2.00 / 11)
why do some comments breed like rabbits??

[ Parent ]
Because we keep them and make stew. (2.00 / 9)
:~)

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
This. (2.00 / 17)
It's an enormously complex and interesting challenge.

And more twisted than the honeysuckle vine on my porch. So many turns and so many sides to address. I support immigration reform, after all as you so eloquently stated, we're all immigrants in one way or another. We should support an easier pathway to becoming a citizen.

My views are shaped by two family members, one here in Texas and another living in Bangkok Thailand. The one here, my brother in law is a certified licensed pipe fitter, he works in construction. For years it was a solid wage earning job, lots of overtime, benefits, the works. But in the last 10 years, more and more builders are hiring people who are not here legally. This is both a detriment to my brother in law and to the workers. My brother in law's situation is obvious, he no longer makes 27+ an hour, but the current workers are being exploited, often significantly underpaid and overworked. It's a two way street. A loss of income, a worker left to whims of a boss with a deadline. I saw the same thing when I worked for Head Start, especially in the dairy farm areas of Erath County. Long hours, poor pay, cramped and often unsafe living conditions--and no one to step in to make it right. The workers were scared to death of our Head Start vans for a long time because they thought we were immigration officers.

On the other hand..the cost factor for immigration to the US is just ridiculous. I'm not talking about the cost of traveling here...No I'm talking about getting the paperwork done to move here. I have a family member living in Thailand, in order to bring his wife and child here he must pay for a background check on both his wife and his child. I get that, but 900.00 US dollars???? And that doesn't include all the fees to have the forms translated from Thai to English and English to Thai, nor does it include fees for lawyers--which one needs to help swim around in that mess. And the real kicker? Any and all of it can change depending on whom one speaks to at the US Embassy. So essentially no one really knows what's going on. He finally got his daughter's passport, without the background check--After a lawyer pointed out she's an American citizen by birth. Oh yeah...Yeah, that's right she is said the embassy person ever so sheepishly.

My understanding is it's worse in Mexico because there's always extra "fees" by the government officials.  So, one thing is clear, the pathway needs to be cleared of a lot bureaucratic nonsense and one clear system established. I'm sure not every country may have this kind of situation, but getting here shouldn't be so impossible as to leave people no choice but to go over the border. And before anyone goes off, yes I understand the poverty level in Mexico is horrid especially since the Mexican government took away farming subsidies. Fees to move here would be impossible for some. A worker program--I could support that, hey taxes paid here, money increased in the US coffers. And workers protected. There are solutions, sane, humane solutions.

Just my two cents worth...I'm pulling for reform, I want it, I think it's necessary all the way around. And by that I mean a way to citizenship for those here right now, an easier but still comprehensive sane path to citizenship for those wanting to move to America.  

"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle"...."We make a Living by what we get...We make a Life by what we give."  


Thanks for these perspectives, LeftOverFlowerChild (2.00 / 17)
The cost, complexity, and exhausting duration of bureaucratic process are likely insurmountable barriers for many people who simply want to reunite with family.

It's an international problem, and one day, ae may be able to have more global solutions. Sadly, give our politics, I am fearfulmthat all that will happen in the foreseeable future is a band-aid, feel-good approach.

A path to citizenship - and taxpayership - would be a better approach, from what I can see.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
Your point is well taken.... (2.00 / 13)
And I apologize as I see now the point of your article was to inspire conversation about immigration. Not the current quasi conversation congress is attempting to have. And I'm Suzi, LOFC is quite a bit to type.  

"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle"...."We make a Living by what we get...We make a Life by what we give."  

[ Parent ]
be prepared... (2.00 / 14)
reform never means lower cost... but more added cost.

The one thing to keep in mind, those agencies that handle immigration are primarily funded by fees.


[ Parent ]
Well, you story is a dose of reality isn't it (2.00 / 10)
What do you think about the argument that our system can't support everyone who wants in?

What do you think about the current plan to require illegal immigrants to pay for a background check, pay a fine and back taxes for a path to citizenship? I can't imagine how they could come up with that kind of money. We're talking about a lot of people working for long hours and below min. wages just to get by.



[ Parent ]
It is one reality... (2.00 / 11)
There are others...Like the one you suggest, how do we support everyone who wants in? Do we set quotas like other countries have done? Do we establish requirements like other nations? Do we go on allowing "the tired, the poor, the huddled masses" to come in if they can get here? Green cards, worker Visas...who goes first? I honestly do not know..

As to the other, I just don't see how that is going to help the situation. I think Cassandra has a valid point citizenship leads to taxpayership. It is quite complex and there is not one simple solution.  

"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle"...."We make a Living by what we get...We make a Life by what we give."  


[ Parent ]
I don't have any answers, but there is something about (2.00 / 12)
this issue that screams for real analysis. It's not just a matter of jobs, taxes, intellectual capital, trade, healthcare, demographics, education, infrastructure, governance, or compassion. It's all of that, and much more.

Entrusting decisions with decades-long or centuries-long consequences to politicians who can't express themselves in anything longer than a Tweet, or focus on anything other than re-election will not get us anywhere, I fear.

This is the biggest of big issues, and deserves some painful exploration.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
there are programs (2.00 / 10)
(which are usually hotly debated) that allow for waivers to apply (waivers for fees).  but of course this goes back to the agency being funded by fees...

how allowing waivers get through congress generally means they are allowable without funding from congress to cover the cost - and there you are, the agency then lacks sufficient funding to go forward quickly in implementing new laws and policies.

immigration agencies, whether INS or dhs continue to be the evil stepchild in government.


[ Parent ]
i think... (2.00 / 6)
there should be something in place to deter others from thinking it will be easy for the next period of immigration reform.

Essentially, that is what oftentimes is the issue.. deter illegal immigration so the country can boost the legal immigration process.

That's just my take on it.

I don't think it's fair, though, to expect back taxes and a fine AND etc...

background checks are performed through the FBI... who are also crying for money.  INS used to be with DOJ... which is where the FBI remains despite the reasoning of creating DHS (that law enforcement agencies involved (CIA, FBI, INS) failed to communicate terrorist threats to prevent Sept 11.

The FBI charges DHS for this service.

But my opinion is that there should be some sort of "fine" imposed IF they entered illegally (meaning not through a port of entry).

I know this will affect many that came through the southern border and not just affect the Mexician immigrant community, but also those from central america, but there are other immigrant communities that have those here illegally, but they entered on a visa... just overstayed.

One way or another - i believe there should be some type of penalty (but affordable)


[ Parent ]
It shouldn't necessarily be easy, but it should be straighforward (2.00 / 5)
so that a person or family wishing to come here (or stay here, if they'r here illegally) can make an informed decision. Maybe that decision is to pour their time, money, and effort into getting throu the process as expeditiously as possible. Maybe it's a decision to return to their country of origin and drop any plans to immigrate legally. Maybe there can be ways to ease the process, as I believe is being contemplated for entrepreneurs who want to start a business here.

As I said, it is an issue for which I don't have the answers. My fear is that our leaders aren't even asking the proper questions.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
reading the transcript... (2.00 / 5)
of the President's speech... maybe it should be something as once outlined in the Dream act... for those being allowed clemency through some sort of paying back.. through Americorps, teaching, Peace Corps, military, something that gives back to the country.  It's not without pay, but they are jobs that do pay back to the country.

I think that what is not communicated by congress or even presidents (not necessarily President Obama, just presidents in general) is how the agencies that are tasked with implementing and upholding the immigrant aspect of this country are funded and how they work (or don't work) with each other.

On the immigrant side of things, of course this is never going to be a concern, however on the citizen's side of things, they should examine this... the agencies themselves need some reforming, too.

Congress needs to think about how things are funded... or not.  The agencies cannot expect to go forward on any changes without some sort of funding - without all of those monies coming off the backs of immigrants (legal or illegal).


[ Parent ]
It shouldn't necessarily be easy, but it should be straighforward (2.00 / 5)
so that a person or family wishing to come here (or stay here, if they'r here illegally) can make an informed decision. Maybe that decision is to pour their time, money, and effort into getting throu the process as expeditiously as possible. Maybe it's a decision to return to their country of origin and drop any plans to immigrate legally. Maybe there can be ways to ease the process, as I believe is being contemplated for entrepreneurs who want to start a business here.

As I said, it is an issue for which I don't have the answers. My fear is that our leaders aren't even asking the proper questions.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
Some more thoughts (2.00 / 5)
Imagine all of the illegal crop pickers, maids, and the folks standing in front of the hardware stores in CA going home to start the process to re-enter legally. I'm telling you it would be interesting.

My sister married a son of a picker who suffers poor health. He has severe allergies that affects his skin. I think we should be aware that some people have paid a heavy price to work here. The stories I hear about the realities of the risks taken to get here. I heard a story, second hand, that a guy sponsored an illegal's crossing to work on his construction projects. As I remember the story, it was sort of an indentured arrangement. The worker made it safely to the states but he was held ransom by the coyote for more money from the sponsor. The worker ended up owing the sponsor more years of his labor. Some people are raped, robbed, and abandoned in the desert to die. I think that their decision to take on the risks says something about where they are coming from. We should also think about how the U. S. policy south of the border has played a role in why so many people risk everything to come here.


[ Parent ]
SphinxMoth, this is a side of immigration that needs more (2.00 / 4)
attention. Here in Texas, human trafficking goes on until there's an occasional raid, but the stories told would suggest it's sadly much more pervasive. When you match up people who would come to this country at all costs with those looking for quick money and ongoing power, the results can be disastrous. Unfortunately, even if there is a path to citizenship, there will likely be exploiters who promise a shortcut in exchange for some "consideration", whether money, work, sex, or drugs.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
I like the way that you have started the conversation (2.00 / 14)
I agree it is a complicated subject. My ancestors have a long history here, the most recent immigrants dating back to 1846. I don't know what motivated my 4x Grandmother and her brothers to leave Prussia (now Germany). I don't agree that I hold any special rights over others because of that. We don't ask to be born nor where. Migration is a natural behavior when survival dictates it.

I grew up in California where the sentiment aligns with "we love our Mexicans" but not so openly stated. Seriously, if a nation wide day without a Mexican would take place it would really wake people up. I have a lot to say but my ideas weaves around so many issues that I'll wait to see how others respond and go from there.

I hope we can talk about the labor that supports our food system. Also, since now that I live near the AZ border, the effects of the ramped up border activity on the border communities and how effective is it are personal issues for me.

My bottom line feeling it is time stop the underground labor system and the immigrants should be treated like human beings. We have to start paying more for our goods and services. I think we would be happier with less things in our lives and the planet would be happier too.


SphinxMoth, I agree completely (1.92 / 13)
regarding the "underground labor" situation. We are all complicit, and we must all adjust to a new reality.


I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
What a fantastic family background (2.00 / 10)
Particularly loved your grandmother smuggling out all those fantastic examples of German and mittel europa literature under the eye of the Gestapo, hidden with children's books.

One of the things that most endears this Brit to the US is your (usually) dynamic and welcoming idea of immigration as a sign of success, determination and aspiration to escape the prisons of the past. I wish more Brits thought this way.

True, in London, which is now more cosmopolitan than New York, over half the inhabitants have a non British parent. That's changed in just 20 years when half had - like I do - a non British grandparent (I'm Armenian/Welsh/English): but much of the rest of the country detests London for its diversity, and their are signs of a growing nativist movements. Though it claims no ethnic element, Scots and Welsh nationalism can easily lead down this exclusive street, while English Defence League brought hooliganism and islamophobia to English nationalism.

The truth is that, scratch below the surface, look at the DNA with a historical perspective, and even relatively ancient Britain is just layer after layer of migrants (much like the fascinating geology of the country's rock strata). From whoever the first settlers were who crossed the land bridge during the last ice age, followed by Celts, Picts, Jutes, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Danes, Lombards, Huguenots, Irish, Caribbean, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, Armenians, Poles Czechs...

The list is exhaustive. Humans are a mobile migratory species (though nomadism and farming often came into conflict). Our great cities are places where people travelled, met, traded, exchange ideas, passions, love and poetry.

Of course globalisation has often used migration to punish local workers, bringing in cheap labour and causing resentment over jobs and houses. But the upside of it all is so fantastic. My best friend have Jewish-Moroccan, or Spanish-Indian, or Kiwi-Northumbrian backgrounds.

When Adam Smith posited the idea of free trade in the Wealth of Nations, he said that free movement of goods, service and capital needed to be met with free movement of labour

It's a paradox that so many so-called right wing free marketeers want absolutely no borders when it comes to moving their capital around or outsourcing their business, but want electrified rings of steel around the borders of Arizona.  

The p***artist formerly known as 'Brit'


Most excellent observations, Peter Jukes (2.00 / 9)
I have been blessed to have friends and colleagues all over the world and I wonder what on Earth they think of the knots that we as Americans tie ourselves into in the name of politics.

I also wonder what the right-wingers here imagine that the US would be like had their xenophobic paranoia prevailed over the course of our history. Then again, I wouldn't be sitting here pondering that, as I wouldn't even exist ;-)

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
I was on a bus once, in NYC, and the guy next to me (2.00 / 11)
was carrying on about how NY used to be great. Before they came. He didn't care for immigrants. Chinese, Puerto Ricans, Jews... he didn't like any of 'em.

Funny. He didn't look Native American

"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter


Ha! plf515, I have heard the same thing in North Carolina (2.00 / 7)
which strikes me as especially ironic given that NC's Roanoke Colony was to have been a sanctioned English settlement. As I used to say in my signature line, those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... In summer school ;-)

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
We are all immigrants, Even Native Americans (North and South) (2.00 / 4)
Even the POTUS said the other day that unless you are a Native American, you are an immigrant.

Sorry, but even they are immigrants. They came most likely from Asia even thought the dates are currently in some dispute, but some of them migrated between 13K and 20K + years ago. One theory even has some evidence that some came from Europe very early on. The latest Scientific American has an overview of the three leading theories, which might not be mutually exclusive.
There were some pretty huge and wonderful mammals here that  might have been native, but no humans.


[ Parent ]
SciAm Feb or Jan? (2.00 / 1)
Nice to meet another SciAm fan, it's my oldest (and only) subscription.

Absolutely correct. I have seen interesting theories (proven now?) that Europe was populated through Asia, but we all come from Africa and most by way of Yemen.

Saw a great two-hour documentary not too many years ago, showing a small group of Europeans trapped on the ice making it to North America. In the last few minutes it follows their ancestors west, until one day one of them meets someone coming east.

That would have been an amazing event to witness. The first time two humans meet, having progressed in opposite direction, circling the globe. There is no doubt it did happen one day, in one place, though we are highly unlikely to ever know precisely when and where.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
I stand corrected. The article was in the Smithsonian. I was reading (2.00 / 1)
them both at about the same time.

[ Parent ]
We gotta compare mag subscriptions. (0.00 / 0)
I haven't had Smith for a while, but love that mag. Also Foreign Policy.

When we sold the lodge I had to decide to keep a room full of books or not, and while I pared down dramatically (36 rubbermaid totes, a pittance) I kept the vast majority of the periodical collection. A whole section of shelves in the library I made wide just for them.

Aside from the specific content, periodicals say a lot about where we have been at points in time. One of my great mistakes was giving away the entire Omni collection that I had subscribed to from issue #1.

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
We could just let everyone in (2.00 / 10)
who wanted to come.

Immigration builds the nation.  

"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter


Here's an idea, plf515 - we could let everyone in (2.00 / 8)
who wants to come here, and see it balanced out by all the "take back our county" folks who will run screaming into the night at the prospect of all those "furriners".  It might make for a nice reshuffling of our demographic deck!

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
that's how my grandparents (2.00 / 9)
were able to immigrate legally. There were no obstacles once they had the transportation. They arrived and if they passed the health screening they were allowed entrance and the opportunity to apply for citizenship. I think being northern European had a lot to do with it, then and now.

There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.--Thornton Wilder

[ Parent ]
Very plausible, wordsinthewind... (2.00 / 7)
The requirement that someone (typically the husband/father) secure employment before the family could join him actually made good sense. Interestingly, once established, he spent his entire medical career in the US working for the Veterans Administration. In this case, whatever the country "risked" on letting him in was repaid, with interest, as he was very adept in helping injured vets (including those with traumatic brain injuries, before much was known about them) get the help that they needed.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
With this, I fully agree (2.00 / 7)
Honestly, in California, our undocumented population is already quite high. Higher than in Arizona, where there has been so much fervor, for example. I can't remember the exact percent, but in my old neighborhood, it was about one in four people who were not documented.

Still, they lived here. They paid local taxes and contributed to our local economy. Their kids attended the schools.

San Francisco was, for some years, an amnesty county -- no one was deported at all for not being documented. So I suppose this was what it would look like if you just let everyone in. The law was changed due to political pressure on Gavin Newsom during the last round of elections. It is why I will never have a good word for Newsom, to be frank. He enacted a regressive policy for political gain.

San Francisco and the surrounding area have flourished more than suffered with people coming in, and we've had far less of the hullabaloo that Arizona, with far less of an undocumented population, has.

I strongly support giving people a chance, period. Our borders are so fluid already in this area that we're fooling ourselves to think we're controlling much other than fattening the coffers of the privatized deportation system we've enacted here: it is a money-making mill for state-level and even county-level governments.


[ Parent ]
Wonderful essay. (2.00 / 8)
As the son of an immigrant and grandson of immigrants on my mother's side, I could relate to the family history here.  

Sorry for the double post. Not sure how that happened. nt (2.00 / 9)


[ Parent ]
First time I've seen you here (2.00 / 9)
but it feels amazing, so three times was all the more pleasant. It's an absolute pleasure to have you at Motley Moose, Free Jazz at High Noon.

Let me go get the welcome mat.

(insert welcome mat here).


[ Parent ]
Thanks, MO (2.00 / 8)
There is a 'morning calm' present at the Moose that is most refreshing. Good peeps; great dialogue.

Thanks for the mat! :-)


[ Parent ]
mat (0.00 / 0)

:~)

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."


[ Parent ]
What an enjoyable essay! (2.00 / 8)
Thank you, Cassandra, for this wonderful account of your family history.  I applaud the unflagging industry of your grandfather and the courage and adventurousness of your grandmother and mother. All of them are or were valuable additions to our U.S. shores.

I'm married to an immigrant myself. He's naturalized now, of course. That makes me sensitive to immigration issues and the fact that people want to come here for a better life. We aren't perfect here in good old 'Murrica, but we're still a beacon of hope to people from other countries.

It's up to us to make this a better place to live for us all.


Thanks, Diana in NoVa! (2.00 / 7)
As I said, I have few answers, but this is such an important issue, extending into so many aspects of our lives. It deserves more than the self-serving pronouncements of politicians who want to make this their topic du jour.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
Great diary. (2.00 / 7)
I love reading people's stories, and this is one of courage, determination, innovation, and persistence. Much admiration for your family. Bravo to the whole of it.

Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.


I loving the Moose more every day (2.00 / 5)
Seriously

The story of your family is amazing.

One side of my family came from Aberdeen. That's the side I look like (red hair, blue eyes, etc). The other side came from Mexico. Ok, it was originally Alta California. After the war, they had dual citizenship. The Mexican side of my family is the one I relate to most. My hometown was 80% Mex. My friends were all Mex. You'll never find my home without tortillas and beans (not joking). It's survival food. Oh yeah, I married an immigrant.

My husband is French. I met him back when we were renaming French Fries to Freedom Fries (Jeebus on a pogo stick). We renewed his green card last year. Why? because it was only a bit under $500 for that. Apply for citizenship? OW! That's almost $1000 (in addition to renewing the green card). We barely survived the crashed economy and layoffs, etc. Green card renewal? We're good for another 10 years. Oh yeah...he's more of a minority than you might think. I'm just not ready to share that yet. :)

Most of us here in the States don't realize how awful the fees are to someone who makes so much less than we do. I grew up on the border of Mexico. I was closer to the problem than a lot of people. The fees are awful and that's only on our side. "Mordida" on the other side sucks as much. Mordida is slang for bribes back home. It means "to take a bite". An accurate description if you ask me.

Oh yeah... layoffs? If you're an immigrant (with green card) it can mean immediate deportation. My hubby's status managed to exempt him from that. However, it's a common problem for most immigrants.

 




Come visit us at our NON political blog jellybeansofdoom.com


Nice to see you, FrugalGranny! (2.00 / 4)
Immigrating to these purple shores has been wonderful, and I look forward to sharing more of my "moosings" on various topics with such thoughtful folks.

Here in Texas, we read stories of folks pursuing the complicated path to legal citizenship, only to be turned down after great effort and expense, often on a technicality. That surely cannot be helpful in inspiring others to follow suit, and I think many people remain in legal limbo rather than risk deportation due to a failed process. It's keeping families apart, and hardworking people in a state of dread. I am not optimistic about our politicians effecting any systemic changes to this broken system.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.


-- Oscar Wilde


[ Parent ]
I agreerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (2.00 / 4)
Wow. Sorry about that. Miss Jenny decided to waltz across the keyboard and I was too lazy to fix it. Besides, kitties have opinions too. LOL Her's are just hard to decipher.

I not only love the Purple, but I'm even inclined to comment more. I'm not a great writer, but I do have opinions. :)




Come visit us at our NON political blog jellybeansofdoom.com


[ Parent ]
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