Welcome, Kind of …

against-immigration-leaving

In the mid 1990’s we moved into our grown-up home, with room enough for two boys, two cats, a dog and some gerbils (?!). The community was reputed to be welcoming and warm. And it is, kind of … just not in my neighborhood.

Unknown to us before purchase, there is a bit of a turf war. The neighbors whose houses were built in the 1960’s resent the neighbors whose houses were built in the 1990’s. The story goes that the land used for the newer houses was a pristine wilderness ripped out for greedy home builders. The reality is that it was a dilapidated farmhouse with neglected acreage.

We soon learned that there is a neighborhood association with surrounding streets, but our street of newer houses is excluded. We would walk our dog and talk to neighbors, and when they found out where we lived, they would (jokingly?) say “Oh, we can’t talk to you.” This happened as recently as 2016.

What I don’t understand is how they feel it was okay to tear up “pristine land” in 1960 to make way for their neighborhood, but not in 1990? Can someone explain this to me? I understand that most people would like to look out their back windows and see trees instead of houses, but if you don’t own the land and the developers are following all of the ordinances, how is that different from when you built?

It reminds me of immigration. Unless someone is fully Native American, we all come from immigrants. We are so thankful that our ancestors were allowed onto these shores, but are not so sure of welcoming others.

On one side of my family, I have deep roots in America. My father’s side came to the United States in the early 1700’s. My mom’s side of the family is more recent. I am not sure if my grandfather came to the United States as a baby, or he was born here. I do know he only spoke German until he attended grade school. He also felt discrimination because of his ancestry during World War I and World War II. He stopped using his name, Frederick Heinrich, and switched to just initials, F.H. He couldn’t do much about his last name, Blomeyer. Luckily it wasn’t something like Tanaka, or he would have faced much greater hardship, perhaps consigned to a  U.S. internment camp like the horrific experience  120,000 U.S. citizens and legal residents endured during the second world war.

I would guess that most (but surely not all)  of our ancestors immigrated by legal methods, whatever they were at the time. I don’t think anyone would dispute that we want immigrants vetted, and we want them to enter our country legally and fairly.

I recently listened to an interview on NPR with a border patrol officer in Texas. He said the biggest problem was our own system. The border crossers from Central and South America know what to say to get temporary sanctuary, something along the lines they are being forced to join drug gangs, or forced into prostitution. This gets them immediate entrance into the U.S. Because of our system overload, the hearing is set for years in the future. In that time, the petitioners often disappear to blend into other cities of the country. Yes, they shouldn’t do that, but isn’t it our problem the system is set up and run that way? A wall doesn’t solve the problem, and this loophole takes time away from the border patrol looking for the drug and human traffickers, the real bad guys.

I think we also all would agree that immigrants from countries that are a hotbed of terrorist activity should be closely examined before allowed entrance. This process, surely not foolproof but the best we  have, gives out limited green cards and visas to carefully screened candidates. These are the people that were held up at airports by the ban this weekend… the people who followed the rules and were thoroughly examined, who just happened to be from rather arbitrarily picked countries on a list* (which did not include the home countries of the 9/11 terrorists).

So as we have our system set up now, the illegal immigrants south of the border gain entrance by cheating the poorly designed system, while the people who follow the rules of a rather stringent vetting are being punished.

Walking my dog yesterday in my divided neighborhood, I notice a note blowing in the breeze. I looked down to read it. “Don’t forget the potato salad.” Hmm, I wonder how that turned out. This, of course, has nothing to do with anything, but it made laugh. We all could use more of that these days. And most of us would agree that generally, potato salad is a good thing, and a nice addition to the table.

*For more info, do research on your favorite not extremely biased news source. There is a great article in the Wall Street Journal, as well as the BBC. Sorry, I can’t get my links to work. These seven countries were based on a bill President Obama signed in 2015. Our country has a list of 38 countries whose citizens can come into the U.S. without a visa, i.e., without any vetting. Obama closed the loophole so that citizens with dual citizenship with one of these “friendly” countries and a country deemed an area of terrorist activity would no longer be able to come into the U.S. without a visa. It also required anyone who had recently visited any of the countries considered terrorist areas to also have to apply for a visa. Not a ban.

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About cherichat

No better way to get to know me than by reading my blog. It is much more the truth than you would see in person.
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