Monthly Archives: January 2013

Driving on the “path to citizenship”

I discover that Illinois and other states are allowing undocumented immigrants to drive cars legally.

Of course we can consider queer that this allowance comes before other more substantive right, but while pointing at it I want to underline some components of the debate. Only a comparison to the recent political situation can decide whether they are relevant or not.

 

First of all, this action casts light on another agent that is moving toward the widening of rights and citizenship between immigrants. In my previous post I noticed how the public opinion and the political leaders agree on a reform of the system, now we see that single states are already moving forward. The pressure is high and comes from different sides: once more, it proves that some fences are breaking or even falling. Organizations and institutions capable of becoming a holdout in phasing the changes between politicians and civil societies are playing their role staunchly.

 

Second, while I have to recognize, to chill the enthusiasm, that the terms of the debate don’t look much different from the last Reagan legislation on immigration, with some very important novelties, I also highlight that one proposal follows the other without any influential voice raising up against.

If the immigration reform firmly holds its position between what is considered politically commonsense, it will be more and more difficult to stop the drag at an advanced point. Whoever would dare to do it will own a clear and defined responsibility towards the electors, and first of all the Latinos. We are no longer talking of “one party is against, one is favorable”: in the Bush-era we had an attempt failed because of the internal divisions of the majority party, now it seems that some cautious views of a close party are overlapping the more progressive voices of the minority.

 

Third, to balance the global impression we can draw, the comments to this choice of the Illinois Government, and the number of people who silently approve them with Facebook, testify a presence of a harsh criticism. Probably it is not widespread, but nonetheless it is laud and goes on pointing out resolutely that these people are not “undocumented” but “illegal”.

Unfortunately, a law progress alone doesn’t provide an advancement in a society that appears divided in depth, even if not in width: that is, divided not between citizens and immigrants, but between the firsts ON the latter.

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Lot of news, good news: why talking of immigration will lead to significant law and social improvement

 

It seems to me that immigrants rights are not, or will be no longer considered a few intellectuals’ claim in the US.

The President referred to them in his inaugural speech as a path in the “endless journey” to actual equality of Americans, and Republican Senator Rubio agrees on the main features that Democrats will give to their proposal of immigration reform according to Obama’s declarations in El Paso.

 

In addition to the awareness of how broken the immigration system is, that becomes more and more common in both major parties, we have a “fighting” support for the Dream act on one side.

 

Politician are setting themselves in a context and, willingly or not, they will soon get committed to make promises larger than their rivals’. While the public opinion is clearly backing a step forward to inclusion, the recent elections forced Republicans to recognize the strategic importance of the Latino’s support.

 

I want just to briefly report that, in my personal opinion, the terms of discussion are often flawed. They speak about increasing the economic growth and raising the middle class’s incomes, they speak about labor skills and English, but they rarely mention the needs and the inherent dignity of people, or the hidden, deep boundaries that our rich world has maintains with the exploited, even when they remain in their countries of origin.

 

Of course they need consensus, and that is the opposite of what you would get if you start a discussion on immigrants rights on a moral rather than an economic or common view (that is “poll report”) basis.

Saying “It’s our own interest” is more appealing than saying “it’s just”.

 

The consequence of this choice is not irrelevant: as long as we considers immigrants as wheels to be placed sparingly in the empty places of our factories, we will of course look at their speaking fluently and working hard more than at their humanity.

 

The reality, anyway, will make his road regardless of political ideology: young stranger who finally became US citizens, no matter for what reason, are likely to demand more and more for their children and kin. They will request effective actions after political rhetoric, according to the words of Jiménez, managing director of United We Dream.

 

Today the path toward immigrant rights is becoming larger, with more people of different political ideas who tread on it. Tomorrow we will see that it bring further than many of them expect.

Imbalance, and overflow

As an Italian who studies awhile in Arizona I easily recognize the pattern of a crucial border: two worlds too close and at the same time too distant. While the islands of southern Italy attract hundreds of desperate Africans trying to gain access to a restful European life, the south-west of the United States appears less demarcated from Mexico and Central America in terms of ethnic composition, language, religion, culture, history. Here nations and populations seem to have always overlapped and blended. The substance, thought, doesn’t change. It is not forcing reality into ideological frames: it is to recognize the facts as they evidently are. The observation is as binding as physics law describing the movements of fluids from a more compressed to a thinner space. We find imposing immigrations together with imposing inequalities.