Now that the U.S. federal court has halted the president’s immigration executive orders and the Trans-Pacific Partnership bill with an immigration component has died in the Congress, it looks bleak again for immigration reform.
At least until the next presidential election!
But while the bashing of immigrants and immigration reform continues by many right -wingers, the same bashers were quick to applaud the historic Triple Crown win by American Pharoah on June 6 at the Belmont Stakes. In fact, I’m sure many even won bets on this race.
Lost in the applause, of course, was the fact that this win was by two immigrants to America.
Both moved to the U.S. from foreign nations to pursue their dreams. The winning jockey, Victor Espinoza, was born on a dairy farm in Hidalgo, Mexico, and American Pharoah’s owner, Ahmed Zayat, was born in Cairo, Egypt. Both men showcase the significant contributions the more than 40 million immigrants living across the U.S. continue to make to this country.
Immigrants are disproportionately likely to be working and are concentrated among prime working ages, according to the Economic Policy Center. “Indeed, despite being 13 percent of the population, immigrants comprise 16 percent of the labor force,” a recent EPC report said. “Moreover, many immigrants are business owners. In fact, the share of immigrant workers who own small businesses is slightly higher than the comparable share among U.S.-born workers.”
Yet, many on the right are quick to embrace the ones who become famous but fail to recognize the struggle that got them there.
They are quick to judge the unknown faces and criticize, because criticism is easy and throwing around words such as “amnesty” and “illegals” a great way to enflame their base. Finding solutions is not as easy or as sexy, even though unauthorized immigrants only account for approximately 3.7 percent of the total U.S. population and approximately 5.2 percent of the labor force.
The right continues to be happy with the new form of slavery because the undocumented are perceived as mainly Brown and Black immigrants’ who wash their clothes, take care of their children, pick the fruit and vegetables they buy in the supermarket, mow their lawns and wash their dishes in the fancy restaurants where they eat.
Just as with the old form of slavery, they would be happy if this system can go on forever as they argue about lack of border security and continue to pass the ball while blocking any attempt to fix the problem.
But research shows roughly one-fifth of all undocumented immigrants, or 19.2 percent of the 11.7 million, are non-Hispanic white. Perhaps this is a fact that should be promoted more, especially this Immigrant Heritage Month. Maybe then, Ann Coulter and the mad hatters against solving this crisis will finally allow immigration reform that’s comprehensive.
It’s important to know and share our immigrant story and the story that got us all to where we are today during this Immigrant Heritage Month. Let’s send a clear message to the right that the bashing of immigrants and the continued blocking of immigration reform will not a tolerated.
Share your story this Immigrant Heritage Month at http://welcome.us/share-your-story/ using #IHM2015, and let’s keep up the fight for the many undocumented brothers and sisters in our country.
The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.