Christmas is the time of year when most people who celebrate this holiday are asked to look into their hearts and do something more to give to family, friends, and the community. Unless, of course, these people aren’t U. S. citizens.
Some Houston charities have decided to confirm immigration status before conferring Christmas cheer. It’s about “making the best decisions about whom to help” these charities claim. And naturally, a few aren’t directly asking for proof of citizenship, just a birth certificate or demonstrated need via receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and/or Medicaid (both of these programs exclude undocumented residents).
The family-friendly rhetoric of the Right meets the real world. Because we can’t just make decisions that would benefit everyone - be it with toys for Christmas or Federal healthcare. That would be socialism, and more importantly, socialism that somehow benefits people of color over whites.
This story highlights the disturbing trend of the new Right in the United States - doing an end run around basic values (and in some cases, laws) by employing convoluted tactics. We’ve seen it already during the 2007 California fires, as voter registration during the 2008 elections, and in the current healthcare debates as a direct attack on undocumented residents and a sideways attack at providing abortion access and choice. I’m not the first to point out the hypocrisy of “family values,” when this really means families untainted by immigrants, abortion choice, the LGBT community, and other undesirables. But what saddens and frightens me most is the internalization of this rhetoric to the point where the most “family friendly” holiday of the year has now lost its meaning.