Readers Aren’t Afraid of Immigrants, But Nice Try

A round-up of some of this week's best reader-lead conversations.

By Channing Kennedy Oct 08, 2010

Thanks to all our readers, writers, sharers and tweeters for another great week here at ColorLines HQ. We’ve been plugging the usual stations of our social media empire, including Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. I’m also very pleased to present, for your viewing pleasure, full-length session videos from Facing Race 2010, with more to come. If you’re looking for a place to start, Melissa Harris-Perry’s (formerly Melissa Harris-Lacewell, congrats!) keynote is a solid hour of analysis and entertainment. As we descend further into election season, will immigrants (brown ones) become scarier and scarier? Which state legislature will win the title of ‘toughest on immigrants’? Addressing the news that Georgia is considering a ban on undocumented college students, presumed Georgian Fabian protests:

… International students and out of state students as well, not just undocumented students, attend our colleges and universities. How does less than one percent of undocumented students (which for Fall of 2010 amounted to less than 500 students in all of the USG schools-According to USG study), be responsible for pushing Georgia citizens out of the system? If the undocumented students can pay the non-resident tuition, then allow them to get the educational opportunity that obviously is in global demand. Banning such a small percentage of students only goes to show that Georgia is still full of prejudice. Regardless of one’s personal beliefs on undocumented people, if someone is qualified, and cost is not a deterrence, they ought to enjoy the freedom to pursue their formal right to an education in Georgia. … Stop competing to be the first on idiotic policies that only make other states look at us with that funny look… waiting for us while we tune our banjos… and well, you know the rest…

On Seth Freed Wessler‘s reported piece on a young Texan man whose story shows the human impact of US immigration policy, Robin gets hit hard:

This is just terrible. The whole immigration thing just breaks my heart. It’s a huge human rights issue. To make real progress I think it will be important to depoliticize it as much as possible so that it can be seen as what it is a human rights issue. This way people of all political persuasions can be brought together to work on fixing the system so it’s not damaging and killing so many people (most border deaths ever this year).

When 11 Latin American countries officially spoke out against Arizona’s immigration law, a commenter came forward with a familiar line from our drop-by commenters — that immigration policy under Obama kowtows to foreign interests, and the United States’ needs should come first.Rachel K. took it upon herself to respond. The full exchange is well worth your time.

You are insulted that 11 Latin American countries are having their say? Are you aware of America’s "voice" in countless countries for countless years? Do we have a right to say we’re offended if countries (that have far less power in the global world than we do) do what we are best at? Next, are there not some appropriate times to do this? We have no problem telling other countries that we think is right or wrong, moral or just, but when other countries believe we are out of line, they can’t tell us what we’re doing wrong? It’s an accountability for the moral injustice of racism, and I think it’s definitely alright for them to tell us what we’re doing wrong. And do you know why the Mexicans are bringing drugs to America? Because white, middle-class Americans are statistically their largest buyers. Why are we blaming this on them? They came to America after NAFTA primarily because we ruined their economy by dumping all of our cheap agricultural products there. They had no market for themselves, so farmers and their families went out of business and began coming across the border. We caused this. It’s the least we can do to not racially profile them. It doesn’t mean that immigration is not a problem, it simply means that this is not the way to fix it. Come up with something that doesn’t take away human dignity and we’ll stop protesting.

Rachel leaves out that under Obama, more people have been deported than under any US president in history. Not exactly a soft-on-immigrants administration. And finally, a coupla zingers! Here’s Jacob from on Sharron Angle’s "illegals"-riddled campaign ad:

I’m not sure this counts as "coded" racism.

And from our Facebook page, Cara sees a silver lining to California’s proposed new truancy laws that threaten parents with jail time:

Wow, now we’re putting parents into the School to Prison Pipeline. Cali innovates again!

Thanks, Cara, for giving us a positive note to end on. Enjoy your weekend!