Immigration is the regulation of human bodies by the nation-state. The border is a political project that not only creates the “other,” but also creates a false perception that an invisible line made by wealthy White men is indeed real. Meanwhile, the poor are sent to fight the rich mans war and thousands of migrants die trying to cross the international border of US and Mexico.
I see the international border as a war zone. It doesn’t take much imagination to see this idea. The walls are high, soldiers walk with guns, people are lined up ready to state what country they are from, and Id’s are processed.
With the border comes the question, who is American and who is not? The annoying thing about this question is the people who ask it are the very ones who know nothing about the history of immigration in the US.
In American eyes, immigration is labor. However, when it concerns the southern border and people are dying American’s turn a blind eye and blame migrants for taking American jobs that we are unwilling to take.
The wall that separates Mexico and the US must be taken down and deconstructed while more European Americans need to educate themselves about their own ancestors and their immigrant past. However, I’m not calling for the continuation of the romantic version that Europeans settlers came to these lands for “freedom.” I’m calling for a more complex version. A version that acknowledges race, Racism, imperialism, poverty, Hunger, indentured servitude, death, escape, land grabs, Colonization, medical examinations, Genocide of Indigenous/Native peoples, White supremacy, Heteropatriarchy, class divisions, middle class peoples and the elites search for wealth, the thousands who went back to Europe, the many, many European immigrants who died from poverty after gaining access to these lands, and the list goes on.
Lets acknowledge that Ellis Island was not the island of liberty for the poor. In fact, Liberty Island is of distance and on some days the fog hides liberty and there is no beacon of light.
-written by a fellow White Irish Azorean American queer cisgender able-bodied student who lives in the Borderlands. Whose ancestors immigrated here during the Irish famine (An Gorta Mór) and Azorean relatives who raised him on kale soup, sweet bread, and linguiça. (4/21/2011)