Thursday, January 29, 2015

Immigration reform too strong an issue for ideologue resistance to endure

The new Republican-oriented Congress that took control earlier this month has made it clear it is prepared to resist at all costs the efforts of President Barack Obama to impose the reforms of national immigration policy that are desperately needed in this country.

Every opportunity they get, they engage in trash talk about the reforms that would accept the fact that there was no legitimate reason to deny valid visas to many millions of the people who are now living in this country without official status.

BUT I CAN’T get too worked up about these people whose political morals are repulsive – largely because I realize the momentum is working against those individuals. Come another three or so decades, and these same people are going to be the ones engaging in doubletalk to explain how they ever could have been quite so vacuous with their current rhetoric!

Kind of like now how the surviving people who once were critical of Mayor Harold Washington now try to claim it was a misunderstanding and they were really, really on Harold’s side way back in the 1980s.

Easing the restrictions on people wishing to come to this country and realizing the ones who are already here are making worthwhile contributions to our society is going to seem so blatantly obvious someday.

Now in my family’s case, it was my grandfathers who were the immigrants from Mexico who ultimately settled in the South Chicago neighborhood, where they wound up working in the steel mills that used to be all over the place near the Illinois/Indiana border.

ONE OF MY grandfathers came prior to the first federal immigration policy being put in place, while the other came during the period when Mexican citizens were specifically exempted from immigration restrictions (because the ideologues of that era were more concerned with keeping “the Jews!” out of this country).

Yet when I look at the modern-day people who are allegedly in this country “illegally” (that’s INS bureaucrat-speak, because people are NOT illegal by nature), I don’t see any real difference from my grandfathers – who came here because they saw an opportunity to work toward a better life.

The only people who see a difference are those people with ethnic-inspired hang-ups that shouldn’t be allowed to influence our nation’s laws.

That is why I was pleased to learn how Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., is working the nation, so to speak, to try to influence people everywhere to lighten up on their hostility toward newcomers to this country.

GUTIERREZ IS IN Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday and North Charleston, S.C., on Friday, before returning to Chicago Saturday for an event at the Rebaño Church in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

In coming weeks, he will speak to groups in Minneapolis and Houston, and also a Valentine’s Day event in suburban Des Plaines, where he is scheduled to appear with Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., to talk about the issue.

Although I’m sure there are those who will quickly dismiss anything Gutierrez has to say. Their hang-ups are that strong.

It is with them in mind that I’m wondering what they’ll think of statements earlier this month by Pope Francis, who is scheduled to make an east coast tour of the United States (New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.) later this year.

THE POPE SAYS he’d also like to include a stop in northern Mexico in which he would go to the Rio Grande and cross over the river into south Texas – replicating the same image that the bigots of our society would have you think was made by many millions of people who snuck into the United States to subvert our society.

Which is such a nonsense statement that it makes me laugh just to write it!

Perhaps one of those “Minutemen” nincompoops along the U.S./Mexico border (whose use of historic images is even more gross than those ‘Tea Party’ types) thinks it will be cool to be the guy who “stops” the pope from crossing the river into the United States.

Then again, it probably would take that blatant of an image to make the bulk of people realize how obscene much of the anti-immigrant rhetoric truly is.


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