Sunday, 4 March 2007

'The Little Guy'll Always Win if He's in the Right and Keeps on Comin'.'

The text of the preceding message reads as follows:
'Dear Mr. Prime minister haper [sic] I don’t like to stay in this jail. I’m only nine years old. I want to go to my school in Canada. I’m sleeping beside the wall. Please Mr. Priminister haper give visa for my family. This place is not good for me. I want to get out of the cell. Just pleace [sic] give visa for my family. My home land is in Canada, My life is over there. I’m also sleeping beside wasroom [sic]. Mr. Priminister [sic] haper [sic] pleace [sic] bring me and my family to Canada. Thank you so much.’

The nature of citizenship is becoming all too flexible in this unstable world. A thousand years ago most people spent their entire lifetimes within a short distance of where they were born. [While interactions and exchanges occurred between different cultures, they were primarily facilitated by specialized classes of individuals such as merchants and soldiers.] In the increasingly globalized marketplace, cultures are blending like never before and no precedents exist for dealing with it. At what point does a naturalized immigrant cease being a resident of their original country and ‘belong’ to the new country? [Or, more importantly, does an individual ever really 'belong' to a country in the first place?] At what point is it unreasonable to deport a naturalized immigrant? And is it ever reasonable to request the children of immigrant’s leave [as Germany is doing to the grandchildren [!] of the ‘guest-workers’ that it invited in during the prosperity of the post-war years].

In the increasingly unstable post 9/11 world, we will have to try and gain and understanding of how these newcomers fit into our society. The notion of Fortress America or Fortress Europe is logistically impossible and, given the negative population growth [and resulting loss of labour reproduction], new workers will be needed soon. An example of this need is demonstrated by the United State’s dependency on other nations for raw materials and labour. Talk of blockading the Mexican border, for example, is unrealistic because America needs cheap labour. Mexican workers put more into the system than they can take out and, more importantly, perform jobs that many American workers would refuse for higher wages. [See the mockumentary ‘A Day Without a Mexican’ for an entertaining albeit simplistic view of this issue. For more well-researched opinion, see 'Undocumented Immigrants in Texas: A Financial Analysis of the Impact to the State Budget and Economy - December 2006' by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts] A more immediate example of this problem has recently come about following the detention of a nine-year old Canadian boy named Kevin and his parents in the United States.

Kevin is Canadian by birth and acculturation while his parents are of Iranian ancestry and have been denied Canadian citizenship. As a consequence of inadvertently entering American territory during an emergency landing in Puerto Rico, Kevin and his family are currently being held at the T. Don Hutto Immigrant Detention Center in Taylor, Texas.

All Canadian citizens [and any non-Canadian citizen who is interested in seeing justice done] should send an e-mail to Peter MacKay <""> demanding immediate action and urge your friends and colleagues to join you in this call for justice.

For further information, please go to Democracy Now! or Verbena19

On a related note, Texans United for Families organized a vigil in December 2006 to assert the dignity and humanity of the families detained at the Hutto Immigrant Detention Center. The Center is operated by Corrections Corporation of America, a private, for-profit prison. By its own admission, the center is one of the first institutions of its kind, able to hold entire families who have been detained at USA border entry points. [Not surprisingly, this raises a number of legal and moral issues.] Children are housed in cells with their parents until such time as the Department of Homeland Security arranges for their deportation, they are granted asylum, or they manage to secure a bond for their release. The children are provided with no more than one hour of school and recreation per day, and many have lost significant amounts of weight and suffered illness since their initial incarceration. [While I don't know a great deal about Texans United for Families, it is reassuring to see that some Texans are willing to, as the late Molly Ivins suggested, stand up against the surge.]

Watch the videos here:

A Vigil Outside the Hutto Detention Center by Texans United for Families, Part 1 [9:26]

A Vigil Outside the Hutto Detention Center by Texans United for Families, Part 2 [9:56]

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