Saturday, May 22, 2010

Clean Up the Toy Room (and immigration)

Often when I ask my kids to clean they toy room, one of them will sit in the couch, arms crossed, and claimed that she has already cleaned out all "her" toys, and the remaining ones are all her brother's. In the annoying role of a parent, I try to point a few things:
1) the toy room is still a mess
2) who the toys "belong" to doesn't automatically reveal who has been playing with them
3) by the nature of how toys are acquired, property isn't always a clear cut affair (i.e. many toys belong to BOTH brother and sister)

When it comes to immigration, the one thing on which there is nearly universal agreement in the United States that our current system isn't working--"broken" is the most used adjective, no matter the perspective. The toy room is a mess. The disagreement comes in how to clean it up. However we do, we must recognize some of those same annoying details above:
1) the system is still broken--and unlike a messy toy room, its state does threaten the well being and very life of many
2) where people "belong" (i.e. where their citizenship is) doesn't automatically reveal who has been benefiting from their work and labor. when it comes to many of those who work in the United States without proper documentation, both their countries of origin and the United States has and does benefit from their labor.
3) by the nature of being human, "belonging" isn't always a clear cut affair--the vast majority of those who are undocumented are related, fall in love, or are otherwise connected to both documented immigrants and citizens in the United States

We are deeply interconnected and must always remember--as the discussions get heated--that we are talking about human beings, and not toys...