Sunday, April 18, 2010

America: Only For White Immigrants? By Deidre

I am planning on going to Mexico next spring through this social work program, so I have been very interested with Mexico/USA relations. Today I heard something interesting while I was at work. An American man was murdered in Arizona by an illegal Mexican immigrant. So of course many people got angry at border patrol policies. Now people are putting up more fences on the Mexican border. Currently, there are hundreds of miles along the border that have no fence or security. The fences that they are putting up in some areas now look kind of like barn fences; made of a couple of planks and about three feet tall.
I have heard numerous comments and conversations throughout my life of people saying there needs to be more border patrol, but only on the Mexican border. This recent rush of new fences has made me think a lot about American opinions. I have never heard anyone say there needs to be more border patrol on the US/Canada border. Why is it that no one really cares who goes to or comes from Canada? Is this because most Canadians are white? Is it because the people of Mexico are, on average, poorer than the people of Canada? And why are Canadians considered American after only one generation, but Mexicans are always considered Mexican-American now matter how many generations of their ancestors have lived here?
There are also frequent comments such as “Mexicans take American jobs!” With this statement, I wonder many things. Why does no one say, “Canadians take American jobs!” or “British people take American jobs!” This brings me back to what we have talked about in class and read about in numerous articles. Does being “American” really mean “white”?
I don’t think so many people should be concerned about the Mexican border; after all, we are all people. All people deserve to live where they choose, isn’t that the American Dream? Or is that just the White Dream?


  1. In one sense I agree with you that immigration policy is often skewed in favor of white or European immigrants. On the other hand, the number of Mexican people immigrating to the United States is much greater than the number of Canadians attempting to immigrate and because of this the Mexican border policies are more of an issue. I think you are correct in asserting that it is probably much easier for a Canadian to travel in and out of the United States. We have learned in our time here that the process of gaining even a travel visa is expensive and difficult for the majority of Mexicans. Because the legal process of attaining a visa is so costly and time consuming, many Mexicans do choose to cross the border illegally for a number of reasons. Most of the undocumented workers we have met here have crossed the border solely to provide for their families while maintaining a desire to return home to their spouses, children, homes, and communities. I believe the attempt to thwart this effort with a fence is ignoring the issue. Rather than putting up fences, I think the U.S. and Mexico need to seriously look at their policies that are forcing people to take treacherous measures to seek out sometimes risky and low paying jobs in the United States. Should we reexamine the economic policies that are causing extreme poverty, we might be able to address the root cause of the issue.
    -Hannah MacDougall

  2. Throughout my time her in Mexico I have heard many stories and differing opinions on migration and immigration. I agree with both Deidre and Hannah, immigration and migration are both looked at in a brighter light if those whom are crossing the boarder are White or European. However, as Hannah stated there are more people from Mexico and South America trying to enter the United States than from Canada. As a class we watched a video called "Wetback: Documentary" where it talked about how approximately 3,000 people from Latin America and South America try to cross the boarder illegally daily. Granted I don’t have the statistics for those coming from Canada but my guess would be the number is much less.
    I also agree with what Hannah stated about the process of getting a visa; however, I also believe one has to look at the larger societies within each of the two countries, Canada and Mexico. Within each society there are problems with unemployment, however currently and in the past Mexico’s economy hasn't been able to support the majority of its citizens with enough cash inflow to support their family. This economic crisis leads Mexican citizens to risk their lives immigrating to the United States where they can find jobs. These jobs might be of low income; however, in the USA they can make enough money to live in apartments and send remittances home to support their families.
    With all the information I have received while living here in Mexico, I have come to the conclusion that the “American Dream” is really only available to those that are White. Granted there are some non-white families that do achieve the “American Dream” but this dream seems far away for many. It is unfortunate that this is the reality; however, if you ask people around Mexico and even people in the United States this is what many see happening in society. My only question is how has this become the reality of the United States, weren’t we a country who glorified ourselves on the fact we were a diverse, immigrant nation?

  3. I agree in some aspects of your blog. I do believe that people can easily point out a person of color and say that "those" people are taking jobs away from American citizens. However, there is no way one can compare Mexican Immigrants to Canadian Immigrants. There is a booming population of Latinos in the United States that is growing daily, and instead of building a fence there should be policies set in place that actually work for the people. From my experience here in Cuernavaca, going on three months, I have heard time and time again that people would come to the US legally, but the policies currently prevent honest, hardworking individuals from entering the US. Instead of talking about the differences of race the politics need to be addressed as well.

  4. As a bleeding heart, the issue of immigration saddens me. I want to be able to let everybody in! The problem is that we can't! We aren't so strict about the Canadian border because the quality of life overall is just as good if not better in Canada depending on who you ask. The people of Mexico on the other hand are crossing the borders searching for not only a better life but for a way to keep their families alive. While I do not agree with comments such as "they take our American jobs", I do see what a disaster America would become if everyone was let in. Think about it, if anybody that was searching for "the American Dream" or just needed some clean water and food was let in...this place would be a disaster! As is we have homeless people in need here. Now, the issue of white America is a whole different topic. I realize that in many ways we do discriminate when letting people into this country. I'm just speaking from the perspective of an immigration policy that attempts to keep the American population under control. And, yes, in my mind the American population consists of all racial and ethnic backgrounds. As American's we all came from somewhere.