Above: [Image Source]
I find it interesting that the 2014 World Cup, which has reached a record number of viewers, is being played amidst an immigration crisis in the United States. The timing is almost poetic. As we Americans begin to embrace a world sporting event, one which in the past we have been basically apathetic to, we are also pushing back the influx of immigrant children crossing our borders.
While political pundits may ridiculously describe both events as Obama plots (World Cup Plot, Immigration Plot), the real connection is that they illustrate how little most Americans understand and appreciate the world and the other cultures that inhabit it. This is so very ironic for the United States of America with the Statue of Liberty as one of its national symbol, one which not only welcomes immigration, but basically invites it.
It has been considered amazing that the 2014 World Cup has been so popular within the United States because in the past is has been seen as an event which didn’t really concern most Americans. We participated as a nation but it seemed more obligatory than anything else. Soccer or futbol to the rest of the world, was seen as a sport of other countries; we Americans have football. So why the sudden interest in a foreign sport, especially when we as a country seem so resistant to foreigners in general?
The truth is that over the years soccer has been slowly making cultural in-roads, with the help of celebrities like David Beckham, who have transformed soccer from something, that in America, little kids play until they pick a real American sport, to a sport we Americans are now curious on a professional level. The result of this slow change, from unfamiliar (foreign) to familiar and curious is that this year, the World Cup was on almost every screen, in nearly ever American’s mind and heart, uniting us with the rest of the world. Now if we could only leverage that unity when it comes to immigration…
Americans may still admire Lady Liberty as a national symbol but as the immigration crisis illustrates, many do not share the sentiments it represents. So what has changed? In my opinion it is education pure and simple. In America, there is a general discomfort with anything “foreign” but few really understand how “foreign” America already is. They reject cultures as foreign that are already integrated deeply in our country for generations. We forget that all Americans, except for Native Americans, are immigrants themselves. Lastly we are misinformed about the certainty of a negative impact fromimmigration on our country and our economy.
Immigration is a complex issue I do understand.et I still feel that we need to open our minds and resist the urge to close off to anything foreign. First we need to recognize how many cultures make up America and accept that this country is not one race, one language, one religion or one culture. That all theses cultures can thrive within the laws and ideals of the United States of America.
Reading the Koran or speaking Spanish does not make you any less American, than being a Democrat versus a Republican.
We are a a country of diversity, the classic phrase of “melting pot” so our first step is to reacquaint our selves with this principle, to realize what our country really is. This will help reduce the fear of new people entering our shores. Canada opened their minds years ago when it comes to immigration and they have benefited.
Then we have to decide what to do, especially with this current crisis of children. I know there are children in our own country who are suffering so there has been some who have questioned how we can help these immigrant children when our own children need help too. But this argument is debunked in two ways:
- No one is actually presenting a plan to help America’s children and those resources would instead be diverted to immigrant children instead
- This Bernie Sanders quote:
In 2007, “the top 1 percent of all income earners in the United States made 23.5 percent of all income,” which is “more than the entire bottom 50 percent.”
Which means that we already have the money in this country to help our own children and the immigrants but the 1% just doesn’t want to share it.
So what do we do about those that want to come in? And while you are thinking that over, ask yourself what do we do about those who are already here, the undocumented ones, especially those who have been here for years, paid taxes and benefited the economy?
What does it really mean to be American anyway?
- Does it mean you have to be born here?
- Do your parent have to be born here?
- Do documents make you American?
- Does desire make you American?
- Does your contribution make you American?
I am not a lawmaker but I think Canada’s model is a good one to follow. Just open the borders and let everyone come in. Make this country competitive again. But I know that won’t happen so at the very least we need to create some standards that are across the board when it comes to immigration. As my own experience indicates, it should be harder to immigrate legally than illegally for one. Additionally, we need to recognize that the desire to immigrate to the United States is not bad, that they are not bad people looking for a life of ease but rather people trying to do the best for their families, the same ethic we Americans believe in too. We are more alike than we realize.
We are one world as the World Cup clearly demonstrates but now we need to start being a part of the world by opening up to what is different and new, considering what America really is instead of what we are trying to force it to be and act from compassion instead of fear.