Thursday, July 26, 2007

Immigration reform

The history of the idea of immigration reform in the US is basically a history of applied racism and class bias.

My mother's experience with an FBI raid on a Kansas farmhouse is an example of an ethnic form of racism towards immigrants -- German's simply were not to be trusted. She worked with the US Army as a translator from 1945 (when she was 18) to 1948 (when she married an American soldier). At one time she even spent some time alone in a room with Eisenhower. Once she was in the US she followed the immigration laws diligently. Almost all the evidence pointed towards her being someone who followed the law.

The only negative thing on her record was childhood membership in Hitler Youth which had been investigated by the US Army before my father was allowed to marry her. She did have one Uncle who had been an early member of the Nazi Party but he became disillusioned and left the party in 1938.

But all the evidence that she was an honest, law-abiding immigrant was not nearly as important as the fact that she her cultural background was German, not American. That was the only evidence needed to justify an FBI raid on her home.

As for the three native born Texans targeted in that raid, well, there were associating with a Known German.

That's the kind of thinking that too often drives our immigration policy.

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