March 16, 2012

Immigration: Who Should be Concerned About It?

Editor's Note: This is the English translation of Leticia's 3.16.12 blog post.

The United States cannot be indifferent to the effects of immigration; migratory movements have influenced this country since its founding. These groups of people have come from everywhere, creating a social structure very peculiar and different, creating groups of population based in racial and cultural characteristics rather than a socioeconomic structure.

The rejection of immigrants is also something old in this country and in many occasions is used to "demonize" Americans whom do not like illegal immigration. However, it is a reality all over the world, people in many places reject immigrants and immigrants can be seen as a threat when they feel that strangers “invade" their territory. In the Colonial times, the citizens of the new nation already rejected the newcomers: Benjamin Franklin feared that the arrival of German immigrants could destroy the language and the traditions of the United States, a new-born country.

Since then, including the immigration movement from Asia in the 19th century or the European in the beginning of the 20th century and up to our days, immigrants coming from Latin-American (mostly Mexicans and Central American), were part of the review made by Carlos Diaz during a seminar sponsored by the Institute for Theological Education and the Ministry (IMTE). The event included experiences of most recent immigrants - including myself - and also it allowed answering questions of many people born in United States.

“Is the immigration part of our lives?” was a seminar held in the Church Christ Church in Norcross, GA. It was also an opportunity to share experiences of recent immigrants - including the writer - and also allowed us to delve deeper into the curiosity of those who were born in United States, who had no notion of the realities of the country immigration policies, outdated and ineffective. Carlos Diaz while not technically an immigrant (he was born in Puerto Rico and therefore a US citizen), culturally is a Hispanic immigrant. It is a curious dichotomy but which is part of the reality of many in this country. In the past twenty years, Carlos has worked in communication and media for Latin America, platform development that includes several years working for CNN in Spanish. A Yale graduate, he has a MBA from the Harvard Business School and studied two years of theological education at the Andover Newton School of Theology. 

The historical reference submitted by Díaz reflects that the struggle for the establishment of immigrants in the U.S. is older than many knew and also very convenient, because immigration is now a political debate in several States seeking to establish local immigration laws to restrict and control the flow of illegal immigrants, especially that this - 2012 - it is an election year. He was also the first to call for action in the Episcopal Church, Atlanta Diocese, to educate on an issue so controversial.

Click here to return to the Spanish language version of this blog post.