On this blog, I welcome dissenting opinions as well as all comments and insights from readers, but I do expect dissenting opinions to be supported by some sort of evidence even if it’s only anecdotal. This is what I always required of my students when they composed argumentative essays and it should be the same in a forum such as this.

This week I’m presenting a comment I received from a reader who responded to last week’s post “Dispelling Myths About Migrantion.”

Wow so much emotional appeal, so little facts.
Being poor and brown does not qualify people for citizenship in any country, especially not the US. Caravanning and causing a huge scene is not how you achieve asylum. These people are not hungry, half of them are fat, they are not fleeing, they are living in a culture of violence which is completely different.
What’s next, should America boat in all 100 million people from the Philippines just because their own failed nation is plagued with violence and low wages? Get fucked.
FINISH THE WALL, DEPORT & BAN ALL ILLEGALS. American citizens (including the legal immigrants) do not want to pay for these people to move in and take up space and jobs especially while the country is already overpopulated (with low wage workers at that).
Democrat policies ruined America for decades and we’re tired of it, no more, the gig is up for “diversity” pushing leftists.

What isn’t clear is whether the writer was seriously expressing a personal opinion or just trying to get a reaction from me. Either way, here goes. Note the commentator’s words are all in brackets.

[Wow so much emotional appeal, so little facts.]

Read on to see the commentator’s unemotional, fact-filled insights. 😉

[Being poor and brown does not qualify people for citizenship in any country, especially not the US. Caravanning and causing a huge scene is not how you achieve asylum.]

I think you got the Fox News version of the story and didn’t bother to look any further. First, let’s get this out of the way. Not all people in Latin America are poor and brown. There are a lot of light skinned folks of Spanish ancestry, and while they tend to be wealthier and control power in Latin American countries, it isn’t at all unusual to run across a light-skinned poor person in this part of the world, so don’t assume 100% of those migrants now waiting south of the Mexican border are ‘brown-skinned’.

While it is the poor who are fleeing their Central American countries by walking for 2,700 miles to the US border, there are established US asylum laws in place–laws that Trump has sought to circumvent. If you don’t like established US law, then as a citizen it’s your right to protest and lobby your congressional representatives for changes. What you don’t have the right to do as an American citizen is to take away the rights of others. And, beware the slippery slope of removing the rights of others, because we can all be at risk if our laws are not respected, regardless of citizenship.

Why are these people traveling in caravans (large groups)? The simple answer to this is two fold: 1) Power in numbers: Common sense tells us that the more voices we add, the louder the cry will be. I’d say these mostly uneducated migrants are simply showing they possess the knowledge and skills needed to make such a journey. I’m not at all sure how well I’d do if I started out walking on a journey of 2,700 miles with very little money in my pockets.

2) Social Media: People all over the world have used social media to organize government protests and all manner of other gatherings. The groups who’ve traveled from Central America and are now in the Tijuana area of Mexico awaiting a US government response used social media to loosely organize themselves into larger groups due to the dangers of traveling alone on migration routes through Mexico. Many Mexicans have helped the recent migrant groups by supplying food and rides along the way, but just like in the USA and most other countries, there are groups in Mexico who don’t mind taking advantage of those who are weak and vulnerable. Again, there’s safety in numbers.

As for the storming of the border, an American friend of mine, who is on the ground in Mexico and has physically followed and worked to provide food for these groups ever since they crossed Mexico’s southern border, said the group that tried to enter the US illegally was indeed very small and not representative of the migrants in general. Check out her excellent blog, Camino Milagro, if you’d like to find out what’s really happening south of the border.

[These people are not hungry, half of them are fat, they are not fleeing, they are living in a culture of violence which is completely different.]

In the same way that not all immigrants have brown skin, not all ‘fat’ people are well-fed and strong. Then there’s the fact that hunger has little to do with how fat someone is. A ‘fat’ person who goes without food for a long period of time will definitely become hungry and eventually malnourished and weak long before they shed the extra pounds. Try asking one of your obese American friends or neighbors for confirmation on this one. Are you advocating withholding food from people based on body size?

Different from what? I doubt a single one of these migrants would disagree with your assessment that many Central Americans live in a culture of violence. The problem here is that you seem to placing responsibility for the creation of this culture of violence on the victims themselves. Do you feel personally responsible for everything your government does? Are you equally responsible for the violence–shootings etc–that take place in the USA on any given day? If not, then why would you blame these migrants for all the negativity that’s driven them out of their home countries?

Again, I’d suggest you read a variety of sources (especially research carried out by reputable organizations and academics) to learn more about the background of Latin American governments, the drug trade driven by demand from customers in the USA and the negative role American interference under the Reagan Administration played in destabilizing Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua during the 1980s. US foreign policy mistakes of that era along with the lure of getting a piece of the multi-billion dollar drug trade have played a pivotal role in creating the exodus we’ve witnessed from these countries over the past three decades.

Changing the conditions in neighboring countries isn’t going to happen until the US Government and it’s citizens wake up and accept their share of the blame for creating such conditions. It’s fantasy to think we can simply decree that poor Colombian farmers stop growing cocoa and all the associated problems will suddenly disappear. The cocaine produced from these leaves travels along various routes through Central America and adds greatly to the violence and insecurity in those countries.

The USA has long preached free market principles to the rest of the world and the drug trade is simply a matter of supply and demand. Eliminate the demand and the supply chain will crumble. The US government seems to operate on the principle that everyone else is to blame for their problems as well as those experienced by Americans. Such an unrealistic attitude doesn’t benefit Americans or those at whom the finger of blame is being pointed.

As a nation and a people, we need to start asking the hard questions about our own behavior and work WITH our neighbors to then resolve issues and disagreements. The US-led War on Drugs has wasted billions of dollars and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Colombia and Central America. Simply making decrees from some lofty position of power doesn’t necessarily change the results on the ground. This war has also separated American families and filled American prisons with non-violent individuals. Check out an analysis here by the libertarian Cato Institute.

[What’s next, should America boat in all 100 million people from the Philippines just because their own failed nation is plagued with violence and low wages? Get fucked.]

I don’t really understand the reference to the Philippines here. It isn’t the first country that comes to mind when I think of a ‘failed nation’, although poverty and violence exist there just as they do in a majority of the world’s countries, including the USA.

Wow, totally unemotional response. 🙂

[FINISH THE WALL, DEPORT & BAN ALL ILLEGALS. American citizens (including the legal immigrants) do not want to pay for these people to move in and take up space and jobs especially while the country is already overpopulated (with low wage workers at that).]

As for Trump’s WALL, do you really think this is going to solve the problem of illegal immigration in the USA?

According to Jeffrey Passel at the Pew Research Center, it’s likely that more than 40 percent of unauthorized immigrants in the US are visa over-stayers. Most of these people entered the USA through a major airport, so building a border wall would have not prevented their entry into the country. So, besides the estimated $20 billion in US taxpayer funds that could be applied to solving real American problems, the wall will not do what Trump or his supporters say it will do. Imagine using those funds to improve crumbling infrastructure, beefing up law enforcement, making our educational system a top priority, fully supporting our veterans who return from war zones or providing mental health care to broken individuals before they become mass shooters. Take your pick, there are SO many needs that are going unfunded and could use an infusion of $20 billion.

I remember traveling over land between Jordan on my way into Israel and I gasped when I saw the border wall the Israeli Government built through the occupied West Bank. I remember wondering to myself at the time if the money spent constructing such a monstrosity couldn’t have been put to a better use. But, building walls is all about shutting out the world’s problems rather than using our human intelligence and communication skills to resolve issues in a way that would benefit us all. Why have we allowed selfishness and division to dominate our natural human tendencies to peacefully work together and resolve disputes?

As for the USA being ‘overpopulated’, have you ever driven across your vast country–you know, from sea to shining sea? There’s a LOT of open space available, plus US farmers have always been pretty good at creating a surplus of food that’s mostly exported.

Now to jobs. Sorry, but you are definitely showing your ignorance by saying that immigrants are taking low-wage jobs away from the average American. We’re talking about people who do the jobs that the vast majority of white Americans would refuse to do. When I’m in the USA, I see Latinos doing manual labor–things like heavy construction, landscaping, farm labor and performing the lowliest of tasks in restaurants like busing tables and washing dishes. Last summer when I was in Seattle, my friends pointed out a number of long-established restaurants that had been forced to close because they couldn’t find enough employees. So clearly, the American economy is still creating more jobs than can be filled, especially these low-wage jobs you note.

Don’t blame low wages on immigrants. Economics is a complicated topic, especially when discussing a large and diversified economy such as the USA’s. The Pew Research Center names the prime suspects for the growth in the percentage of low wage jobs while higher wage jobs have been disappearing, and guess what, they don’t mention immigrants once in their summary. One thing that is clear is that America’s economic policies over the past 4 decades have had the effect of benefiting the rich far more than the poor or middle classes.

This is a problem that can only be resolved by changing government economic policies, not by eliminating immigration. If you look around the world, you’ll see that other countries such as Japan have actually harmed their economic growth by not allowing more immigrants to enter their country and workforce.

[Democrat policies ruined America for decades and we’re tired of it, no more, the gig is up for “diversity” pushing leftists.]

It isn’t clear which policies the commentator is referring to here and I don’t want to make assumptions. Democrats haven’t controlled power in the USA for ‘decades’. It’s been a back and forth game with Democratic administrations and then Republican administrations, as has been true with changing majorities in both parties controlling congress and the senate at various times. Quite honestly, I’m sick to death of all this Democrats and Republicans talk.

From my point of view, there’s enough fault to go around. We’re all to blame and let’s stop looking for someone else to blame. Immigrants are such an easy target since they’re often poor, disenfranchised and vulnerable.

“The gig is up”…what does that mean? You can call me a leftist or any other name you choose, but the facts remain the same. As a white, male, protestant American, I’m telling you that we are FAR outnumbered by people of darker skin on this planet. We’ve subjugated these people for centuries and that ‘gig’ is the one that’s up.

Diversity is the future and we can either embrace it and build coalitions that help us all survive (and even thrive), or we can build walls and sit behind them with our loaded guns, all the while acting like scared little children who are afraid someone is going to come and take away our toys. I choose to face reality and work for the betterment of all humankind.

How about you?

peace~henry

Posted by Henry Lewis

Unconventional artist, writer, videographer and teacher. Personal Quote: It isn't easy being me ;-)

32 Comments

  1. Great article and you read my mind and probably the minds of many others.

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  2. Well said, Henry, and, as a brown-skin legal immigrant from a former British colony in the Caribbean Region, I thank you.

    I agree when you say: “From my point of view, there’s enough fault to go around. We’re all to blame and let’s stop looking for someone else to blame. Immigrants are such an easy target since they’re often poor, disenfranchised and vulnerable.”

    With climate change disruption already underway, it’s even more imperative that we-humans “face reality and work for the betterment of all humankind.” No wall, whatever its thickness and height, will protect us from Nature’s fury and ecological collapse.

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    1. Thanks for sharing those words Rosaliene. I welcome dissenting points of view to this blog but would like to be challenged by evidence instead of attacked a is far too often the case in today’s polarized landscape. I simply don’t see anything but wasted money and continued suffering for everyone by building more barriers between societies that inextricably linked regardless of acknowledgement from a certain vocal minority in the US.

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  3. I’m still horrified that someone even wrote to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. I like the fact that someone wants to express a dissenting point of view, but doing it in an adult way would be far more helpful–as opposed to the spoiled 5-year old reactions we get from Trump supporters. Thanks H&R!

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      1. That’s exactly what I meant. Merry Christmas.

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      2. Merry Christmas to you and all those you love as well!

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    1. Thanks Ken! I don’t expect to change anyone’s point of view with my posts; people seem far too entrenched in their political positions at the moment. However, I do expect facts and evidence of why someone disagrees. I feel like American school systems, parents and the general culture at large are doing a terrible job of teaching young folks to be adults these days.

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  4. Well said- factual , rational and totally unemotional – your response,

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    1. Thanks Dracul…it’s isn’t always easy to put away emotion to which your many characters can attest. 😉

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      1. ROTFL ! 😂

        You’ve analyzed my characters very well, Henry.

        Because when I was reading your response and how calm and rational it was, I was thinking of those Good Cop, Bad Cop scenes with suspects in the interrogation room in those old movies and TV shows.

        And the first thought that came to mind reading your response was you were the Good Cop in the room with this particular dissenting reader of yours.

        And I was imagining in my mind what it would be like if he rejected what you said and then my character Renfield R. Renfield in the role of the bad cop entered the room.

        Because after missing a few toes and fingers and other body parts removed by Renfield in the most painful manner imaginable, no doubt he would be longing for the “one brief shining moment of Camelot” of your calm rational approach.

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      2. Yes, good cop, that’s me for sure 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. So glad the dissenting reader gave you this opportunity to shine and explain each point so well. I enjoyed reading it. Felices fiestas, Rebecca

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    1. Thank you Rebecca. Feliz Navidad!

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      1. Igualmente! Feliz Navidad, Henry!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. A thorough and powerful retort Henry. I shudder at the growing inward looking nationalism so visible in the US and other countries. Here in Belgium the Prime Minister has resigned because of opposition to the UN Migrant Pact that he was agreeing to. So here too the right wing is strengthening its position with a priority on “its own people”. Same with the UK and brexit, where the facts were as non-existent as in your respondent’s diatribe.

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    1. Hi Denzil,

      Yes, xenophobia seems to be spreading like the plague it is these days. Thanks so much for adding your insights to the discussion!

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  7. Great point-by-point response. In retrospect, “Amanda” did us all a great favour by arousing that response from you. I am “generally” quite aware of the political conditions in much of Latin America but you reminded me of many salient points in it. Thank you.

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    1. Hi Sha’Tara,
      I’m continuing my own education in Latin America. Thanks for reading commenting!

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    1. Thanks so much Antony!

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  8. Whenever a topic arises, I listen. Common sense and our constitution comes to mind here. To me, and many others, it makes sense that a country knows who is coming in. In this day and age, with all the drugs coming in, the terrorists using the open door policy which goes against our own laws, and the criminals coming through not to mention so many who do not understand our laws and constitution, how our country came to be, and cannot integrate with English unlearned, it makes sense that we enforce the very laws in the books. I have family that are immigrants. They applied and are now citizens. We know that many immigrants are well-thoughtful people, but they must come in legally, or their very first action is not respecting our laws. Yes, we need to improve our immigration system. For those seeking asylum, for those ready to work hard, we need to make improvements. Otherwise, what are we teaching the citizens and those wanting to come here?

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    1. Hi @dolphinwrite,

      I agree there must be rules and the USA does have immigration laws in place that should be enforced. New immigrants should go through a vetting process. What I was arguing against is Trump’s use of the ‘politics of fear’–labeling all immigrants as drug dealers, terrorists, rapists and murderers. The USA should be working WITH its neighbors in Latin America to strengthen their own economies and ensure fair governance which is the only realistic way to deter immigration from that region.

      I’ve lived and worked in many countries around the world and I’ve observed both the good and the bad in the way others deal with their own immigration issues. I clearly don’t believe an expensive wall on the southern border of the USA is going to make a significant difference in whether ‘bad hombres’ infiltrate the USA. It’s a mere distraction being used by the Trump administration to divert the attention of citizens from American’s more important issues such as climate change, the growing inequality between rich and poor and a health care system that’s so outrageously expensive that it’s driving middle class Americans to seek treatment outside the USA.

      Thanks for writing and expressing your thoughts!

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      1. Just one thing. He never labelled all immigrants, but in fact, shared that many come with good intentions though they must go through legal channels. It’s the media that rewrites his words. We all need to be careful when others restate or provide words out of context. I always go to the source.

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  9. Trump speaks through many channels and cannot be evaluated by the same yardstick as any other American politician in my lifetime, and I’m 65. He is constantly contradicting himself as he can’t remember what lie he told previously.

    It is my belief that his intention is to try to convince Americans that immigrants IN GENERAL (which is why I used the word ‘all’) pose an eminent threat to their way of life and very survival. Wake up. Trump is a con man with no good intentions toward anyone but himself and his blood relatives.

    I read the widest possible variety of both domestic and international media, plus I have contacts/friends all across the USA and in a variety of foreign countries where I’ve lived and worked. I don’t depend on CNN, Fox or any other single media outlet or website to convince me of something that is clear based on all the false statements and irrational behavior of Donald Trump.

    On the contrary, I think it is safe to assume that anything that comes out of his mouth is a lie at this point.

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  10. I listen carefully and know the principles necessary for a successful country. I often give a wide berth when I hear cliches and catch phrases. Then I know real objective thinking is a necessary part of any real discussion. I remember asking for specific examples from a couple of people, but the cliches, catch phrases, and borrowed ideas kept coming. So I thanked them for their time and went on my merry way.

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    1. My entire life has been based on asking questions and seeking answers. I haven’t followed anyone else’s path, only the one I stumble down on a daily basis. I also listen carefully and then examine the words I hear and read to see if they ring true in that personal core I developed growing up in a caring, kind and generous Christian family in the American South.

      I form my own opinions based on that upbringing plus all the experiences I’ve had as an adult living and working in multiple regions of the USA plus half a dozen developing countries from East Asia to the Middle East and now Latin America. In each place, I study the culture, people and way of life and compare those aspects to what I see happening in the USA where my wonderful family and dearest friends still live.

      While I don’t profess to have all the answers, I do trust in my core principles of empathy for others and personal responsibility for myself and my actions. We should hold our leaders to those same high standards, whether they be Democrats, Republicans or Independents.

      Thanks for being part of the conversation.

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  11. I am just shocked by the comment left on one of the other of your post! I fear that there are more people to think this way nova days than having an open mind and knowledge and, most important, compasions.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Anna. It seems that with the rise of technology, we humans are losing some of our most important social skills.

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  12. One thing that we can’t do is stop progress. That’s history. Change is a fact of life. So, we can encourage real communication by example and offering other venues of interest. This takes time.

    Liked by 1 person

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