This is part two of a five part series on countering myths about undocumented immigrants. For other posts in this series, select from the following: part one (Il/legal). Check back for part three (Workplace Abuses); part four (Deportation); and part five (Telling Our Own Story).
Some say immigrants bring disease. This accusation has been leveled at immigrants for over a century:
“The Irish were charged with bringing cholera to the United States in 1832. Later the Italians were stigmatized for polio. Tuberculosis was called the ‘Jewish disease.’ . . . . Asians were portrayed as feeble and infested with hookworm, Mexicans as lousy, and eastern European Jews as vulnerable to trachoma, tuberculosis, and—a favorite ‘wastebasket’ diagnosis of nativists in the early 1900s—‘poor physique.’” Source.
The USA seems to have survived many waves of immigration despite these fears – our current low standing on world health scores is due entirely to crummy policy. The news media haven’t yet blamed our epidemic of prescription drug abuse on immigrants, but no doubt some blogger somewhere is making that claim.
This is part one of a five part series on countering myths about undocumented immigrants. Stay tuned for upcoming posts: part two (Contagion); part three (Workplace Abuses); part four (Deportation); and part five (Telling Our Own Story).
Lots of people complain that immigrants who come here without visas or who overstay their visas are breaking the law and should be punished. Folks are rightly concerned when we think the system is rigged, when it seems some people can scoff at the rules while the rest of us have to abide by them. With regard to immigrants, the common assumption is that there is a clear legal path to immigration and that folks should just “get in line” and “wait their turn.” However, this assumption overlooks several important facts.
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
Over the course of the spring 2016 session of the General Assembly, in anticipation of a vote on Tuition Equality in the Tennessee House, AKIN convened a working group of people of faith to try to make sure that area representatives heard from faith leaders supportive of Tuition Equality. Eventually two letters were circulated within local faith circles. The texts were similar, with one speaking from a Christian perspective and the other from an interfaith perspective. Together the letters were signed by ninety faith leaders from Knoxville and surrounding communities, from a range of different denominations and faith traditions, people who live and worship in many legislative districts across our area. The letters were sent to over a dozen members of the Tennessee House.
Many students are presently locked out, with dreams on hold — Each year, undocumented students graduate from Tennessee high schools with hopes of continuing their education and starting a career that benefits our state and strengthens our communities. However, no matter how long they have lived in Tennessee or what their potential is, undocumented Tennessee students must pay out-of-state rates that often total more than three times the tuition their in-state classmates pay to attend a public college or university—even if they meet the same residency requirements as their peers. For many this barrier is insurmountable.