The Modern Day U.S. Slave


While most Americans spent this past weekend focused on memorials of the tragedy of 9/11, the gringa found herself getting educated at a prison protest Saturday on the anniversary of the Attica Uprising 45 years ago.  I’ll give you a rundown of a bit of history and then share some details of today’s U.S. prisons that shocked the gringa when she came to a fuller understanding.

Attica Maximum Security Correctional Facility, New York, September 9, 1975

  • 1,281 prisoners take over D yard, an exercise field.
  • 39 prison employees & guards are held hostage.
  • 13 state police & prison officers launch a raid.
  • During the raid 10 hostages & 29 prisoners are killed, 89 seriously injured

Why did this happen? Frustration over deplorable living conditions:

  • Overcrowding
  • Censorship of mail
  • 1 weekly shower
  • 1 single roll of toilet paper for an entire month (the gringa goes through a single roll PER DAY)

Personal perspective of the prisoners began to change in the radicalized climate of the late 60’s and early 70’s. They began to see themselves as political prisoners rather than just convicted criminals. After all, isn’t our nation’s law enforcement, judicial and prison systems highly politicized? Aren’t convicted criminals often used as political pawns? Of course they are. And Attica’s inmates decided it was time to participate in the political system the only way a disenfranchised citizen can, through radical, attention getting protest.

Once the more than 2,000 inmates mobilized, a riot quickly ensued that included beating guards, acquiring weapons of any sort, and torching the chapel. One guard was thrown out a second-story window after a beating and died from his injuries days later. As state police struggled to regain control of the prison, D yard became the final scene of the showdown with a hostage situation that lasted four long days.

The prisoners requested U.S. Representative Herman Badillo to lead negotiations and offered their list of demands:

  • Improved living conditions.
  • Religious freedom.
  • No more censorship of personal mail.
  • More phone privileges.
  • Amnesty for prisoners in D Yard.
  • Safe passage to a non-imperialist country for any who desired to go.

Although negotiations were on-going and none of the hostages were being harmed, Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller mobilized hundreds of state troopers and the National Guard which all soon descended upon the prison. Civilian observers who were present were dismayed by the Governor’s overt show of force and asked for him to personally appear as a sign of good faith. Rockefeller refused. Instead he gave the order for an act of force that resulted in a massive and tragic loss of life. The gringa thinks this was totally unnecessary and quite typical of the cowboy mentality that seems to take hold of the wrong kind of people who come into positions of power over other people.

Many would argue that strong leadership means being forceful and making a powerful display of strength and authority when challenged. The gringa disagrees. When in a role of managing the care of fellow human beings, even if they are convicted criminals, a strong leader must be a wise and humble benefactor. Human beings are complicated creatures with complex needs. Rockefeller was wrong to do what he did. Going in with guns blazing is absolutely the wrong approach to solve any crisis where human lives are at stake.

Rather than continue negotiations Rockefeller demanded the inmates’ surrender. They responded to his challenge by holding knives to the throats of their hostages. In short order 3,000 rounds of bullets tore through clouds of tear gas and killed not only inmates, but one fourth of the hostages. Emergency medical responders testified that some of the prisoners were shot and killed as they lie on the ground after surrendering or being wounded.

In light of this disastrous plan implemented by New York’s governor, Rockefeller tried to deflect blame with false stories fed to the press that the inmates had slit the throats of the hostages and even castrated one. Rockefeller was either extremely ignorant or extremely arrogant if he thought autopsy reports would not expose his lies. There was an eventual Congressional investigation into this cover-up and frame job of the inmates as brutal executioners.

The final aftermath of the Attica riot has reserved its place in history as the worst prison riot the United States has ever seen:

  • 43 people killed.
  • Weeks of reprisals against prisoners with torturous treatment involving nightsticks, broken glass and other measures.
  • Substandard medical treatment if it was administered at all.
  • $2.8 billion class-action lawsuit filed by 1,281 prisoners against Attica & state officials.
  • $8 million awarded to prisoners in 2000 & divided among 500 inmates.
  • By accepting death benefit checks or paychecks, prison officers & their survivors unknowingly forfeited their right to sue the state for its debacle of a rescue plan.

Today’s Prisons

The gringa can’t speak on behalf of prisons in every state, but will share two distinct and troubling characteristics of prisons in her home state of Texas:

  • Prisoners are expected to work for zero pay & can expect retribution if they refuse, often being placed in solitary confinement.
  • Prisoners must pay a $100 co-pay in order to receive medical treatment.

The gringa is struck by many shocking conclusions upon becoming aware of these facts:

  • A for-profit prison system benefitting from productivity from enslaved Americans creates a society where there are incentives in place for the justice system to generate as many arrests and convictions as possible.
  • The common thread among prisoners is financial status. Whereas the slaves of America’s past were defined by race, today’s slaves are defined by lacking the funds to launch an aggressive legal defense, which still results in minorities being over-represented in U.S. prison populations.
  • By targeting the poor as easy to imprison & profit from, a capitalist society is further growing the impoverished slave class by fracturing families and extracting breadwinners. The fractured family is further burdened by creating a single parent who needs to provide for herself, her children and her imprisoned loved one who, because enslaved and performing prison labor without pay, cannot provide for his commissary needs. The loved one on the outside must also pay for their imprisoned loved one’s toothpaste, socks, toilet paper, medical care, etc.
  • The ugly laws of the 1920s, designed by America’s elite class to rid public streets of the unsightliness of undesirables by criminalizing behaviors typical to impoverished people, have simply been reinstated through various other laws that target the poor American.

The gringa has no solutions. I have only just now had my eyes opened to the complexity of this disturbing issue. Like a good, little patriot I have been conditioned by my society to believe it is acceptable that prisoners should have, at the very least, an uncomfortable time of it. I have also been conditioned to believe that complaints by prisoners are always a con job, they are simply not to be trusted. However, by conditioning Americans to ignore the plight of prisoners, capitalists have been empowered to pursue policies that have targeted the weakest among us in order to create a slave class they can profit from.

The gringa heard the story of one mother who was visiting her 19 year-old son on the one day weekly he is able to see his loved ones. I listened in horror as she told me a tale that could have happened to my own son. A tale of a teenager arranging to purchase some expensive sneakers he had seen online. However, when he met the individuals to exchange his money for the shoes, they took his money and basically ran. It was a scam. Incensed, he tracked down the individuals and gave them a beat down to get the shoes he had paid for. He was charged not just with assault, but also with robbery. Being high end sneakers, the sale price constituted a felony. This young man was facing 8-25 years of hard time and having to place his trust in a court appointed attorney. Unlike many others like her son, this mother was very fortunate to work out a deal with a youth program yet he will still serve 6 months in prison that will certainly be a harrowing experience that will change him forever. Because he beat up a con artist and took back his shoes.

Might an affluent teenager with a hotshot lawyer have gotten off with a fine and probation or perhaps even an aquittal? It’s highly likely. However,  a low-income, minority teen is advised by a court appointed attorney to work out a plea deal, securing, at the very least, 6 months of free labor for a capitalist prison system model to profit from. And the young and strong are who the for-profit systems want for slave labor. Even a minimal sentence is a good thing for prison profiteers. It increases the chances that a 6 month slave will return for a longer stint of labor in the future. The system is ensuring that as much of the poverty rabble as possible is kept off of America’s streets and enslaved for the profit of corporations. This is outrageous.

What is the interest of a court appointed attorney who takes on a case for free? His interest is to get the case over with as soon as possible so he can get back to jobs that pay. This is not justice. Consider just a few very telling statistics and see if the gringa is right when she says that the United States should be very ashamed:

  • U.S. population of nearly 320 million.
  • In 2014 more than 2 million Americans were in prison & nearly 5 million were on probation or parole.
  • 1 in 5 prisoners are convicted of a drug related offense.
  • The underprivileged are disproportionately imprisoned, marked by the following factors: income status, race, & level of education.

The gringa does not believe any of this is an accident. Re-designing prisons as modern day plantations is purposeful. In 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed. This had an incredible economic impact for bad or good depending on where a person stood. For minorities it was an economic boon, finally having their right to equal job opportunity and equal pay protected. For businesses that had enjoyed the freedom to pay as little as they pleased to minorities, they suffered. Imbittered, it did not take long for American businesses to devise a work around.

Within 7 years President Nixon announced the U.S. War on Drugs. Within another 7 years America’s prison systems were privatized to deal with exploding prison populations as a result of the War on Drugs. A war that has been effectively proven to disproportionately incarcerate poor, non-violent, drug offenders that are more of a threat to themselves than society, and most are capable of complete rehabilitation. American business preserved their slave class despite the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Act. And it continues today.

Although the average citizen is conditioned to point the finger at inmates for their less than humane living conditions, what of the creators and enforcers who have the power and resources to implement change that would be decidedly better? What about other first world countries who are successful with humane, rehabilitative prison systems that are minimally populated and experience extremely low rates of returning inmates?

The gringa believes this is all by design as well. By creating and enforcing conditions that dehumanize even a non-violent drug offender who originally was no real threat to the public at large, for-profit prisons can damage a human so badly that person is incapable of living successfully and independently as a free man or woman. They ensure their slave workforce by intentionally designing living conditions that psychologically ruin a human being’s ability to ever have healthy emotional and working relationships. In the gringa’s opinion, this places every prison official in the category of guilt of crimes against humanity. And it seems that the United Nations agrees with the gringa, making it very clear that the United States is not living up to UN standards of humane treatment of incarcerated peoples.

I urge my dear readers who are as alarmed and as concerned as the gringa to use whatever is your gift or talent to help bring about awareness and change. The U.S. model of how criminals are dealt with is barbaric. No other civilized, first world nation operates in such a way. Human beings that are poor, or of the wrong ethnicity, are considered disposable in the United States. You only get one chance and if you make a mistake and end up in the prison system, there is no rehabilitation, only living conditions that reduce human beings to their basest instincts for survival. U.S. imprisonment is modern day slavery that creates a social stigma that prevents any success once free, only recidivism just to survive, where a person is then guaranteed a return to the plantation.

The gringa has provided below some video and photos from the rally.

Chants of the protestors:

Judy Kotun who told me the story of her 19 year-old son:

Samsung
Samsung

 

Sources:

www.history.com

www.prisonpolicy.org

Incarceration on Wikipedia

www.bloomberg.com

stanford.edu

www.un.org

Image Credit: tse1.mm.bing.net

 

 

 

Trump – Connect The Dots


The gringa likes to steer clear of controversial politics. However, after researching Donald Trump’s candidacy for almost 12 months now, I feel compelled to share. Although all the candidates for the US presidency have their fair share of baggage and issues, I sincerely believe Donald is the only one who threatens to cause irreparable damage to my nation as well as to other countries around the world. So, while some candidates may be troublesome, Donald is downright dangerous.

This election season is historical and a struggle for the heart of our nation. Donald’s bigotry is dangerous. Those who deny this are: A. Right wing extremists who are trained in the art of subversion and misinformation; or B. Average folk who really don’t want to destroy their country but are caught up in the celebrity of Donald and doing nothing more than believing everything he says. This post is for those people in the hopes that it will open their eyes. To see the outline of Donald the white supremacist in chief, one only has to connect the dots.

Over the past year I have been going toe-to-toe with Donald supporters, dispelling and exposing their concerted efforts to recruit through misinformation campaigns. I have been threatened with rape, beheading, bombing, dismemberment and any other imaginable form of torture and murder, along with my loved ones. Although the gringa finds this disturbing, it only confirms my belief in the truth I will share, truth Donald supporters either don’t want to admit or don’t want to see the light of day. So, get comfortable. You are in for a long read, almost 4,000 words.

If you are a Donald supporter and become incensed by what I publish and feel the need to insult or threaten me, it’s no big deal to this gal. I’ve heard it all before. Besides, I am a direct descendant of a Mississippi Klansmen, my maternal great-grandfather, and have dealt with just about any insult you could throw my way. I will ignore your insults just as I have ignored that side of my family for years. Truth matters more.

Begin At The Beginning – Donald’s Early Years

Donald’s father, Frederick Christ Trump, was arrested in May, 1927. He was a KKK Klansmen participating in a “Fascisti” riot targeting Catholic New York City Police officers. Trump was arrested for assaulting New York City police officers. Arrested with him were fellow KKK Klansmen: John E. Kapp, John Marcy, Fred Lyons, Thomas Caroll, Thomas Erwin, and Harry J. Free. The arrest was reported in the June 1, 1927 edition of the New York Times as well as many other newspapers. Trump got off with a not guilty plea which is not surprising. One strategy of the hoods Klansmen hide behind is so that legally they can offer up a defense of no proper identification available as to their involvement in the crime.

Donald’s father enjoyed the power and benefits of KKK membership in an America that had not yet passed the Civil Rights Act (passage in 1964). This is the era where a young Donald, born in 1946, was raised and conditioned, being prepped to one day take over his father’s empire. A teenage Donald would have witnessed his KKK father’s reactions to Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Park’s famous bus ride, marches, protests and the riots and unrest associated with desegregation. The gringa does not believe that a KKK father would have left a multi-million dollar legacy to a son who was not with the ideological “program”. (Sources: boingboing.net/2015/09/09/1927,  www.ibtimes.co.uk/frederick-christ-trump,  www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1918462/1927,  www.vice.com/read/all-the-evidence,   www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3229542/).

Donald’s father needed effective legal counsel to help manage his real estate empire. Donald spoke of the family attorney as his personal mentor, perhaps even more influential than his own father to shaping Trump’s business style and persona as we see him today. This man was none other than Roy Cohn, aide to Joe McCarthy, and known for his anti-Semitism, hatred of Communists and brutal hatred of homosexuals. After service to McCarthy, Cohn became counsel to some of the most notorious mafia figures in US history: Tony Salerno, Carmine Galante, and John Gotti, just to name a few. In essence, Donald “mobbed up” with a vicious attorney who believed what our country calls “McCarthyism”. (Source:  www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/04/, www.thenation.comwww.salon.com/2015/09/26/ ).

As Donald continued managing the helm of his father’s empire, his true racist colors can be seen in the transcripts of the Department of Justice case against a young Donald and his father’s empire for racial discrimination. Their racism is DOCUMENTED in court records. They were once again defended in court aggressively by their “McCarthy-ist” attorney. This occurred in the 1970s, less than a decade after the passage of the Civil Rights Act but it seems Donald and his father believed they did not have to change with the times.  (Source:  www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/15/, www.washingtonpost.com).

In 1991 a biography on Donald was published, “Trumped!”. Within the covers are quotes of Donald’s words to biographer O’Donnel about a black man working at Trump Plaza as an accountant. Donald’s words are very telling that, as of 1991, “grown man” Donald, no longer dependent on the approval of a KKK father, was still a well-conditioned racist: “… laziness is a trait in blacks… Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.”  Donald said that. You can buy the book yourself or Google it.

Donald & His Special Interest Groups – Now

What about now? Has Donald changed? Is he still a racist, xenophobe Klansman in Republican disguise? The gringa believes he is based on the fact that his strongest support comes from special interest groups that are identified by the FBI, Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League as domestic terror groups, right wing extremists, white supremacists, white nationalists, radicalized Christians, radicalized Constitutionalists and conspiracy theorists and Donald has never denounced them publicly or vehemently. In fact he has allowed them to flourish and recruit at his rallies. His campaign’s success is greatly in part because of the effective recruitment campaigns of these domestic terror organizations. Let’s examine a few of these groups connected to Donald and see who they are, what they represent and what they believe Donald’s political ideology represents.

Donald’s first public endorsement by a white supremacist domestic terror group was Tweeted September, 2015:

@realDonaldTrump You Sir are the only hope we have of getting WHITE AMERICA BACK! WE all will be voting for you! CHURCH OF INVISIBLE EMPIRE  – Wm. Quigg (@GrandDragonCa) September 17, 2015

After this endorsement Donald came under media scrutiny. The KKK moved into damage control and attempted a public endorsement of Hillary Clinton. This move is very typical of the political strategies exercised by groups like this in order to propagate misinformation campaigns. The media and Clinton’s other political opponents ignored this ruse for what it was, but white supremacists still use this as a deflect argument when the truth of Donald’s white supremacy connections begins to hit too close to home in debate and argument. More on misinformation strategies of organizations like this will follow later in the post. For now the gringa is trying to stay on point about some of the domestic terror organizations linked to Donald.

Opening line quote from open letter to Donald from the national KKK chapter, published March, 2016 on their website, www.kkk.com, which he has never denounced:  “They hate you for the same reason they hate us.”

Most recent public endorsement of Donald by the KKK national chapter published May, 2, 2016 that Donald has not denounced:  “The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes in, we believe in,” KKK Imperial Wizard. The KKK video can be viewed at www.thewrap.com  (Source:  www.sfgate.com, www.washingtonpost.com/news ).

Recent interview with former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke expressing his belief that Donald will enact a white supremacist agenda that Donald has not refuted:  freakoutnation.com/2016/05/.

Stormfront is a white nationalist domestic terror group that proudly supports Donald and has actively recruited at his rallies. Although this organization officially lists its membership at 30,000, it has the largest white supremacist web forum in the entire WORLD according to the FBI and Southern Poverty Law Center.  Its founder and leader, Don Black, was investigated, along with other white supremacist domestic terror groups, by the FBI in connection with the radicalization of Dylan Roof who murdered a church full of people in North Carolina last year. In Black’s appeals to fellow white supremacists he railed against the investigation as a violation of his Second Amendment right to freedom of speech. He believes speech is protected even if that right is exploited in the propagation of radicalizing propaganda designed to incite mass murder. (Sources:   www.postandcourier.com   and  www.splcenter.org/hatewatch).

Stormfront makes no effort to hide their faith in Donald to enact their white supremacist ideology as his political agenda should he become president. Title of article written by one of their members supporting Donald with this message as a byline: “Donald Trump is just the opening act. Yes, we will live to see a Fourth Reich”. (Source:  www.dailykos.com/story/2015/8/28/1416143/).

Southern Poverty Law Center has classified Stormfront as a white nationalist/white supremacist domestic terror group of radicalized right-wing extremists. This domestic terror group is connected with Donald Trump. A quote from their website states that they have actively recruited at Donald’s rallies: “Trump’s presidential campaign has received support from numerous white nationalist groups and leaders who have used his campaign to recruit followers, fundraise, and spread their message. Trump has retweeted white nationalists, repeatedly declined to denounce former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke in an interview, and gave press credentials to a white nationalist figure who also interviewed Donald Trump Jr.” Stormfront also announced recently that they had to upgrade their servers due to a 40% increase in website traffic since Donald’s sail to the top and Donald has NEVER denounced their support. (Sources:  www.stormfront.org/forum/t1149220/, www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/04/17/).

A third white supremacist domestic terror group supporting Donald due to their belief that his political ideology aligns with their own is the Council of Conservative Citizens that boasts over 1 million members and growing. Dylan Roof, who murdered nine Americans having a prayer meeting in their North Carolina church last year, credited this domestic terror group’s website as one source of radicalizing propaganda. Introduction to an article on the CofCC website  expresses their belief in Donald’s white supremacist agenda and that he will “make America great again” by returning the nation to pre-Reconstruction Era policies. Donald has never denounced the support of this domestic terror group. (Source: www.amren.com/news/2016/03/).

The Anti-Defamation League, Southern Poverty Law Center and the FBI have all identified Council of Conservative Citizens as a domestic terror organization of radicalized extremists and this is yet one of many such organizations tied to Donald’s rise to the top as the Republican candidate. CofCC has also stated that it actively recruited at Trump’s rallies.  (Sources:  www.adl.org/combating-hate/).

Now, the dear reader may be asking themselves, “Are these fringe groups really that dangerous? I mean, isn’t it the radicalized ISIS style terrorists we should be worried about?” The gringa assures you that the domestic terror threat from Trump’s most fervent supporters is the REAL and PRESENT danger the US is dealing with. Consider the following data and information…

Since 9/11 only 45 Americans have lost their lives on American soil at the hands of radicalized extremists using the Muslim label. Those extremists were radicalized HERE, in America. Our vetting process of immigrants is working the way it is designed to work to protect Americans from imported terrorists.

However, since 9/11 right wing extremists, such as white supremacists, white nationalists, radicalized Christians, radicalized Constitutionalists, and conspiracy theorists, have murdered, injured and terrorized thousands of Americans. According to collated data from the FBI, on average, 337 events of domestic terror occur every year. These terrorist activities are performed by some of the very groups supporting Donald, not Muslims. To break it down easier, the average American is 7 times more likely to be injured or killed by a right wing extremist than by a radicalized Muslim. A few examples of the terrorist activities perpetrated by the types of domestic terror groups and individual domestic terrorists supporting Donald:

  • SC church massacre, 2015, by Dylan Roof, radicalized by white nationalist groups Stormfront & Council of Conservative Citizens, 9 AMERICANS KILLED
  • 1/8/2011 Gabrielle Gifford shot, 6 killed by Jared Loughner who was radicalized by the propaganda of anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, white supremacist hate group American Renaissance according to DHS report.
  • Wisconsin Sikh Temple massacre, Aug. 5, 2012 Wade Michael Page, neo-Nazi, fatally shot six worshippers and wounded four others.
  • George Tiller murdered May 31, 2009 by radicalized Christian Scott Roeder. This occurred after he had already had his clinic firebombed by right wing extremists and had survived a previous assassination attempt, shot 5 times by radicalized Christian Shelly Shannon in 1993.
  • Knoxville Unitarian Universalist Church massacre July 27, 2008 by radicalized Christian Jim David Adkisson murdering 2 and injuring others while a children’s play was being performed. His manifesto stated that he hated “liberals, Democrats and gays”.
  • January 17, 2011 white supremacist/white separatist Kevin William Harpham was arrested after attempting to bomb a Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March in Spokane, Washington.
  • January 2012, Jason Barnwell, Jake Murphy, Dustin Hammond, and Gary Dodson, white supremacists, committed a racial hate crime of fire bombing the home of an inter-racial couple in Evening Shade, Arkansas.

Over a period of 86 years the KKK alone was responsible for lynching over 3,446 AMERICANS. That does not include unreported crimes, rapes, and assaults by the KKK or crimes committed by any number of white supremacist groups spawned since the KKKs inception.

Donald lies about Muslims being the REAL domestic terror threat. The FBI and Southern Poverty Law Center’s data and public reports both agree that the very organizations that support Donald, the domestic terror groups he is connected to and has never denounced, are the very REAL and present domestic terror threat. FBI quote published on their website regarding domestic terror:  “Today’s extremists are more challenging than ever. They’re affiliated with a variety of white supremacy groups, and they can be motivated by any number of religious or political ideologies… White supremacy extremists specifically target racial, ethnic, and religious minorities; the federal government;… Their tactics include assault, murder, threats and intimidation, and bombings. They also commit other kinds of crimes—like drug trafficking, bank and armored car robberies, and counterfeiting—to fund their hate-filled activities…”

White nationalists, radicalized Christians and white supremacist domestic terror groups and their terrorist in chief, Donald, are a greater threat to freedom in America today than radicalized Muslims have ever been. Anyone who says otherwise is either a white supremacist sympathizer attempting to misinform or a person who is simply ignorant of the truth.

Sources:  www.rawstory.com/2015/06/, securitydata.newamerica.net/extremists, www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/may/extremism,    thinkprogress.org/justice/, usuncut.com/news/, www.FBI.gov, Southern Poverty Law Center
Despite the official data from the FBI, Donald still insists on promoting anti-Muslim hate propaganda. Donald has re-stated recently that he will indeed require Muslim ID badges. This is an absolute unconstitutional position, requiring dismantling the fundamental principle of the Constitution, separation of church and state. NO federal, state, county or municipal ID requires religious identity. A person can change their religious identity whenever they please. It is not a permanent identifier such as physical identifiers.

But Donald goes even further than badges, dangerously further. He proposes to create a database on all activities of Muslim AMERICANS. He also wants to legalize warrantless searches of Muslim AMERICANS. Do you understand that? Because he is proposing an absolute ban of Muslim immigrants, his ID, database and warrantless searches agenda is aimed at AMERICANS.  (Source:  www.washingtonpost.com/news/,  thehill.com)

Political Strategies of Domestic Terror Groups

The dear reader may be wondering why the media doesn’t expose Donald. The dear reader may also be wondering why political opponents have not used this information as well to expose Donald. The gringa will tell you why. Every media outlet has their own political bias and agenda. They do not want to tank the careers of the politicians they support. And the racist domestic terror groups have perpetrated a very clever strategy to protect themselves from ever being exposed by either political party. This strategy is just as effective as the cloaks and hoods the KKK Klansmen use to hide their identities.

Radicalized racist domestic terror groups are neither Republican nor Democrat, although members have their own political affiliation. Throughout history they have aligned with either party depending on which was most expedient at any given time to further the white supremacist/nationalist cause. And at THIS PRESENT TIME they do not necessarily identify as Republican, but as Donald’s supporters. White supremacists/nationalists only exploit the advantages of power within each party. A white supremacist/nationalist is neither a Republican nor Democrat, even if it is actively supporting one of the parties. The political party identity is really only a means to an end, furthering a white supremacist/nationalist agenda. The loyalty of a white supremacist/nationalist is only to their racist agenda and white nationalist identity.

What this strategy effectively does, then, is muddy the political waters.  The effective political strategy of moving between both parties has created a dirty political history with skeletons in both party’s closet. This strategy results in NEITHER party ever going after an opponent hard about any white supremacist/nationalist support they may be receiving. It is another way white supremacists/nationalists are able to hide under the shrouds of political party shame, knowing full well one party cannot call out the other party on the connection because they both have history. By infiltrating BOTH parties at different times in history white supremacist/nationalist organizations have ensured they can wear this cloak of shame and remain hidden as they push through their political agendas.

The leaders of these domestic terror groups supporting Donald are not uneducated hillbillies living in bunkers in the deep woods (although many of their minions are). The leaders of these organizations are highly educated, many of them have law degrees, specializing in Constitutional law, medical degrees in psychology that enable them to develop effective recruitment propaganda. And ever since the first day that they have been forced to submit to a black man’s presidency, they have been fervently strategizing and infiltrating powerful political parties for this very moment in time.

These infiltrators are in America’s state legislatures, governors’ mansions, city councils, sheriff’s departments, school boards, city police departments and, most importantly, the Republican party. They have already staged a successful coup of one of the nation’s most powerful political parties and they are staged to next take the White House. And the discriminatory “bathroom” legislation going on the deep South now comes as no surprise once people understand what is going on.

Transgender Americans have been using public bathrooms associated with their gender identity for decades without any outcry. There is absolutely no criminal data to suggest it has ever been a problem. Yet now the transgender community and the LGBT community at large are the targets of discriminatory laws in southern states in the control of right wing extremists. It is a test. These domestic terror groups are determining what kind of resistance they should expect from the public once Donald takes office and rewards the special interest groups that helped him get there by giving them exactly what they want, free reign to oppress and discriminate against non-whites and non-Christians. And the LGBT community is the “safe” group to target right now without fully exposing themselves and their full race/religious based agenda.

White supremacists/nationalist domestic terror groups have become highly active with recruitment and their ranks have been growing with Donald’s supporters. Recruitment propaganda uses key emotional trigger words such as “patriot” and “conservative”. Not all political groups that use these labels are white supremacist, but many are and you have to be careful. White supremacist recruiters are highly trained to be subversive. These are not rednecks from the backwoods. A white supremacist/nationalist recruiter is not going to approach you and say, “Hey, I’m with a racist organization. Wanna join?” No, they tap into a person’s Christian or politically conservative outrage at having to live politically correct and gradually condition them to a white supremacist ideology.

And don’t be surprised to see a few acceptable minorities mixed in to a “public” face for these organizations. Much like how Donald exploits Ben Carson and other minorities, placing them in the limelight. This strategy is so when white supremacist connections are pointed out Donald and his supporters can point to their “cover” and say, “Look! Donald’s even working close with minorities. He loves them and they love him.”

And if a person gets too close to exposing the truth about Donald’s white supremacist/nationalist domestic terror group connections, the favorite strategy these groups use is to deflect with the accusation of the Democrat party’s connection with the KKK. In particular they like to point the finger at Hillary’s relationship with Robert Byrd. The gringa has already explained the inter-party relationships white supremacists historically have with both political parties as a strategy to protect them from exposure. However, to move beyond that neutralizing argument, let’s examine Democrat Senator Byrd’s history and put that argument to bed once and for all as well:

The REAL story on Byrd and why it’s a non-issue with the media & other candidates who see it as NON-relevant: A young adult 20-something Robert Byrd was a KKK recruiter in the 1930s-1940s. He remained a Klansman during the early years of his 51 year career serving as Senator of West Virginia. Byrd later renounced his KKK past and called it “the worst mistake” of his life in his last autobiography in 1997. When interviewed, he warned all young people to steer clear of the Klan. He also publicly expressed deep regret at voting against Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s. Born in 1917, Byrd’s early life was conditioned in a heavily racist South (much like Donald’s dad) but he grew and socially evolved and recognized the error of such beliefs and became a changed man (unlike Donald’s dad).

I find it amusing when subversive white supremacists defending Donald’s white supremacist connections with misinformation use the Byrd argument. Their own argument defeats them. Their logic is that they reject and demonize the Democrat party/Hillary/Byrd because of historical connections with white supremacists. By their own logic, then, they must reject Donald whose white supremacist connections are very real, out in the open, active right now and obvious to everyone which is why white supremacists are working so hard on spreading misinformation on social media and any venue of open debate. And if misinformation doesn’t work to shut up a person they then resort to personal insults, attacks and, ultimately, intimidation. And that is exactly why every single non-racist, non-xenophobic, non-religious bigot must work even harder to defeat them despite the fact that they are well armed, well organized and have a history of intimidation, murder, arson and bombing as their methods of dealing with those who oppose them.

Sources: cited within the body of the article

Image Credit:  www.pbskids.org

 

 

One Small Lesson On Race Relations


I am a white woman. Because of my skin color, I often get pre-judged and discriminated against by darker skinned people who do not know me. They assume I have nothing valid to offer when it comes to the issue of race. However, I beg to differ. Being a part of a multi-ethnic and multi-religious and multi-political family, I have plenty of experience dealing with racism and turning people’s minds around or, sometimes, inside out. I haven’t experienced every single racial injustice that can be imagined, but I have learned a little something from my own experiences.

One such experience involved my oldest son. He is bi-racial, half black, half white. One afternoon I got a call from his high school principal. My son had received a disciplinary action. The school thought I should know about it. I told the principal I was on my way if he had time to discuss it. He did.

I arrived at the principal’s office and found in his office himself, my son, and my son’s teacher present for this meeting. I did not enter this meeting with any pre-conceived ideas as to who may be right or wrong. I did not enter this meeting defensive and assume my son had done no wrong. He was a teenager. He got it wrong about as often as he got it right. That’s why he still needed parenting.

The principal introduced everyone then let the teacher explain the situation. She said, “Class was almost over and we had completed our work for the day so I let the kids hang out and talk for about ten minutes before the bell. Your son was hanging out with his friends. I didn’t hear what all was being said but I did hear your son’s comment because he said it very loud. He said, ‘But, I’m BLACK, nigga!”

At this point my son interrupted and exclaimed, “Exactly! I am!” I corrected him and told him it was inappropriate to interrupt. He needed to respect her right to talk and he would get his turn.

The teacher then told me she went over to my son and told him he could not speak like that and say the “N” word and he began to argue with her that he could because he’s black. She told him, “No you are not black. You need to report to the office because you are going to be getting ISS (in school suspension).” That was the end of it until I arrived.

I asked the teacher if she was unaware of my son’s ethnicity. Did she not know that he really was half black? She did not. She “assumed” he was Indian. I laughed and told her he gets that alot. I assured her that he was, indeed, black. The gringa then was certain that he was not being singled out for disciplinary action because he was “black”. To be honest, the idea never occurred to me that my son would experience racism in the diverse school he went to. This just simply affirmed it.

I turned to my son and asked him if what she had said was true. He said it was. I asked him if she left anything out that was important. He said she didn’t. I then asked the principal exactly what school policy had been violated. He explained the “N” word was not a word allowed on campus.

I turned to my son and told him, “You did the crime. You are going to do the time.” He protested that it was unfair. That he was black. It wasn’t racist for him to say that word. The purpose of the policy was to prevent racists from calling black kids names. He wasn’t doing that. Why should he be punished? Hearing such logic in his argument warmed the gringa’s heart to a degree, but his logic was flawed.

My pearl of wisdom for that day was to explain to my son all about double standards as well as to respect where other people are coming from. He enjoyed the privilege of growing up in a family and area that was very diverse. Because of this he also enjoyed the privilege of not being exposed to white supremacist hate. He had no idea just how disgusting that word is. His only personal experience with it was hanging out with his friends and using it as a form of “smack talk”. To his crowd, they just didn’t see why everyone made such a big deal out of a word. It was just a word.

He needed to learn that prior generations used that word completely differently. He would just have to wait until all those folks died off and his generation was the ruling old folk class and then they could all use that damn word as much as they like. But for now, the word is offensive. It’s history is offensive. As long as my generation is still alive and running the show, he better only use that word in private.

As far as double standards were concerned, the purpose of the policy was to create an environment of respect. The school was not going to practice a double standard and let a black student say a word the school would not allow students of other races to say. I was going to support the school’s decision to enforce the policy because the gringa was also not going to raise her son up to live a double standard. Allowing or disallowing a particular behavior simply based on skin color is racism.

I asked him if I allowed this word to be spoken in my home or in my presence outside the home. He admitted I did not. I told him he was to respect the authority of the school and not say it just as he respected my authority and did not use it around me.

As the United States continues to deal with race issues today, I support almost every cause against injustice of any kind against any people being singled out for race, ethnicity, religion or financial status. Wrong is wrong and right is right. You’re either a racist or you’re not a racist. It’s very simple. Morality knows no racial, religious or financial barriers.

As a person battles for their cause, it is important to remember exactly what your are fighting for or fighting against. If you are fighting for racial justice, do not make the mistake of becoming a racist yourself. Personal rage and frustration is perfectly understandable, but it cannot cloud your judgment and then hijack your movement. Racists come in all color, genders, and ethnicities. If you find yourself behaving in a way that you in turn point the finger at another and accuse them of wrongdoing, you may be a racist. You are most definitely a hypocrite. It’s very simple.

1991 Armed Forces Immigration Adjustment Act


January 30, 1991, Senator Ted Kennedy sponsored a bill and President George Bush, Sr. thought it would be a great idea to sign it into law. This legislation was an amendment to current immigration law which would include reform specifically designed for military personnel. The new legislation provided special immigration status for military personnel who had served honorably for twelve years. This status was to include spouses and children. For non-citizen military personnel who had not yet served twelve years, if they had committed to re-enlistment to cover a twelve year span, they and their family would have their status adjusted to permanent resident until such time as they completed their duty requirements. Then they would be eligible for naturalization.

What the gringa doesn’t understand, is why do they not qualify for naturalization within five years like other immigrants? Why would any immigrant want to serve in the military if it meant they would have to serve twelve years before qualifying for citizenship? They could just remain a civilian immigrant, renewing their visa, staying employed or enrolled in school, and qualify in five years as a civilian. After the evidence of statistics and senior officer testimony in 1968 affirmed the quality of service provided by immigrant military personnel, why would the U.S. government do anything that would deter immigrants from enlisting? As the gringa scratched her head over this one, it took quite a bit of digging around to discover what this legislation was really all about. Once I did, it finally met with my approval.

The 1968 legislation only provided for expedited naturalization for military personnel involved in hostilities. The Vietnam War and Cambodian Civil War both ended in 1975. Although the U.S. was involved in many military operations around the world after 1975, the country was not involved in an actual war until August 2, 1990, when the Persian Gulf War officially began as Operation Desert Shield. There was a gap of time where many non-citizen military personnel did not qualify for expedited naturalization because they were not involved in hostilities during the time of their enlistment. This legislation was to remedy that fact and honor those service men and women with the citizenship status they deserved.

Provision was also made for 2,000 immigrants annually from countries the U.S. had treaties with (not including their spouses and children) and 100 annually from countries the U.S. did not have treaties with (not counting their spouses and children). This inclusion of immigrants from countries the United States may or may not have had treaties with was important because, at the time of this bill’s passage, the Gulf War was still going on, although its conclusion was in sight. In fact, it was actually less than a month away. There would be foreign nationals who had assisted U.S. efforts and it would not be safe for them to remain in their countries of origin. They and their families would need to flee to a place of safety. The gringa is proud of the United States for considering these humanitarian needs as well as remaining loyal to those who served in such a capacity. These special immigrants were considered refugees, given permanent resident status and provided with resettlement appropriations.

The scope of this immigration reform bill was narrow and specifically designed with the non-citizen soldier in mind. Tweaking immigration law in such a way as this reflects upon a government that is much more aware of what really needs to be done for immigration reform than they let on. Oftentimes the nation’s politicians throw up their hands and act as if immigration reform is so complicated they can’t possibly put together a bill the majority of legislators will agree on. That’s a big, fat lie. If they stick to simple, narrow measures, tweaking details here and there, they can, over time, get much done. A little bit of progress is better than none. The citizens of the nation have to put pressure on government leaders on behalf of the non-citizen who does not have any real influence as a non-registered voter. The citizens who care must speak for them and demand meaningful immigration reform.

Sources:

http://library.uwb.edu/guides/usimmigration/1991_armed_forces_immigration_adjustment_act.html

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/102/s296

https://www.congress.gov/bill/102nd-congress/senate-bill/296

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/87576.pdf

Photo credit: http://www.slideshare.net

1990 Immigration and Nationality Act – It’s The Lottery, Baby!


Let’s play the lottery and see who gets to enter the country! Yes, the 1990 Immigration and Nationality Act introduced a lottery program. But, don’t be fooled. Lottery is just a fun way of saying “quota”. Quota was a bad word in the history of United States immigration policies. I guess legislators thought this was a pretty slick maneuver.

November 29, 1990, President George Bush, Sr., spoke to the nation and made these points about the bill he signed into law:

  • He respected immigrants: “… the fundamental importance and historic contributions of immigrants to our country…”
  • He appreciated the need for family unity: “… our tradition of family reunification… support for the family as the essential unit of society…”
  • He acknowledged the economic benefit of the immigrant, “… immigration of skilled individuals to meet our economic needs… cultivation of a more competitive economy… encourage the immigration of exceptionally talented people, such as scientists, engineers, and educators… promote the initiation of new business… and the investment of foreign capital in our economy…”
  • He was honest about the “bad” element among immigrants: “… swift and effective punishment for drug-related and other violent crime… aliens who, by their violent criminal acts, forfeit their right to remain in this country… jeopardize the safety and well-being of every American resident… improves this Administration’s ability to secure the U.S. border…”

Annually, the Attorney General would review statistics that had been gathered for five years from all over the country. Nations would be designated as “High Admission” or “Low Admission”.  High admission countries had at least 50,000 immigrants that had become permanent residents. Immigrant hopefuls of these nationalities would not be permitted entry unless the “lottery” was unable to be fulfilled by immigrants from the “Low Admission” nations who received preference. The purpose of this was to achieve more ethnic diversity within the United States. The gringa supposes this seems okay on the surface. Let’s dig a little deeper and see how it all works out.

These were the regions that comprised the “High Admission” and “Low Admission” zones considered in the new visa lottery system: Africa; Asia; Europe; North America (Canada and Greenland); Oceania (the geographical area including Micronesia, Fiji, all Polynesia, New Zealand, New Guinea, Melanesia, and Australia); South America; Mexico; Central America; and the Caribbean. In order for an immigrant hopeful to get a visa, not only do they have to come from a “Low Admission” country, but they also have to have a high school diploma and two years of work experience. If an immigrant hopeful was lucky enough to get a visa, their children and spouses were included. The United States considered family unity in this immigration reform policy and the gringa is happy ‘bout dat!

To get down to the specific numbers, America would issue about triple the number of visas than it did prior to the passage of this act. Most of these visas were issued to immigrants who were sponsored by employers. Guess what was required of these employers? They had to show documentation that they were unable to fill the position with an existing American citizen worker. Now, when will all these people stop griping about immigrants coming over here and stealing American jobs? It just ain’t so! Funny how the politicians know these laws exist to protect American jobs yet when an election year comes around some will campaign on headline grabbing, voter stimulating issues that are absolute lies, such as, “We’ve got to do something about immigration! Unemployment is so high and Joe Bob can’t get a job because those damn immigrants are pouring over the border and taking jobs away from good ol’ Americans!” Liar, liar, pants on fire. There are so many jobs that an humble immigrant is grateful to get paid to do that a spoiled American will turn their nose up at. That’s why most of these visas were issued!

For the first five years of this law, maximum limits were put in place. A total of 700,000 would be allowed in annually during this first five year period. Family based immigration was preferred so 465,000 visas were set aside for this type of immigrant. 55,000 visas were designated for spouses and aliens who had spouses or parents who had been legalized in the U.S. under the amnesty plan of 1986. 140,000 visas were set aside for skilled laborers to enter. 40,000 immigrants from “adversely affected” countries were given their own special group.

An example of “adversely affected” people would be the 1,000 displaced Tibetans who entered the country in 1991. On April 30, 1990, China announced the end of martial law in Tibet’s capital. For thirteen months Tibetans had suffered under military rule, harshly silenced and oppressed from any protest against the Chinese government. Military rule had existed in Tibet for decades but China cracked down in 1989 when Tibetans started getting too big for their britches and actually wanted a little freedom and independence, particularly in the area of practicing their religion, and began protesting in public. Too bad it was only 1,000 that made their way here. The gringa wishes all of them could have made it.

Did this immigration reform achieve its goal of creating more diversity in the American population? Prior to this bill, Asia and Latin America were the source nations for the majority of immigrants entering the United States. Under the provisions of this act, the American workforce was primarily supplied with Mexican and Filipino laborers. Indians, Canadians, Chinese and Africans made up the balance. Even today the Latin and Asian immigrants are the predominant ethnicities represented in the immigrant population. So it seems the goal of diversity wasn’t achieved. The most significant change was that fewer of these immigrants were poor.

However, the ethnic fabric of American medicine, science, education and sports was enriched as the result of this immigration reform. To keep these skilled workers in the country, deportation laws were relaxed as well as many stipulations that otherwise would have excluded an immigrant hopeful for qualifying for entry. One of these stipulations, which really seems to get xenophobes all worked up, is that the requirement to speak English was passed over. It makes no difference to the gringa. The gringa likes a challenge, especially a challenging conversation.

The ultimate culmination of the aftermath of this legislation is what we have today. For those who are not threatened by cultural and language differences of other people, the gringa being one those people, we shrug and say, “Who cares. Let ‘em stay as long as they’re minding their own business, working and caring for their family and community.” For the xenophobes, this is their worst nightmare. They have to suffer the indignity of pushing the number one button on their phones to select English. It’s all just so much more damn work and inconvenience that’s been created by these non-English speaking foreigners. It seems American government was socially evolving (except during campaign years when they regressed for the sake of garnering votes). Now the work is to help these hard-headed, scaredy-cat xenophobes evolve.

Sources:

http://library.uwb.edu/guides/usimmigration/1990_immigration_and_nationality_act.html

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/05/01/world/martial-law-ends-in-tibet-s-capital.html

http://immigrationinamerica.org/592-immigration-act-of-1990.html

http://cis.org/ImmigrationHistoryOverview

http://online.sfsu.edu/mcollier/AAS_write/aas%20essays/1990act.pdf

http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=19117

Photo credit: www.tibetanreview.net

1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, a.k.a. the Simpson-Mazzoli Act


And what was going on in the United States in 1986 besides big hair, parachute pants, the Iran-Contra debacle of the Reagan administration, and Falco, the one hit wonder with “Rock Me Amadeus”? Well, Congress was getting together with President Reagan for his signature on the new immigration reform bill called the “Simpson-Mazzoli Act”. Considering this mammoth piece of legislative effort contains over 41,000 words, the gringa will stick to the facts that resulted in significant change for the immigrant and American society.

It is interesting to note that today’s “undocumented worker” was yesterday’s “illegal alien” and also was the “unauthorized alien” of the 80’s. These immigrants who were already present in the country in 1986 could apply and gain legal status according to certain guidelines:

  • Immigrants had to provide proof of residency and employment since January 1, 1982
  • Immigrants had to have a clean criminal record (a felony and/or 3+ misdemeanors got you the reject notice)
  • Immigrants had to provide proof of registering with Selective Service
  • Immigrants had to meet a minimal level of understanding of U.S. history, government and the English language or be enrolled in these courses of study (if you were 65 years old or older they let you slide on this requirement).
  • Immigrants must apply within 18 months of the passage of the bill

The bill also contained provisions of temporary resident travel so these new temporary resident aliens could legally return to their countries of origin and visit family and return to the United States. The gringa is proud of this particular provision and the humanitarian recognition by the United States of maintaining healthy family bonds and connections. The Attorney General also had the freedom to waive certain requirements if it was in the interest of family unity. The gringa is certain that the United States is on the right track here.

Once an immigrant became a lawful temporary U.S. resident, they were disqualified from federally funded public welfare for five years. The gringa is sure this provision was included to satisfy the xenophobes who just KNEW these folks only wanted to come to America in order to freeload! However, individual State programs that had National School Lunch programs, vocational education programs, Headstart programs, and their own health services, as well as Social Security benefits individuals may qualify for, were not prohibited.

Because this immigration reform legalized many workers, the bill outlawed the practice of any employer hiring an unauthorized alien. However, enforcement of this provision was to be deferred during agricultural seasonal services. Hey, when the country’s gotta eat, we should all just look away, right? The gringa then must ask, “What’s an immigrant hopeful to think?” I mean really, come on, think this one through with some common sense. If it was common knowledge within the immigrant community the U.S. law meant that you could enter undocumented and law enforcement would simply ignore you if you happened to arrive at the right time of the year, what would you do? If you are an opportunity deprived and economically oppressed individual, you choose the cheapest, shortest and quickest way to get into the land of opportunity. You enter during the agricultural harvest season when the nation puts out the welcome mat and simply stay. You keep your head down part of the year and walk around boldly the rest of the year. The United States is in no position to criticize immigrants for taking advantage of the law of the land! The nation can’t be willing to turn a blind eye when it’s convenient for their belly then turn around and point the finger and blame the immigrant and ask them, “What the hell are you doing here?!”

Migrant agricultural workers who entered the nation seasonally were considered separate from the unauthorized aliens who met the above conditions. The migrant workers had a different visa with different qualifying guidelines. For the xenophobes who complain that immigrants come to this country and steal American jobs, consider this requirement of migrant worker guidelines: “Requires an employer H-2A visa petition to certify that: (1) there are not enough local U.S. workers for the job; and (2) similarly employed U.S. workers’ wages and working conditions will not be adversely affected.” It seems that plenty of jobs are available in the agricultural industry but Americans refuse the opportunity. So, don’t be pointing the “Stealing American Jobs” finger at the immigrant. This provision put the American first only allowing immigrants to fill the position when Americans refused. Also, fearful xenophobes, consider President Reagan’s 1977 radio broadcast statement, ““It makes one wonder about the illegal alien fuss. Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won’t do?” Way back then even the Gipper got it! Anti-immigration folks are recycling the same old arguments and, time after time, they are proven wrong.

One interesting stipulation regarding discrimination has the gringa scratching her head and tsk-tsking. The bill says it would be considered “unfair” for an employer to discriminate against an individual in hiring practices based on origin or citizenship. However, it would be considered NOT “unfair” if an employer preferred to hire a U.S. citizen or national rather than an equally qualified resident alien. The gringa asks, “Does not one of these statements negate the other?” Geniuses and Washington, the two do not go hand in hand. The gringa says, “Just one more law in favor of American laborers and protecting their right to work over the immigrant to use in an argument to shut up and shut down the anti-immigrant xenophobe crowd.” Mmph, take that!

For migrant workers, though, there was still an option to obtain residency status. During the 18 month registration period established by this bill, if they worked 90 days within one year in the agricultural industry they qualified for temporary residency and could travel between the U.S. and their country of origin. During the first five years of their new status, migrant workers are considered “eligible legalized aliens” and do have access to Federal assistance as well as state assistance for the first five years of their new status. Migrant workers were also entitled to legal assistance.

Cuban and Haitian entrants were granted permanent resident status if they arrived before January 1, 1982. This was because many of these immigrants were political refugees.

Considering the disaster of American children whose native mother was not married to an American G.I. and was left behind in Indochina in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and Cambodia conflict, the gringa is pleased to find that the U.S. was more socially evolved in 1986. Children qualified for status, benefits and privileges if even one parent obtains resident status, regardless of the marital position of the child’s parents.

All in all, close to 3 million immigrants were legalized. This is a significant chapter in American immigration history. However, according to the numbers, about 2 million unauthorized aliens were left running around America without proper “authorization”. Some of these didn’t qualify, so, everyone just assumed they would eventually get deported. Others would have qualified but didn’t know a thing about the program. No one really had a back up plan for this eventuality. The gringa is not surprised. I’m sure Reagan and Congress thought, “We’ve done enough. That headache can be for the next administration.” Yes, U.S. government, how the wheels turn.

Critics of this legislation called it “amnesty”.  The real definition of amnesty is “an official pardon for people who have been convicted of political offenses”. The gringa’s not sure that the term “amnesty” applies. Perhaps a better term for a path to citizenship would be “the right thing” or, maybe, “the smart thing” or, “humanity at its best”. Regardless of what you call it, there were plenty of critics then and now who considered it a big, fat failure because illegal immigrants poured into the country after its passage. The fantasy was, the gringa supposes, that politicians thought after the passage of this bill, somehow, by some miracle, there would never be another unauthorized alien that would enter the country. The gringa can only guess that perhaps they thought the immigrants that were here were the only ones that would ever want to be here and no other immigrants would arrive in the future. What a bunch of dummies.

The gringa thinks they should have expected immigrant hopefuls around the world to jump up and take notice and point their finger toward America, wide-eyed as they exclaimed, “DID YOU SEE THAT! THAT COULD BE ME!” And off they go, running as fast as their little foreign feet can carry them to the Home of the Free and the Land of the Brave. With a path to citizenship laid out and easy to qualify for, of course hopefuls would hotfoot it across the border if given the chance.

The gringa thinks the problem was not with the legislation. The gringa thinks the problem was with the lack of preparedness. It should have been, sign the bill then yell, “Katie, bar the door!” They should have seen it coming! Big sillies! They needed to have a stronger presence on the border. Why didn’t they? Money, of course. Even though there was a provision to beef up border security by 50%, it seems they still didn’t spend enough money! Or, quite possibly, as often happens in bureaucracies, the money was mismanaged. All you xenophobes who are crying about border security, well, its gonna cost you. Are you willing to pay? That means taxes to fund it. Take a look at your paycheck stub. Are you still willing to pay?

Another reason illegals continued to flood into the country is because the framers just weren’t good planners. The bill was not a failure as critics claim when they point to the fact that illegal immigration was never eradicated, but actually increased. It’s because the bill didn’t go far enough. It never occurred to the framers of the legislation that the country might just continue to grow and need more laborers. Just like any good capitalist free market system ruled by supply and demand, the U.S. labor market demanded laborers and the nation’s southern neighbors were only too happy to supply them. And that is the very reason we need immigration reform now. Most of these people are here to work and raise their families and educate themselves and their children. They need to be able to come out of the shadows and live with security as proud American citizens.

For today’s critics of amnesty who treat it like it’s a dirty word, listen to the words of a wise humanitarian: “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally,” Ronald Reagan, in a 1984 televised debate with Walter Mondale. Former Wyoming Sen. Alan K. Simpson’s opinion on amnesty? “Anybody who’s here illegally is going to be abused in some way, either financially [or] physically. They have no rights.” How do today’s Republicans feel about Obama’s efforts to bring about meaningful immigration reform? Well, just listen to what Mitch McConnell had to say: “…take amnesty off the table…”

So, then, what really happens with the issue of immigration reform? Politicians stick to their tried-and-true methods of old. When their voter base is raising hell, but the politician is too afraid to tackle the realities of legislation that affects the lives of millions of people, they worry more about getting re-elected. They don’t really care about the plight of an oppressed, unrepresented class of people who are not registered to vote. It is safer for the politician to stir up constituents with anger toward the immigrant so the voters won’t ask for immigration reform, but, rather, just scream for mass deportation. But, the politician doesn’t want to do that either. I mean, think about it. If cowardly politicians actually started deporting people, deportees may have loved ones in the community that DO vote. Politicians don’t want to risk losing that potential vote. If the politician treads the murky waters of immigration reform with legalization in mind, he alienates xenophobes, racists and labor unions from his voter base. If he goes hard line on immigration reform, he risks alienating the voters of ethnic groups who see members of their own national origin being rounded up and oppressed. What’s a vote-hungry, cowardly politician to do? He continues to stir up fear, because fear mongering directs everyone to the subject of border control. It’s much safer for the politician to support funding of border security than deal with millions of human beings. So, basically, the United States never sees meaningful immigration reform because the politicians are cowards.

The gringa remains hopeful that in Obama’s lame duck years he will deliver on immigration reform because he doesn’t give a hoot about pandering for a vote. He is in the strongest position to do the right thing. He has managed to deliver on some other controversial, hot button issues. The gringa still has faith and sits on the edge of her seat to see what happens. In closing, the gringa defers to the wise words of President Reagan who remained a friend to the immigrant to the very day he left office in 1989 when he said this: “I’ve spoken of a shining city all my political life but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and heart to get here.”

Sources:

http://library.uwb.edu/guides/usimmigration/1986_immigration_reform_and_control_act.html

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d099:SN01200:@@@L&summ2=m&% 7CTOM:/bss/d099query.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/30/in-1986-congress-tried-to-solve-immigration-why-didnt-it-work/

http://asu.news21.com/archive/2009/the_first_immigration_amnesty/

http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/1986-amnesty/story?id=18971179

http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/history/35th/thelaw/irca.html

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128303672

Photo credit:  www.fusion.net

Operation New Life – Humanitarian Based Immigration Reform In 1975


With the Vietnam War officially ending April 30, 1975, one way the United States responded to the cessation of hostilities was to enact humanitarian based immigration reform. The 1975 Indochina Migration and Refugee Assistance Act was signed into law less than a month later on May 23. This bill allowed refugees from Southeast Asia to resettle in the country. As the U.S. prepared to return its military personnel home, consideration had to be made for the many natives that had aided the U.S. war effort. With the Americans gone, these allies would be vulnerable to retaliation from the North Vietnamese government. Provision for financial assistance was included in the bill for these new arrivals who often had only the clothes on their backs and, if they were lucky, a suitcase.  $455 million was allocated to facilitate the resettlement of these refugees.  Considered political refugees, many were granted permanent residence status.

If these refugees did not succeed in reaching evacuation points where airlifts were designated, many eventually fled by boat or even attempted to walk across the country to safety. These were the people newspaper headlines called the “boat people”. As their situation became more desperate, they were willing to risk dehydration, starvation, attack by pirates and drowning if their boat capsized or sunk. Hope of reaching safety was greater than their fear of the dangers they would face on overcrowded, small vessels attempting to cross the vast ocean. Those that were captured were imprisoned in concentration camps for “re-education”.

President Gerald Ford took a strong leadership stance in support of this legislation. He faced direct opposition in congress by naysayers who, in their conditioned state of xenophobia, naturally reacted with fear of a future wave of immigrants. Once again, the emotionally stirring, but non-factual, political propaganda of how immigrants would lower wages and become a burden on society was shot down by the forward-thinking humanitarians who understood the truth. Immigrants, throughout American history, have proven to be hard working, law-abiding people that make a positive contribution to society.

The gringa says, “Way to go, President Ford! You may have often tripped and fell in your soup bowl, but you stayed strong and true on the path of leadership.” The gringa is thankful that President Ford was not an irrational xenophobe. The gringa is proud of a president that did not use a false representation of a group of people to pander to his electorate. Certain people in the nation’s current political spotlight could learn a lesson from Ford’s socially evolved decision to support this immigration reform.

About 200,000 Vietnamese and Cambodians eventually made their way to America’s shores as a result of this bill. They arrived at one of four entry points: Camp Pendleton, California; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida; Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania; and Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. The Arkansas base aptly referred to their duty as “Operation New Life”.  Although the gringa is certain all military stations performed their duty as honorably as Arkansas, I will use Fort Chaffee as a snapshot of U.S. history with regards to this legislation.

Within seven months of the May 2 commencement of “Operation New Life”, over fifty thousand refugees had been received at Fort Chaffee. May 4, 1975, just two days after the first new arrival, the Vietnamese newspaper Tan Dan began publication. As autumn approached, the refugees began to enjoy the benefit of a bilingual radio station. The local community college created English classes specifically with the new immigrants in mind. It seems that, as a whole, Arkansas did America proud in its welcoming spirit. The gracious people of Arkansas even went that proverbial extra mile and organized an Independence Day celebration with a rodeo as a way of introducing these war weary people to what it means to be American.

 As the immigrants learned what it was to be American, they seemed to relish in a freedom that had previously been denied them. This resulted in some interesting occurrences in the practice of their liberty.  June 20, 1975, eighty Vietnamese had a demonstration about all the things that were frustrating them in their new homeland. Two days later there was a counter protest by 600 refugees expressing their gratitude for all America had done for them. The gringa is amused by this. However, not all was bon-bons and roses at the fort. There were tensions among some of the refugees toward a group of refugees that were government officials. As a result of these hostilities, Provost Marshal reports indicate the possibility of related violent crimes. However, despite any difficulty, the 325 babies that were conceived by these new immigrants at Fort Chaffee indicates they moved on from the horrors of war and embraced their new life with gusto.

As the immigrants began to mingle in their new communities, media accounts reflected the reaction of a polarized community. There were the xenophobic racists who continued in their belief that the immigrants would rob locals of opportunity and jobs. But, the gringa is thankful that there was an enlightened populace who reacted with hospitality and charity, assisting the newcomers with education and cultural assimilation. The fact that many of the Indochinese who arrived in Arkansas even married some of the locals is a testimony to the spirit of tolerance and acceptance that prevailed in Arkansas.

In Arkansas, alone, researchers estimate that the local economy experienced a boon of several million dollars as a result of this immigration policy. So much for the naysayers arguments of how immigrants are an economic burden on society. They may need a little help in the beginning, but, once successfully maneuvering a traumatic cultural adjustment, society benefits greatly from the contributions made by immigrants.

As our nation considers immigration reform in the future, I hope many will recall the success that was realized in Arkansas. The gringa looks forward to the day when all the xenophobes in the U.S. outgrow their irrational fears and ignorant belief in political propaganda. The gringa is ready for these fear-mongering xenophobes to put on their big girl panties and their big boy briefs and quit being scaredy-cats in their little-people pants and little-people minds.

Immigrants are just people looking for a better life. The way things are going in the United States, who knows, one day the shoe could be on the other foot. America could begin to fall down in shambles, it seems it’s already begun. Terrorized Americans could start to flee in droves. If Americans want compassionate welcomes as immigrants looking for a better life, they should take a good hard look in the mirror and see if they really deserve such treatment.

As for the propaganda spewed forth from politicians pandering to a voter base they are hoping to mobilize? Fact check everything they say. When you fact check, go to unbiased sources, such as Census records, rather than statistics put together by organizations with political ties. As the scales of propaganda begin to fall from xenophobic eyes, the truth will be revealed that the majority of immigrants eventually adjust and become productive contributors to their community. And they manage to do this without becoming murderers and drug slingers. Chances are those are the very horrors they were trying to escape. Many are trying to escape a life of instability and vulnerability most Americans cannot even conceive of in the isolated, privileged country we call home. Of course such people will arrive with needs that need to be met with compassion and charity. But that doesn’t mean they will be  permanently dependent. History and facts prove that the majority of immigrants emerge from a period of transition as people who have succeeded in gaining employment and education. The potential of what they can contribute in the future far outweighs what it costs society to receive them and help them through a brief period of adjustment. The gringa says, “Just give them a chance. Quit being so scared.”

Sources:

http://library.uwb.edu/guides/usimmigration/1970s_indochina.html

http://immigrationinamerica.org/607-indochina-migration-and-refugee-assistance-act-of-1975.html

http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=5562

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