Round Rock Reads!

Beginning our Journey

The Devil's HighwaySince I finished reading the book, I realize I really don't know a lot about the issue of immigration.  This weekend, I set out to educate myself.  For this post, I'll start with listing some good websites, links and facts about immigration.  For my next post, I'll get into some resources and articles that will help us understand the different positions on the immigration debate.

First I started with a pop quiz from the Census Bureau's website to find out how ignorant I really am.  I did lousy--five questions and I didn't get one right on my first guess.  My score was 225.  How did you all do?

So now it's Sunday night, and I'm a little more educated about the statistics. Here are some things I found out:  there are approximately 11.5 to 12 million undocumented people currently living in the U.S., according to the PEW Hispanic Center.  Most of these immigrants are from Mexico (56 percent), 22 percent are from other parts of Latin America, and the rest are mostly from South and East Asia.  Immigrants in the USA sent $40 billion to their relatives and friends in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2005, according to the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). You can read some more basic immigration statistics here.

At the end of The Devil's Highway, Mr. Urrea suggests some non-fiction books for further reading:  Dead in Their Tracks by John Annerino, Down by the River by Charles Bowden, Coyotes by Ted Conover, Border by Lila Downs, Hard Line: Life and Death on the U.S.-Mexican Border by Ken Ellingwood.  Most of these books are available at the Round Rock Library. I'm definitely going to check one out!


Lexie said:

I don't think I got any right on the first guess either.

Thanks for the informative links. I've only started the book and one word comes to mind - desperation.

# June 29, 2007 4:53 AM

GilT said:

Americans take pride in our early political heritage such as the Declaration of Independence.  Pride is often mixed with faith in God and that document of faith, the Bible.  Why, then, the marked absence of these venerable documents in the immigrant debate?  Immigration, some say, is man-made, not God-made and as such not open to discussion

However, when Our Founding Fathers wrote,

                   "All men are created equal,

and that they are endowed by their Creator

with certain unalienable rights,

that among these are

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness"

what do we discern concerning, the "certain unalienable rights"?  Are these rights limited to American citizens living within our geographic boundaries, only?  What do we discern about care for, "the foreigner in your midst" in the Bible?  How can an American or a Christian disregard these admonishments with respect to immigrants, today?

Immigrants are said to be violating America's laws and as such subject to deportation no questions asked.  We Americans have two instances in our history when our ancestors acted against government and against our own laws.

First, the Pilgrims fled religious persecution.  However, Pilgrims and colonists together rebelled against the king of England for the economic conditions and laws to which he had enslaved and oppressed them all.  A war broke out.  A nation was born.  The United States of America was born.

Second, when our country enacted prohibition laws in the 1920s it did not stop either the production or drinking of alcohol.  Individual Americans chose to ignore a duly legislated law.  The law was repealed, eventually.  It was a defiance of law, _ not for one's family, personal well-being, love of country, but for nothing more than alcohol.

Despite these national experiences we are lost to fathom the immigrant's need and will to care for his own family.  How the need overrides national boundaries, laws and natural obstacles, and, that without weapon in hand, but with humility, respect and support of their host country.  Has their presence and labor taken bread from our children's mouth while they seek to feed their's?

Someone has served up a most patronizing, condesending call to Americans:  We can deport all ten million immigrants if we set our mind to it.  Americans can do anything to which we set our mind to do, goes the call.  Somebody else has said:  Lets make the situation here so absolutely horribly intolerable to where no one would want to come here.  Was this the secular or spiritual perspective of America's Founding Fathers?.

The truth is immigrants, especially from Mexico and other Latin American countries no more want to come here than the did the Pilgrims.  They would much rather be back in their country, in their homes with their families.

We reject the ugly tendency to blame an entire race of American citizens when one of their members commits a crime of enormous proportions.  It is no less acceptable to embrace such thinking in matters concerning immigrants merely because they are not citizens.  What would we have allowed ourselves to become were we to "put our minds", to deporting immigrants?  We can choose the high road of less pride and more humility, instead.

# July 15, 2007 10:04 PM
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