Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Europe, Fortress Europe, Refugees, South Africa, Xenophobia

“illegality is not an identity; it is a status that can be mended”

This article “The Great Immigration Panic” is set in the US but in many ways speaks to the whole issue of immigration across the world including Europe and South Africa………..

Immigrants in detention languish without lawyers and decent medical care even when they are mortally ill. Lawmakers are struggling to impose standards and oversight on a system deficient in both. Counties and towns with spare jail cells are lining up for federal contracts as prosecutions fill the system to bursting. Unbothered by the sight of blameless children in prison scrubs, the government plans to build up to three new family detention centers. Police all over are checking papers, empowered by politicians itching to enlist in the federal crusade.

The restrictionist message is brutally simple – that illegal immigrants deserve no rights, mercy or hope. It refuses to recognize that illegality is not an identity; it is a status that can be mended by making reparations and resuming a lawful life. Unless the nation contains its enforcement compulsion, illegal immigrants will remain forever Them and never Us, subject to whatever abusive regimes the powers of the moment may devise.

Every time this country has singled out a group of newly arrived immigrants for unjust punishment, the shame has echoed through history. Think of the Chinese and Irish, Catholics and Americans of Japanese ancestry. Children someday will study the Great Immigration Panic of the early 2000s, which harmed countless lives, wasted billions of dollars and mocked the nation’s most deeply held values.

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2 Comments

  1. anengiyefa

    “…that illegal immigrants deserve no rights, mercy or hope..” which had been denied them in their homelands in many cases.

    Being illegal, they are denied the right to work and denied access to social housing. And even when not in detention, their freedom of movement is restricted as they’re often required to report periodically (sometimes daily) to a police station or immigration office. Nobody is interested in how they survive and get along. The “illegal” is the one who gained entry by illegal means, or entered legally but has stayed beyond the period allowed in his visa. He is not a criminal, and is human just like everybody else. And the reality is that most of them never get sent back to their home countries. They live as illegals for years, always with the feeling that they are less human than their non-illegal neighbours. Many never realise their full potential as men and women, and for them the dream of a “better life” remains an illusion.

  2. ants are never allow into the hive