Thorny issue of immigration (Op-ed)
There is absolutely no doubt that immigration is a thorny issue on the side of the West these days. Under liberalism, especially neoliberalism, no matter what the conditions of the state, we must serve as a receivership of migrants, both legal and illegal nowadays.
This had been going on a long time. Recall the days in the 1990s when Asian stowaways were caught in cargo vessels bound for NYC. They could not land without those stowaways being cast off and returned home unless they absolutely could justify being refugees. This used to be the case with regard to all immigrants. Even in Canada, one is not welcome as a citizen there unless one has an income, arrives in a workforce shortage category, or is tremendously wealthy. Even then the path to immigration, especially for nonwhites, used to take decades. One could be stuck in second-class type citizenship forever, with all kinds of secondary implications.
All that has changed under the pretext of climate change. There is no doubt that global warming is real, that the oceans are rising, that there are fierce force 5 storms, and that humans may even be doing some harmful geoengineering; nevertheless, these are by and large economic-type migrations. Economic migrants are by and-large looking to further their career opportunities, or hoping for a better future for their children. Most of the ones who dare to arrive legally or at least with papers, such as my ancestors did would have had useful and not necessarily redundant skills to contribute. The Angel Island immigrants were mostly the types of men who accepted responsibility for their own success (or failure).
One must ask, is that really the case today? It is true that in earlier write-ups, such as “Central American caravans linked to capitalism failing the poor,” this reporter cast an empathetic perspective on the pressures of the corporate plantation owners forcing peasants off their lands and into the cities. Inside those cities, gang-warfare is rampant in the poor neighborhoods, and children are forced to join gangs and participate in illegal activities from a very young age. These policies are the fault of the governments both in allowing too much foreign influence, and then not providing an adequate social safety net.
However today the situation is more nuanced; everything is a lot more complex than meets the eye. When migrants arrive from war-torn regions, they may have the resources to reconstitute their lives and become productive people. But if they have already been conditioned into paths of violence and crime, they will all too often fall back into old habits, especially if the path to economic opportunity is nonexistent.
And that is the presentiment in both Europe and the United States today; their economies are under stress due to war. Even while having to cancel a Quad summit in the Indo-Pacific about a month ago due to the debate about the U.S. debt limit, the U.S. continues to pursue it’s aimless warmongering policies. This is engendering much discussion among the alt-media, even if not in mainstream media; for instance, Glenn Greenwald recently podcasted on “How endless war bankrupted the US while inflicting mass suffering at home.”
Most Americans have become escapists if only because studying the news would make them too angry. Endless wars are not just bankrupting America. They distract the nation from important matters that deserve 150% percent attention here at home, for instance, due to decades of infrastructure neglect. During the last month there was yet another tragic train derailment at Yellowstone River in Montana. According to Mary Greeley News (June 27, 2023) “Yellowstone River Train Derailment Update,” sixteen train cars derailed, including 10 that dropped into the river: “Six of the cars in the river were carrying liquid asphalt, three were carrying molten sulfer, and one was a hopper car carrying scrap metal.” The footage reveals that the bridge was in such poorly maintained condition that one central piling was leaning; there is visible corrosion; a sandbank had developed on one side of the river; whether the bridge’s girders had already deformed to the point of necking is a good question. Of course typical of the Biden administration (eg. East Palestine train derailment), the investigation will probably amount to more of a cover-up than anything else, and the attitude will be, “there is nothing to see here.” The Department of Transportation Secretary is probably more concerned that companies transform into DEI workforces than rebuilding for structural safety, longevity, improving the quality of inspections, or investing in the welfare of the workforce.
As we had noted before, the push to incorporate artificial intelligence throughout the service economy is actually causing a lot of workforce restructuring. World Socialist Website has investigated the railroad union quagmire for the past few years. When the workers went on strike, their union representatives and the Congress worked to break the strike rather than realistically address their needs. For instance, in an article from February 2019, “‘Precision Scheduled Railroading’ brings cuts and layoffs to US railroads,” rail corporations such as Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific announced intentions to cut critical workforce personnel, such as mechanical workers, idle more locomotive cars and equipment, and reduce the workforce headcount for both permanent workers and contractors. It is these short-term gains for the sake of pumping up the stockmarket prices which have allowed the infrastructure to decay in what is ultimately a false-economy.
In fact, train derailments have become practically a weekly occurrence due to the poor-quality oversight. These accidents and derailments hardly ever make the news due to the power of the corporate lobbyists. However in “Six train derailments in 36 hours,” WSWS.org writes:
These derailments show the dangers which rail workers face on the job each day. One derailment in Missouri this summer killed four and injured another 150 after an Amtrak train hit a dump truck.
According to the Federal Railroad Administration, there were 8,076 train accidents last year, injuring 4,622 people and killing 753. Of those, railroad workers made up 2,568 injuries and 11 deaths. This is equivalent to 2 percent of the 120,000 workers on the seven Class I railroads, an injury rate higher than in mining and oil extraction, construction and manufacturing based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In comparison, in the EU, there were only 1,500 train accidents in 2019, with 687 people killed, and 568 seriously injured. For a nation a quarter of the size of the population in India, the U.S. safety record is comparable in terms of per-capita rail accident rate. After lobbying for a valid railroad contract for several years, what was forced through by the union leaders and Congress with intervention by the White House was viewed as a betrayal. The Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) formed to prevent any strikes even wrote that the railroads considered that “labor from railroad workers does not contribute their profits.” Naturally the railworkers have continued to organize and issue statements such as via the Railroad Workers Rank-and-File Committee (RWRFC). Here is one section of explaining why their continued fight for a valid contract matters:
“The issues that railroaders face are common to all workers. They include brutal scheduling and overwork, understaffing, and a decline in real wages due to skyrocketing inflation and rising cost of living. But on the basis of massive exploitation, the railroads and all of the major corporations are making record profits.”
The fight for the railroad union workers is similiar to fights across many other remaining vibrant sectors in the United States undergoing intense restructuring and include: teaching, nursing, medicine, accounting, information technology, retail, airlines, government services, and manufacturing. All of this restructuring is to help prop up the stockmarket in short-term gains, allowing the U.S. to continue its wars overseas, and to invest in the World Economic Forum’s vision of “greening” of the global economy via “artificial intelligence.”
Yet miraculously it is not these workers who are starting riots, looting stores, smashing windows, and throwing light grenades around to destroy more public infrastructure as a show of anger. No, the worst threat to the American infrastructure, aside from deliberate negligence by CEOs and lawmakers, is actually from the unchecked migration flows arriving across the borders. These migrants, who arrive here full of false misconceptions about how easy it will be to find a job, buy a home, assimilate into the American economy, are often shocked by the dishabille and decay of the urban cities with its ranging homeless people, boarded up businesses (particularly after COVID19 and the BLM riots), scarcity of work, competitive education system, cut-throat white-collar career atmosphere, and non-supportive social safety network.
For arrivals who thought that jobs would be available at every store, that they would be welcomed with open arms, that there would be churches open on every corner, they are probably shocked at the level of paganism as well. No wonder they resort to all of the worst habits: drinking, prostitution, taking drugs, gambling, and violence. It is as if instead of the Land of Milk and Honey, what awaited them was only Sodom and Gomorrah.
Asian-Americans are also fighting back against a system of education that appears to be rewarding their efforts with more unfairness than ever. It could be why Kenny Xu founded Color Us United, which won a recent judgment by the U.S. Supreme Court against Affirmative Action at Harvard University. AGN just learned about Xu today from the Stew Peters Show interview, “Affirmative Action Ruling Sparks Anti-Asian Hate: Asian-Americans Praise SCOTUS Decision.”
Of course there will be people agreeing that yes, APIA people must be imbalanced to study so hard just to try to gain entry into the Ivy League. However Kenny explains that it’s really not fair when you have letters, extra-curricular involvement, grades, and test scores all indicating that you are as all-American as anyone else. In fact, as one commentator puts it, so what if there are going to be 42% of students at Harvard being APIA? Has anyone ever made a case against the NBA for having so many star basketball players being black? (And one might make a similar case with other pro-sports and Hollywood.) It’s about time that America dealt with APIA more fairly, and not just as tokens after the ‘real tokens.’
However in the end, we are still left with too much brute anguish over unfairness in the world today. It’s sort of the case where you can no longer just be a teacher, you must ACT TEACHERLY. You cannot just be a person of color, YOU MUST PLAY THAT ROLE. And that is exactly what becomes the box that one must live in, the lens that one must see out of, even if it becomes suffocating or blinding. This is something that the West will not recognize, but it is contained in the East’s Sutras of Being by Non-Being, that unless you are willing to not be who you say you are, then you can never quite be what you think you say you are. We can all use more “truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance” for ourselves, our fellow humans, and all the birds and the bees…
So in this quagmire of work, nonwork, diversity, nondiversity, immigration, non-immigration, there is one final point of appreciation that AGN would like to mention from this week pertinent to this subject, which is the universal importance of the willingness to foster questioning and dialogue over the merits of an inevitably “browning of Europe” due to the incessant migrations from Africa and the Near East. Here the investigative journalism of Ezra Levant and his team from Rebel News in his series “France on Fire” truly challenges one’s perspectives on the issues. He has no answers, but he does persist in asking questions, in chasing down people to interview, in exploring the issue from both a current, political, cultural, religious, and historical presentiment.
For instance, in “Exploring the Divide,” one might feel frustrated that the poor neighborhoods are filled with trash and angry grafitti, that people litter with no sense of shame, that the cafes are filled with mostly unfriendly looking males, and that they are unabashedly still very much culturally foreigners. The Algerians say that they do still feel Algerian first, not French. That they are “colonizing France just like Algeria was once colonized.” Great, one thinks, and more and more colonizers are arriving every day, with the intent to turn Europe into Morroco? Well, why don’t they just go back? Why aren’t they as humble and self-effacing as Asians usually are? Why aren’t they more ameliorating and working hard at assimilation?
Again, it always depends upon a complex state of factors, such as nature-and-nurture, what was the background of these migrants in their home countries. Because of traditional and historical barriers, more APIA arrive here from middle-class backgrounds, while these recent migrants may have suffered from generations of poverty in favelas, and in which there never was and never will be any kind of real escape. They are accustomed to a permanent state of victimhood. It is easier for them to burn down the public library because it represents opportunities they know they cannot become, and ultimately cannot even appreciate. (Think about the sacharrine but proverbial show, My Fair Lady, how even an English cockney gal can feel so misplaced.)
Should the migrants be sent back then? Certainly there needs to be more careful vetting of who really wants to become a French citizen. The claim by Vanessa Beeley in “French ‘civil war’? Or a Gladio operation triggered by US Globalist class?” is that the Muslims had been wronged time and again, but that they provide valuable contributions to France, for instance, by offering to do the kinds of work that nobody else wants to do. This event might even be pay back for President Macron signaling France’s desire to join BRICS, something which is bound to infuriorate the Americans since that would further jeopardize the status of the U.S. petro-dollar.
In any case, Mr. Levant, obviously Jewish, shows courage in his willingness to interview so many angry Muslim men, ask them hard questions, attempt in an amusing way to speak French, and offer some light on what he views is going to also be a future dilemma in Canada, which not only is opening up its borders, but has agreed to triple its immigration rates. By legal immigration, this means that they are welcoming a lot more skilled professionals, not just retirees willing to live as second-class citizens or residents for the rest of their lives.
The role in which race or religion or gender identity or disability or a combination thereof plays in creating barriers and causing trauma, holdbacks in adjustment, or need for accommodations is always a sensitive issue. Both parties must be willing to engage in open dialogue and have a flexible attitude in an era in which at least in the U.S., one side is used to viewing everything in terms of legalism and ultimatums.
The role of the victim and the questions that one ought to think about in perspective also bring to mind the recent podcast in Discover the Word, “By the Pool,” about Jesus healing the paralytic man at the pool of Bethesda. The instructors really forced a new perspective by deconstructing what may have taken place that caused Jesus to address this man, who had been sick for 38 years, a bit differently. He wasn’t healing the man for lack of faith in God, but for lack of faith in himself. This man was so used to viewing himself as a mendicant, a victim, someone who could never be healed, that Jesus had to ask him, “Do you want to get well?”
We know people who are in a constant state of pain and suffering, and even in spite of going to church often, or taking medications, or whatever, it is clear that they embrace their suffering over everyone else. Their sense of victimhood must be lorded over everyone else’s. They do not see what people are trying to do for them, because all they see is what more needs to be done for them. The sense of victimhood not only demands accommodation, but in a state of wellness, it demands equality at all costs. One can imagine how this mendicant and cripple, having become healed, now in the temple, might even have become envious at what the well-to-do men possessed but which he now could only covet. This is why Jesus even warned him:
“See, you have become well. Do not sin anymore, so that something worse does not happen to you.” —-John (5:14)
This analysis of the Gospel prompted me to really think about how many times I had been so thoroughly deluded by false hopes and high expectations amid the cruel realities of the workplace today. People are always trying to convince students that they will succeed in life if they do this, graduate from this institution, join this sorority, avoid this set of people, associate only upwards, and it is okay to puff up your resume. Students are led to believe that they will walk on water once they graduate, and all the world will roll out a red-carpet to greet them wherever they go. When they realize that the academia is just in the business of churning out students and that as a business they must stoke their egos while they are on campus, they are going to be let down. However if one has faith, a spiritual faith, a deeper moral foundation and work ethic and grounding in reality (as opposed to primitivist paganistic magical thinking), one will not resort to rioting, burning buildings, breaking glass, looting, kidnappings, and doing violence against other human beings for the sheer sense of gratification (or revenge).
That is what Mr. Levant is trying to say in “There are still assassinations and threats against those who criticize Islam,” and what others in alt-media are telling us, whether it is the Schiller Institute, World Beyond War, Hal Turner Radio Show, or the Vatican. We have to fight the prevalent pervasive attempts to throw society and civilizations into a state of chaos and confusion, but we can only do so if we have a sense of deep appreciation for the human experience, an open-mindedness to accept the universality of morals and principles in whichever host nation. For if we don’t actually believe in those kind of social societal values, if we are not willing to adapt and sincerely try to make them our own, as Charles De Gaulle or President Macron believes French immigrants could, then maybe we do not deserve to live there anymore but to return to where we came from.
Photo of sculpture from Welcome Plaza @ Catholic University