As you know by now, my blog posts don’t always have to do with agriculture. Sometimes they are intended to spark thought about other issues of the day, or maybe even raise larger, more philosophical questions. Today is more of the latter – to spark thought about issues of the day other than that pertain to agriculture.
Today I am pondering the very complex issue of immigration – hence the title of the post, “It’s not that simple…” Because, if there is one thing this subject is not it’s “simple.”
There are some who would like to suggest the subject IS simple – sending all people back to their homeland who are not native to this great country of ours. But, that kind of sentiment is not taking into account all the things we gain by the presence of immigrants.
There are a number of jobs that many people, for one reason or another, don’t care to do, but, jobs that nonetheless need to be done. Oftentimes it is people who have come here from another country who are willing, sometimes even happy, to do those jobs. They recognize the value of having good work and being paid a fair wage for that work. (And sometimes they are not paid quite a fair wage, but they still find it of more value than not working at all.)
Also, some people question whether the children of these folks ought to be provided with an education at the expense of tax payers. As I read in one article recently, consider the alternative: if they are not in school, this would mean “more adolescents standing around idly, with limited skills, little opportunity to improve their situations, and scarce employment opportunities—ripe conditions anywhere for increased gang activity and crime. Imprisonment is costlier than education.” (taken from “What Undocumented Students Bring to the Classroom” as published in The Atlantic, April 13, 2015)
And, it’s not only what these youth are being spared by being allowed to attend school. It is also the value they are adding to their classrooms. Many of these young people end up here because their parents were fleeing from human rights disasters such as government corruption, civil war, drug crimes, severe persecution. Oftentimes they are seeking refuge, not simply money to send to the folks “back home.” Think of what a great social studies discussion could take place in a classroom in which there were students not only native to America, but who have come from Guatamala, Sudan and Afghanistan. Toss in a couple students from China and India whose parents came here a decade ago to pursue higher education and are now successful doctors and businesspeople. That adds a depth and richness to a classroom that no mere bulletin board can replicate, no matter how many photos of these countries you tack up.
And, as we learn to live alongside people who come from different backgrounds than our own, we learn how to be better people. Because pushing our own personal boundaries almost always causes us to grow in positive ways.
I realize some may just as easily say of my thoughts, “it’s not that simple”, but as long as we can all agree that it’s not that simple, then we can begin to have productive discussions on all sides, of any issue really…
Have a great day, my friends!