The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you control ALL people.”
– Noam Chompsky
At one time in my life, when I was in my twenties, I was an immigrant for almost 8 years in a European country.
As an immigrant, usually you must learn a foreign language. When I was first learning the new language, I found I suffered from headaches. Another American friend who lived in the same country for a few years said she had had headaches, too. Even if you learn that language before you go to the country, it is challenging living in that language daily. When you learn a foreign language, you can usually understand more than you can speak, particularly if the language does not have consistent pronunciation (English does NOT have consistent pronunciation).
For me, I felt more at home once I could speak their language more fluently than many people and the shop keepers could speak English back to me. I still had an accent, but at least I did not get pegged as being an American. (When I was living in this country, the USA was involved with the Viet Nam War. At that time, the Canadian tourists used to wear Canadian Flags on their backpacks, so that they would not be mistaken to be Americans).
Another big challenge for an immigrant is to try to understand the culture you are living in. It is good to have some friends from that culture. I also had friends who were immigrants, mostly from the former Czechoslovakia. If you only have American friends, then you will never truly never get the feel for, nor the understanding about the people where you are living. It also takes a lot of observing people and when and how they do things. Every culture has slightly different ways of doing things, and even how they see time. The country where I was living, the people tended to be punctual.
However, one challenge, I did not have in my twenties was that I did not work in this country; I was a student. When I lived there again for about 8 months in 2000, I did work, but I was still quite fluent in the language, and I taught English- as- a Foreign Language in an English Language School to people from that country. I already had some understanding of the culture, too. In neither case was I an economic immigrant (in other wards, I was not financially strapped or stressed), nor was I a refugee, fleeing for my life.
I only have an inkling how immigrants who come to the USA feel. However, I DO understand that feeling of feeling like the “other”. I was living in a country where part of it was somewhat xenophobic and nationalistic. Also there was very little diversity in that country. However, I NEVER had to suffer from horrible stereotyping, nor racism, nor vilifying of my faith, nor outright hatred, nor great anxiety which I am sure many of our newer immigrants in the USA have experienced a lot lately, and particularly within the last week or two.
It takes people who are courageous to leave their homeland and everything they know. Change is one of the hardest things for most humans to adjust to do. That is what is absolutely required of most immigrants. That is why I can NOT back the latest new rules and laws against immigrants. I have been relying on NPR.org to get some general understanding about what has been happening this week.
A voice from one of members of the House of Representatives from Texas gave me a reality check about how some of these new rules and laws will be for states that are along our southern border.
For those of us who LOVE immigrants, we can stand behind them and try to support them, in whatever way we can, at least by showing them that we care. I hope that there may be a series of new lawsuits to stop some of the mass deportations that may occur in the not too distant future. Many states and American businesses will be negatively and economically impacted by these new rules if many immigrants are deported.
Breaking up immigrants, who have caused no harm in this country, from their families is out right cruel, heartless and inhumane, and completely against the history of this country. I am going to continue to extend an open hand to immigrants where I can. Thank God, I live in a state where most of the people feel the way I do.