April 17, 2011

Lying to Ourselves

On the north side of the "Western" Hemisphere there is a trilateral juxtaposition of geopolitical boundaries referred to as Canada, United States, and Mexico-which really is a landmass called North America- perhaps it is most accurately known as Turtle Island, as many First Nation and bioregionalist people have called it....

In any case, for reasons you can find in myriad history books and magazines, the center geographical space in that landmass -the United States- long ago a thriving hub of fairly freely moving indigenous communities and commerce routes for the entire continent, has in 500 years become a magnet for migrants worldwide.  At first this was met with suspicion (then welcome for some) on the part of the indigenous people. It would be outside the scope of my ability to fully summarize the variety of indigenous reactions to the European entry and later violent conquest of their lands.  But suffice it to say that these people remain, for better or for worse, in their ancestral lands, while the "white man" now claims original stake to the country of which it technically, was once merely a guest.

The persons in control of these geopolitical zones, no matter what color their skin, now demand duly stamped pieces of paper to prove a person's right to move autonomously across arbitrary lines determined by "national laws," and "executive powers" and woe to the person who does not, in their eyes, meet the qualifications of someone fit to travel freely across those lines.

Isn't that ironic? It's as if someone came into your home against your will, you tried to be nice to them, but they eventually killed half your family, set up shop in your front yard, and then proceeded to dictate who could come over to party at your house and then acted like you never had anything to do with the situation and that what they were doing was perfectly justified. This might sound like a bit of a weird interpretation of national borders and immigration law to you.  But it's because we, with average lifespans of about 80 years, and our greatly enhanced modern ability to forget the lessons of history, can very easily overlook all that's happened on this corner of the world in the last 500+ years. It's especially easy for us to act as if we are absolutely entitled to those papers and the rights that come with them, especially when it means our right to a Spring Break vacation in Cabo- but not a  Northward vacation for the Southern folks that'll be serving your all-inclusive Brunch.

I might be a little more bitter than most because, although I myself am not restrained in my movement because I hail from the middle latitudes by birth, was lucky enough to experience birth in the brain center of this get rich quick and easy scheme, my husband happened to be born en el otro lado (on the other side) to parents also of el otro lado and for that reason (and many other I have not mentioned nor have space and time to do so here) he is not deemed appropriate for northern travel and instance.  My daughter, oddly, is. That's because although she was also born en el otro lado like her dad, she also hailed from my this middle latitude mother's womb- but I digress.

The reason why I write is because three occurrences converge in space and time in this little person's life that make me reflect on the idiocy of current immigration law:
  1. My husband (who for at least the next 5 years won't be able to begin to apply for a U.S. visa & for that reason can't legally travel there) was denied a Canadian tourist visa earlier this month.  Bottom line results of this small act are; he probably will never see my grandmother again (she is almost 90 and can't come here to Mexico), and I will be forced to travel alone with our infant daughter north so she can meet her great-grandaughter, unless some small miracle happens and some angels come to help me.
  2. A high-profile Dreamer (student immigration rights activist in the U.S.) is being very seriously threatened with deportation http://prernalal.com/2011/04/gw-law-student-prepares-for-the-trial-of-her-life/
  3. A good friend of ours, who has not seen my husband since we moved here to Mexico in 2006, is visiting us for Spring Break.  In reminiscing about what our life used to be up in the U.S., I am forced to remember all the things I miss- but also what makes me most angry about this truly unjust situation.
Honestly, as Americans we have more rights and privileges than we know what to do with.  But despite this, we are probably the #1 complainers in the world. (Do they have stats on that? I am pretty sure we are at least ranked one of the most unhappy cultures)  At what cost do we alienate the rest of the world, convincing our neighbors to do the same, even to our best and brightest, whether they have exactly the right order of stamps on their multiple sheafs of paper.  When will we grow up and see that, playground rules aside, we're not doing ourselves any favors by continuing to lie to ourselves that we're all about "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," but that what we're really about is getting whatever we want, when we want it, no matter who we have to step on to get it, and that we are exporting that way of life around the world and then wondering why we have so much violence and so many problems?


  1. A very eloquent, and accurate description of a pitiful and failed policy. Great work, SS, I will post to my FB.


  2. Amazing. I truly enjoyed this article. I, myself, am a DREAMer. I am interested in your transition from the U.S. to Mexico. I plan to leave the U.S. in search of opportunities in Mexico.

    Thank you for the article!

  3. I have to agree 100%. We are "self-deporting" ourselves sometime later this year as well. I'm afraid of the bitterness that might swallow up my happiness, my carefree attitude, and that I might not like who I become. I understand that it generally takes a year or two to adjust to life in Mexico. I look forward to reading more about your story too.



Your comments are welcome!