Sunday, September 6, 2009

Illegal Immigrants

So I've been thinking how silly it is for many people to be opposed to offering all of the so-called illegal immigrants green cards.

I recently moved to a small town in Southern Illinois. It's really tiny but it's spread out in a very unproductive way (that is, unproductive for the residents, but very profitable for automakers). There is downtown (where bars and restaurants are located), there is the college campus, the high school, the day care, the shopping center, and some residential areas. All of these places are really spread out. There are vast stretches of uncultivated, uninhabited land that just sits there unoccupied. This makes for a very depressing landscape. It also makes it hard and expensive to get from one of the inhabited places to another.

Bringing in immigrants and letting them populate these areas would be great for everybody. There would be more shops, more houses, more activity. Infrastructures such as public transportation, more day care centers, etc. will have to develop. Right now, there is so much space that could be utilised for something useful. The money and resources that now go into hunting down immigrants, erecting protective walls on the borders and deporting these poor people could be invested into helping them adapt more easily. The area such as  Southern Illinois suffers greatly from a  lack of cultural diversity. Immigrants would acquaint the natives with different customs, traditions, foods, music styles, ways of life. This could be an amazing thing for everybody involved.


_raucous said...

It all sounds great until you remember that immigrants will take away jobs that real Americans need so bad right now. Just think what that will do for your state's economy.

Your desire to show how PC you are in relation to the illegals prevents you from seeing these simple economic realities.

Anonymous said...

ohhh, the pcness, it burrrnnnnssss.

Clarissa said...

Where I live, there is no place that sells fresh fruit and vegetables for miles and miles around. There is one restaurant at an acceptable distance. No grocery stores. No concerts, no art fairs. So there are definitely things that the natives aren't doing. When more people come to the area, they not only need jobs. They also need services. So the natives would definitely win out.

NancyP said...

There's a reason for the homogeneity in S. Illinois. It dates back to Reconstruction - the smaller towns froze out/ chased away/ lynched freed blacks who dared to try to settle. Efforts to keep towns white were pretty much successful and accepted until the 1960s to 1980s. If you want to understand your milieu a little better, and don't mind reading history, try James Louwen, Sundown Towns. As in "Don't let the sun set on you in this town" signs. He looks at county census records and such in S. Illinois (his home region), S. Indiana, NW Arkansas, etc.

Also, some of the biggest race riots in the country occurred in S. Illinois. One in Springfield IL 1909 sparked the formation of NAACP, and one in East St. Louis in 1919 (+- a few years) killed well over 100 people, 90%+ black.

BAYMAN said...

Richard Florida's studies of American cities demonstrated that the two most important criteria for the economic success of cities, both small and large were, first, how well queers were treated (or for those who don't like that term, the LGBTQ population) and second, how well immigrants were treated. The third factor was that small cafes and bookstores had to exist, that is, places for city residents, including queers and immigrants, to hang out. He said without these elements, American cities would continue to stagnate.

I read Florida's book about 5 years ago, so I don't remember what he had to say about the charge that immigrants take away jobs, but he's considerably more qualified to talk about the economics of cities than the average journalist, commentator, blogger, or coffee break compadre, so I'll accept his conclusions about what's needed for the economic well-being of the cities of these United States.

In Florida's book was the first time I'd heard that the population to which I belong was valuable, that not only should we not be killed*, we're crucial to the economic well-being of cities in which we reside.

*I've received death threats for being lesbian.

Clarissa said...

"criteria for the economic success of cities, both small and large were, first, how well queers were treated (or for those who don't like that term, the LGBTQ population) and second, how well immigrants were treated. "

-I haven't read the book but now I think I should. I couldn't agree more! The 2 of my favorite cities in North America are Montreal and Baltimore. Both have very vibrant and active queer and immigrant communities. This ends up enriching everybody's lives and everybody's experiences of the city life.

"I've received death threats for being lesbian."

-I cannot tell you how sorry I am to hear that. Homophobia is disgusting. It's a shame on all of us that it still exists.

NancyP said...

I will have to pick up the book as well. I suspect that in addition to tolerance of immigrants, a wide range of immigrant origins (countries, educational status, SES) is a plus. That's one reason why I like working in an academic medical center.

FWIW, our local independent bookstore is Left Bank Books, present at its original location in the Central West End (at MacPherson and Euclid Aves) 4 miles west of downtown St. Louis, and now at a downtown St. Louis location, 321 N. 10th Ave (haven't been to that one, I live within walking distance of the original store). I'd also like to add, good quality used book stores are another big plus for a community.

The owners are politically left, have good stock of politics/social issues, history, literature and better current fiction, LGBTQ and gender and women's studies, kid's books, selected books about the St. Louis region, and local authors. They like to host readings and book-signings by local authors, including some local faculty (books about St. Louis/Metro East - last one was on history of E. St. Louis race riot - and fiction/poetry).

No, I don't have a share of the store. Yes, I have spent thousands there over the years.

There are several Afrocentric bookstores, one of which is pretty good (admittedly, I am biased, it was started by the late son of a coworker, and it isn't too far from the uni.).

Clarissa said...

Thank you so much for this great advice, NancyP! I'm planning to go to St.Louis soon and this is definitely a place I will be visiting.