This is one great and well thought out article. A definite must read.
Hardliners Try to White-Wash Their Own Immigrant Pasts by Redefining ‘Immigration’ – Alternet
By Joshua Holland, AlterNet. Posted June 2, 2008.
Redefining the word “immigrant” is an attempt to differentiate between those they hate and their own grandparents.
I’ve encountered a new argument in my travels, both in the comments here on AlterNet and around the internet. It’s perhaps best captured by the motto of the “Illegal Invasion News” blog: “IT’S NOT ‘IMMIGRATION’ AND THEY’RE NOT ‘IMMIGRANTS.'” (This claim is often articulated in that ALL CAPS style so popular with small children and lunatics who are off their meds.)
The word “immigrant” has nothing at all to do with legal status. It means, simply, to move from one place to another for the purpose of settling down. Papers, no papers — it’s all irrelevant to the act of migrating.
We know this is a nation of immigrants. You can see the varied cultures all around.
Or so it seems. But it is relevant, in that it is a response to a major problem for real immigration hardliners: the United States is, indisputably, a nation of immigrants and our heterogeneity, contra the howls of many a right-winger, is a big part of what makes America what it is. You can gorge on Bratwursts in Michigan, drink way too much vodka and mingle with decked-out Russian gliteratti in Brighton Beach, still read local Deutsche Zeitungen in small towns in Minnesota, eat Ethiopian food with your hands in L.A., sing weepy Irish ballads over your Guinness in dozens of Boston bars, wander the docks as the Vietnamese fishermen come in for a Texas evening and get the best roast pork in Little Havana. And thank god for all of that — I wouldn’t have it any other way.