Every human in the United States, save the Native Americans who survived the slaughter, possesses an ancestor who immigrated into this country at some point within the past 400 years. Today, a 400-year-old debate has once again become the top news story. Every immigrant interviewee on television and in the newspapers has explained that the reason for their migration was to achieve a better life in America. In other words, they are fleeing their homelands because they feel that there is something fundamentally wrong – whether it is the slave-like labor conditions of a mining camp that provides the only employment opportunity in the area or the terror caused by the trigger-happy soldiers of a dictator. However, I have noticed that there is a series of follow-up questions to these answers that are simply never asked: How and why did these peoples’ homelands become such dredges? How did the condition of life become so poor that it would inspire people to flee for a chance at a better one? Why do companies hire immigrants in the first place? These questions are never asked because in order to address them, the United States and its citizens must look into a mirror and answer a few questions of their own.
Are the poor conditions in most Latin American countries a direct result of the usurpation of resources beginning with the colonial expansion of European countries and continuing today with corporate colonialism of U.S. born modern business practices? Could it be that immigrants are willing to smuggle themselves into the U.S. via small cargo boxes because even five years of indentured servitude and the risk of death is worth not having to work in horrid textile factories supported by the clothing companies that we brandish? Aren’t some of the immigrants fleeing horrible dictatorships that that U.S. corporations support? Could it be that “illegal” day workers are attracted by forms of slave labor set up by the agricultural business because we are unwilling to work for wages that are low enough to make farming profitable? Are Americans losing their jobs to immigrants and overseas production because the owners of U.S. companies feel more loyalty to the dollar than to their employees? Lastly, is there justice in punishing people for actions that are driven and supported by our insistent demand for cheap production and high profit margins?
These controversial inquiries are at the root of the immigration debate, yet are not covered by the mainstream media. Therefore, it is up to us, the people, to address these questions. Please note that I am not stating that the United States is fully to blame for the poor conditions that exist in this world. I am merely suggesting that we are all part of a system and we should strive to understand our place in it. The United States is the dominating world power in a fully globalized Earth. It may be a clich