Tuesday, January 1, 2013

People With No Names: The Undocumented 101

Here it is, the front page of the New York Times on Jan. 1!!!  So this is big news in the United States where there is widespread fear that immigrants will "take our jobs and be a disproportionate drain on our resources".  And the article goes on to say that , "The decline in birthrates was steepest among Mexican-American women who immigrated from Mexico, at 25.7 percent.  This has reversed a trend in which immigrant mothers accounted for a rising share of births in the United States."  It turns out that while Latinos were immigrating physically,  ideas about family size, education and career were immigrating into their family structure.  "In Denver, Olga Gonzales, the daughter of Mexican immigrants,  teaches a family planning class in Spanish to Mexican immigrants.  She tells her students that as a teenager in the 1980s, she decided to take the long view on life:  "I chose to do the college route first and establish my career and then think about babies later"  Now 40, Ms. Gonzales has a master's degree in nonprofit management, two children and a solid foothold in the professional middle-class. (Her father, one of six children, never finished fifth grade back in Guanajuanto, Mexico, before he had to go to work.)"  William H. Frey,  a sociologist and demographer at the Brookings Institute says that "the decrease has signaled much about the aspirations of young Latinos to become full and permanent members of the upwardly mobile middle class, despite the challenges posed by the struggling economy."  So,  those who see newcomers as threats...might want to revise their thinking.   Those who have seen only a particular demographic as assets...might want to revise their thinking. There is a precedent for 'open-mindedness and capacity for growth'... one hundred and fifty years ago TODAY Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation!  After Jan. 1,  1863,  Lincoln began to think seriously of the United States as a bi-racial society.  The work continues with our treatment of our most recent immigrants.  President Lincoln said,  "The dogmas of the quiet past,  are inadequate to the stormy present" and "we must dis enthrall our selves,  and then we shall save our country."  Amen. 

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