Saturday, September 10, 2011
My father came to this country in the 60's in a time when people had to ask him where South Korea was because they didn't were not familiar with Asian countries. He married a Caucasian woman in a state, Maryland, where you had to prove you were not Black because Whites and Black's were not allowed to marry in this state. My mother tells that he had to convince the marriage license person he was not from the Philippines because Filipinos were on the list of people that had Black mixed races and the license issuing person didn't know where South Korea was in relationship to the Philippines. By the time I was born he was an American citizen, increasing the immigrant headcount by one more and for many years making me feel like this was a country that welcomed people from other places and situations and that made it a great big melting pot.
I have a good friend from Mexico that told me a story yesterday about her family's first trip to American soil. Her husband is a brilliant engineer and she is his brilliant wife. When they first got to Houston and went through customs they were met by a lady of Italian descent, I'm not sure how my friend knew she was a child of immigrants but that is because my Spanish is not as good as it once was and because there are holes in my brain. But she told me that the woman asked why they were coming into the U.S. and her husband told the woman he had been recruited by an important U.S. company to do brilliant things for them. This is the part of the story where I will be ad-libbing the exact dialogue that went down between these two. She looks at him and says, "Did you know my son has been out of work for three years?" My friend's husband very eloquently said "I don't have the pleasure of knowing your son but I am certainly sorry for his hardships in his career". To this the woman says, "it is because of people like you coming into this country and taking jobs away from Americans that he has no job", and then she waved him into the room here you go and have all your stuff X-rayed and you get treated like some drug smuggling mule that has a constipated look from carrying cocaine filled condoms up your ass for 12 hours.
I could go into the psychology of this woman and how medication or a job change would have helped her through her obvious problems with being a customs officer in the United States of America. Or how maybe her terrible parenting skills resulted in a deadbeat son who didn't have a job. Or how the company recruited my friend's husband and he had no fault - should he have turned the job down and said to the company, "Sorry Great Company but I really would like that Immigration lady's son to have this great job so maybe I'm gonna turn your lucrative offer down this time around but hang on so I can get you his number". Or how the U.S. should try to not employ complete morons at our customs departments, nothing like an incompetent and unprofessional welcoming committee. Or how our immigration and residency system is just as efficient and effective as the Coyote Human Smuggling system, that for big sweaty handfuls of cash, you can get residency the legal way just like the same big sweaty handfuls of cash will get you a trip over fences, through tunnels and in the dead of night with some guy named Francisco who might get you arrested and killed.
Part of my daughter's routine in school is to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance and here is how mine goes: I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it Stands, One Nation under God, Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for Some.