I could say so many things about politics in general and the American election coming up specifically. But for today, for now, just this.
If there are immigrants, of ANY kind, living in your community, your duty as an American (or any other nationality, really) is to do NOTHING except show them kindness. You can extend that to whatever lengths you want, because kindness can mean so many things. But if you can’t muster even that, please examine yourself with honesty.
There are thousands of reasons why people find themselves living as an immigrant in a new place. There are endless challenges for them when they do so. It is not your job to police their behavior or their progress, it is not your job to decide if they fit in the way you want them to. It is not their job to make you feel ok about what kind of immigrant they are, that’s up to you to sort out.
If you find yourself saying the hateful ‘You’re in America, be like us’ you are undoubtedly both unaware of your privilege and willful in your ignorance of what it really means to be ‘American.’
If you find yourself saying, ‘No Lane, I like the GOOD kind of immigrants.’ you undoubtedly mean the kind that are white/educated/affluent and/or ‘most like me’ and you are missing the entire point of almost everything.
If you think you could even understand the breadth and depth of difficulties people may face adapting to culture, language and navigating an unfamiliar bureaucracy, you clearly have either never lived abroad and understood those challenges or have no capacity for compassion.
This didn’t start with Trump, but the rise of his campaign has clearly opened a door for people to voice their views and show their true selves, particularly on issues of immigration/race, in a way that they may not have felt comfortable doing before. And while he is running as a Republican, be sure that I have no illusions that the xenophobia and racism he exhorts is limited to one party or another. This is a problem, to some degree or another, in us all and for us all to confront head on.
Be better than this. Question your own fears and confusion. Put kindness before all other behavior. Put thought into actions.