Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Immigration Protests

Saturday was a really nice day here. So after the moving business was over and seeing that I found out no one was going to be home for a bit, I decided to stop on Bloor Street West and chill for a few. Just needed to enjoy the weather a bit and I knew once I reached home I'd find some task to keep me busy and I wouldn't get any rest (which is exactly what happened when I finally reached and the lawn called my name).

So I stopped at a spot, grabbed a drink (non-alcoholic) and held a lil' lime while reading Marquez Garcia's General in his labyrinth. Didn't do the patio thing though cause as a child of the warmth I admire the sunshine but I'm not that keen on eating outside with the flies and bees. By the way what is it that attracts so many eyes when a black guy is reading? Is it that peculiar a sight?

Anyway as I chilled indoors, enjoying my book, out of nowhere there was the sound of loud speakers and a big protest rolled into view. It was a protest against the deportation of illegal immigrants here in Canada.

Yep the illegal immigrant issues in the U.S have had a lot of press lately but we in Canada have had our recent issues as well, as this newly elected Federal government seems to be more strict in enforcing immigration laws.

As I sat there watching the protest a couple of thoughts popped into my head.

I thought of the heart wrenching stories of illegal immigrant families who had been in Canada for well over 10 maybe even 20 years who were recently unceremoniously cast out, sent back to a place the adults barely remember and the children regard as a foreign country. In those cases I really feel for the children who have little if any memory of their country of birth having spent almost all of their years in Canada. That's really sad in my opinion.

I also thought, and this probably makes me sound really conservative somehow, but isn't it nice that illegal immigrants, people who have/are breaking the law can actually protest openly and not really fear that the police will descend on them and drag them off to jail and deport them all. Not sure how many countries worldwide one could do that in. It sort of reminds me of back in '98 when those Vincentian marijuana farmers protested against the US destroying their crops. My isn't it nice the freedoms we experience in this hemisphere. We've got to value them before they are taken from us.

I also thought, and I can only speak the truth here although it may sound strange coming from one who is already stricken with the label immigrant, that I'm not sure I support this protest.

Yes the individual stories are heartwrenching but so are some of the stories of those forced to steal or prostitute to make money to survive yet although I feel sympathy for them when they go to jail I cant really support their actions. Its the same here, I feel badly for someone who built up a life here and then had it cruelly plucked from beneath them but at the same time you came here illegally. You broke the law and at some point you did know it could or would come back to haunt you.

Plus as someone who came here legally and went through the numerous lengthy and costly bureaucratic processes and red tape in order to get student, work and landed status the fact that someone can come into the country illegally and then protest being deported is sort of a slap in my face I think. It makes me feel like a sucker. Here I am playing by the rules and they can come in and get basically the same life as me without the major outlay of cash that I put up or the red tape, the time delays, the interviews and the like. Then to top it all off they are protesting openly against deportations. Damn!

Actually I'm kind of conflicted about what I just said though. On the one hand I feel like I shouldn't be saying bad things about immigrants because I myself am one. Like I'm feeling like I'm making comments like one of those Reform cats who made sweeping asinine generalizations about Jamaicans or black folk or immigrants in Toronto and crime or something like that back in the day (oh just for the record though most of these illegal immigrants are not black) by saying what I just said. Damn I'm a sellout doing the man's job for him. Shouldn't I be showing solidarity with my immigrant brothers and sisters?

But on the other hand to be completely honest with myself I just cant really side with the protesters because of the reason I listed previously. How many would be legal immigrants are on hold trying to go through the mire of red tape, proving why they want to come here and that they would be valuable citizens, getting police records and bank statements and a million and one documents as proof of their skills and intentions, and paying a head tax, patiently waiting for some Canadian Immigration official to get to their file so they can come here and these cats jump the line, come here illegally and then get upset about being deported.

And I'm supposed to have sympathy? Sorry I know I probably should but I cant really lie and say that I do.


Campfyah said...

Well I wid you on this one my brother. Being an immigrant myself who had to go through all the red tape and screenings and alll sorts of paper work, I do have issues with thoes who are straight up illegal and mekking big noise bout right. What rights do they have other than human rights.

The issue here in the US I think is moreso the illegals who run cross the broaders or catch a dingy and paddle cross and enter the country widout paper one. Wha a fella could be a mass murderer in any country, come and sneak in the U.S or Canada and de authorities won't know. He cud turn round and tek out a few people and then walk/swim back cross de broader and as far as de immigration authorities know, he never existed cause he din pass thru dem system.

At least de ones that come thru de airport and oversty dem welcome, just as guilty, but dem in de system and de authorities cud hut dem down. which is usually de case and fuh de most part dem ein de ones dat protesting.

obifromsouthlondon said...

you gotta feel sympathy man. these people are having the door slammed shut on them. and by who? the original illegal immigrants, the man-thief dem. from a moral point of view no let them stay. and from an economical point, wait i'm comming to that ...

had this argument with some breddah the other day and I skooled him to the fact that shit runs over here cos of we people are ready to do the shit jobs the white people don't like to do no more. These people don't even know how many illegals they got to start with. so if the illegals go, then shit will literally fill the streets.

tianne_x said...

well i'm speaking as an outsider the past i know it was very difficult for some people to become legal residents in Canada and the States...lots of redtape...especially due to racism that can't be disputed to some extent i think i can understand the plight of some of those persons who entered the countries illegally then.. tho it was wrong many were trying to make a better life for themselves...but at present hasn't things changed significantly? i thought that Canada in particular was making it much easier for people to enter the country to work etc. especially students?....aren't the authorities really just trying to cut back on the criminal delinquents?.... if they are protesting because they are illegal but doing something a much better life with more opportunities i can understand..not every one is bad...there are many illegal immigrants that are and can be valuable citizens..but the major problem that ppl are overlooking is when these illegal immigrants- the criminals are deported back to their home countries and then they commit the same crimes there as they aren't prosecuted for crimes overseas.....alot of them have lived overseas from when they were little kids and are unable to fit back into this new unknown society... even become bums on the street...anybody ever thought of that?......just last year this guy was deported back to Barbados and ended up savagely raping and killing a family member.....what do you do in this case...i don't know? its just messed up....

Scratchie said...

No easy answers here JDid. I too though have an issue with doing illegal stuff and then protesting when it backfire on you.

Anonymous said...

i think i agree with your last it's not fair they are here, when someone else is trying the proper (hard, time consuming) root - and then maybe not getting in.

Luke Cage said...

As you know man, I'm of haitian descent and I know plenty of people who had to either resort to marrying to come here or straight up do whatever it took, even means that were illegal to get here.

Having said that, there are laws that need to be abided by. And it's a shame that the people who are eager to become American citizens by America's laws or Canadien citizen's by that country's laws actually go through the legal rigamarole to become such but others are taking means that are less than legal. Maybe even downright immoral.

What's that say about the flawed system where illegals can actually protest out in the open with fear of reprisals while others cower in fear of being outted and sent home. That's just dead wrong J. And ultimately tragic too.

Abeni said...

I feel sympathy for them especially if they are law abiding and working on getting their status legal.

Ravenbajan said...

Jdid, I agree 100% with what you just said.

Part of me feels for them, but to be honest their actions do piss me off a bit at the same time. My family immigrated here from Bim LEGALLY and went through all the red tape and the lengthy waits. I can't help but think if my family followed protocol, why can't they? It is almost like somebody jumping ahead of you in line, unrightfully so. I think alot of the protests are a slap in the face to those who actually took the time, effort and money to do it the 'right' way and be here legally.

** On a side note - I especially hate being considered to be 'anti-immigrant', just because I'm not overly sympathetic to illegals in Canada. If I was anti-immigrant, I would be anti-my own family. That makes no sense.

SP said...

I didn't know it was an issue in Canada too.

I'm all torn and conflicted about this issue too. While I was born an american, my mama wasn't and a lot of my friends weren't. Whatever they end up doing about this, a lot of people are going to be unhappy no matter what.

Stunner said...

This issue is a hard one. on one hand there a good hard working people illegally in the US and Canada that greatly contribute to the country, but there are also lazy dutty criminals too. These criminals are the ones who make it bad for the others.

I think is good to migrate legally and that's what they should be doing, but although I consider my life to be hard, my life seems like paradise to some of these illegal immigrants.

It's the countries rite to protect its citizens and allow who they want into their counrty, but if there are hard working decent illegal immigrants who have been making a honest bread there, give them a chance.

jelli said...

Well you and I agree on this one. As I said in my blog about this topic, why should the US and Canada bend it's law when the home countries of these folks wont bend theirs to allow people to earn a desent living. Instead of protesting to stay here why not protest reform and change of the corrupt goverments of their home countries.

brooklyn babe said...

I had this long winded comment to right, that was just summed up in one sentence/thought:

How can you knock anyone that wants better for themselves and their family?


Miz JJ said...

I don't feel sorry for them, but I do realize that this country is made of immigrants, including my parents. There is a need to streamline the system. It makes no sense to deport law abidding citizens when criminals who can afford fancy lawyers stay here for years.

inciquay said...

I'm with jj. Although I'm not down for illegal immigrants bucking the system and getting rewarded for it, I do wonder why we don't spend more effort making sure we kick out the ones that get caught for criminal activites. Then we need to make sure those ones stay out before we go kickin in doors of some poor illegal who's working an honest job.

ShellyP said...

Inciquay: How does an illegal work an honest job?? Isn't his whole life 'illegal' life a farce? I don't know the answer. I'm really asking.

I think you said it right, jdid, when you made the point that if you come illegally you can't really be surprised if you get deported.

Your questions are my questions too. I went the legal route to get to the States. How many are still waiting? And people are here protesting their 'right' to stay when they broke all the rules to get here??

Honest said...

I'm of Haitian descent and my parents immigrated to the US a few years before I was born so the immigration debate is special to me. I can understand your view and can also understand the illegal immigrants view. The lottery is hard and almost impossible to get for those US green cards. People are desperate and they'll do desperate things.

Question though, even illegals end up having to pay money and go through red tape with amnesty programs in the US is the process similar in Canada?

White Boy said...

I met my wife while I was working in Asia, and it took us 42 months and $5,000 before she could come to Canada legally - EVEN THOUGH WE HAD BEEN MARRIED FOR 2 YEARS.

We had to post a cash bond in order to have her sister visit us for two weeks last year... because the government refused her a visitor's visa... said she would not likely return. After 10 months and a cash bond posted, she was able to visit us for two weeks. This, even though her sister had family, a job and a home waiting back in Korea.

How do we feel about someone lying to get a visitor's visa, coming to Canada, getting an underground job and then not going home?

How do you think we feel?

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