Immigration – Underground Railroad
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Ohg Rea Tone is all or nothing. He is educated and opinionated, more clever than smart, sarcastic and forthright. He writes intuitively – often disregarding rules of composition. Comment on his posts – he will likely respond with characteristic humor or genuine empathy. He is the real-deal.

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Immigration – Underground Railroad

We are talking about people. Suffering people. oppressed people. Oppressed by poverty, by repressive land owners, by corporate greed, by poor health care, and by an unresponsive government. North, they are told. North to a land of opportunity. A land where they will not be subjected to the fierce drudgery of poverty.

They have relatives who have escaped. Word comes back to them. Prosperity can be theirs. Economic prosperity, freedom, liberty, the right to pursue happiness. The discrimination will continue. They will continue to be persecuted. They will continue to be subjected to menial labor. Continue to be harassed by legal authorities. They will experience prejudice based on their stature, or color, or language skills. But freedom calls. Freedom to hope and dream. To hope and dream that one day they can bring their family out of the oppression.

The journey is dangerous. The journey is illegal. If they are caught there will be severe consequences. The journey of secrecy, through a dangerous and unforgiving environment, will require support. many will die on the journey. There will be armed patrols looking for them. They are told there is a network. A network of sympathizers who will help them. They will hide in basements of safe houses, travel by night, be passed off from the hands of one stranger to the next – hoping the stranger can be trusted.

When they arrive at their destination – somewhere up north, somewhere unknown to them – they hope to find shelter and work. They must be careful, if their identities are discovered, they will be captured and returned to the land of oppression. They will save their money – in hopes of procuring the freedom of loved ones left behind.

These words will sound familiar to any student of American history. We look back today with embarrassment that a whole people had to travel by an ‘underground railroad’ to find freedom from oppression.

They will gather in urban areas. Gather unto themselves, outcasts from the genteel society of third and fourth generation immigrants from Europe. There will be a sharing of thought, of talents, of sadness, of grief, of hopes and dreams – there will be a Hispanic Renaissance to rival that of the Harlem Renaissance. Poetry will be written, a musical revival will bless us, new authors writing legendary books of sadness and oppression will proliferate. The triumph of the story of American immigration cannot be held back. The bursting talents of humanity will not be shackled by ignorance and fear.

One day we Americans will study the tragedy of immigration. They will study the sadness of a whole people violated by higher values – selfishness and greed, fear and ignorance. They will study the Hispanic Renaissance. Future generations will rejoice in the blessings of human endeavor.

A little study of history would serve the leaders of this country very well. A little vision and hope for the future would serve all of us well.

Dead Immigrants

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There Are 11 Responses So Far. »

  1. I lived in Mexico for a time so I understand that the issues run very deep, but I’ll try to summarize my view.

    The issue with immigration is why they want to come here as opposed to staying in their own country. Well.. money. new life? fresh starts?

    think about what would happen if Americans got serious about Darfur, higher wages in Mexico, AIDS, and empowering people to take personal responsibility for their actions…

    am i a dreamer?

    people are coming here out of monetary necessity and it is an injustice what has been done to the mexican people by their own government… BUT it is also injustice that we are enabling the wrongs to continue. No one seems to understand that Americans, by allowing the Mexicans to stay in our country, we are allowing them to be oppressed. Until they have Social Security cards, insurance, car insurance, legal citizenship, etc… then they will keep going to jail for not having car insurance and crashing into someone. They will continue to be “oppressed” by the system.

    Their effort may be valiant in a one-sided way of provided monetary stability… but what about a social change like the civil rights movement….

    WHAT IF ALL AFRICAN-AMERICANS HAD LEFT AMERICA FOR A PLACE THAT WAS MORE “ACCEPTING”… ?? All African-Americans would have continued to have been more oppressed. Let’s don’t enable the injustice to continue. Let’s force MEXICO to change… and YES send people back to their homes… not out of anger or punishment.. but because they can be a shining light in their country… AND their families need more than just money.

    I don’t think it’s beautiful that we are oppressing them by allowing them to be here illegally. It will continue to be a problem as long as we are ignoring the true problem of Mexico’s corruption and low wages. Realize that it is not beauty. Realize that rescue may look very different than Americans are now viewing it. Let’s send them back and help Mexico become an actual force to be reckoned with in the world in terms of humanity, love, service, economic strength, and dialogue power.

  2. eblack,

    My intention was not to solve the problem – only to help define it.

    Thanks for your comments – you are very thoughtful

    Ohg Rea Tone

  3. eblack,

    You are a dreamer, perhaps, but you are not alone.

    thanks for the perspective.

  4. Mexico is not the worse place to be, and by far not the worst place to run from.

    Some of my dearest and closest friends are from Erithrea. A tiny little piece of Africa that liberated itself from Ethiopia in an ongoing civil war. Some of them were in the army, an army which does not release its members, and kills those who run away, and it took them over 2 years to get to safety in America. By way of Sudan, South Africa, Mexico, underground railroad, 4days walking the desert without food or drink, a brother and a friend borrowing a car to drive down to Texas to pick them up only to be told they would come in two more weeks – the transporter first demands another $3k before he will continue. Corrupt countries are run and survived in by individual corruption.

    In the mean time their mothers on this side are loosing 10lb per week with stress, no word from their sons en-route except when a frantic telegram comes to say “Send $3,000. Need it NOW”

    We here, we have no idea … us plump and comfy Americans, we have absolutely NO IDEA what is going on in this world

  5. Tandula,

    Thanak you for your comments. I believe it is important to keep a human face on these issues that are so often defined in terms of economics or politics. We must always remember that we are talking about real people. Thanks again.

    Ohg Rea Tone

  6. Dear Ohg Rea Tone,
    You are most welcome. You are one of the most polite and thankful people I have encountered in this world of blogging, which mostly to me seems like people randomly spitting out their opinions without thought or care where it goes and who sees it.
    I realize I’m not the first, and by no means the last to make this observation, and that is ok.

    This Fireside is one of the most intensely interesting reads in my daily routine. I’m glad you guys are here.

  7. Tandula,

    People who get to know me well run screaming into the night. People either love me or hate me – that has been the case all of my life – My positions and commitments are firm and I usually say what I am thinking. Where I am uncertain and uncommitted, I will say so. I hope. I have learned to live with it. I am very grateful, however, when I meet someone like you.

    Ohg Rea Tong

  8. I’m sorry but the travails these illegal immigrants face in order to invade the US are obviously insufficient to deter them from coming here. Nor do our laws seems to be able to stop them. Why?
    The answer to that is because people sympathize with these criminals and undermine the Rule of Law.

  9. jonolan,

    It is always good to hear from you. check this out Where is Woody Guthrie

  10. 7 captured immigrants identified as sex offenders
    Apr. 13, 2010 07:03 AM
    Associated Press
    TUCSON – Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents apprehended nine illegal immigrants in separate incidents over the weekend.
    Fingerprint identification checks revealed seven of the nine are sex offenders.
    One individual from Mexico was previously charged in New Castle, Del., for “solicitation of a child under 16 to engage in a prohibited sexual act.”
    The government said he had been arrested for child sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and attempting to induce sexual contact.
    Near Willcox Saturday, agents captured an illegal immigrant charged with killing two people and wounding two others in the Dominican Republic.
    Sunday, agents arrested an illegal immigrant from El Salvador who had been convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 90 months incarceration.


  11. Gene –

    It sounds like these folks will fit right in. We hear rants about how many millions of immigrants have invaded our country – you mentioned nine of them. NBC’s Dateline can catch more than that on a casual Friday afternoon.

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