Avi Chomsky Cont’d – Scapegoating Immigrants

As Democratic Perspective continued its interview with the author of They Take Our Jobs! and 20 other myths about immigration, we began by asking if the immigration problem is just too big to solve. She responded by saying, “It depends on how you define the problem; whether you’re talking about human rights or economics.”

“In reality, the problem is mostly for the immigrants themselves,” she continued. “They have been pushed out of their homes by the international economy and denied human rights. To solve the problem, you have to start with human rights. Legislation such as the Dream Act could help.  So would allowing them to get driver’s licenses and rejecting the Obama administration’s Secure Communities program.”

Speaking specifically about the Dream Act, Chomsky admitted she couldn’t understand why it hasn’t passed. “It would allow a path for citizenship only for those brought here before age 12,” said Chomsky. “It would require them to attend college or serve in our military for two years.”

“The real problem is that most people believe that there is a path to citizenship,” she continued. “You hear them say immigrants should ‘do it the right way.’ But there is no path to citizenship now. Many of those arrested are those who are re-entering the country. They went back to Mexico for some reason then try to get back to their families and homes here.”

When asked about public opinion and anti-immigrant laws such as Arizona’s SB1070, Chomsky replied, “Public opinion is very malleable. It depends on the information they’re given. Immigration reform almost passed under Bush. But the Tea Party won’t consider it. The debate on immigration is a way of creating a scapegoat for very real problems, like the economy, even the environment. They talk about going back to some mythical moment,” she said. “I ask them, ‘When, exactly?’ There has always been immigration and inequality in the US. And the human race has benefited from multi-culturalism since it began.”

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