I Pity the Poor Immigrant

“I Pity the Poor Immigrant” is the title of a Bob Dylan song that I used to sing on the street. It also reflects my feeling with regard to immigrants in the current political climate. Certain people in this country—right wingers, Republicans, and now the Tea Partiers—are constantly seeking some outsider to hate. They thrive on it. I’ve seen this my whole life. Right now their preferred target seems to be the so-called illegal immigrants. The state of Arizona just passed a law that criminalizes them. People say, “But for god’s sake. They’re here illegally. That’s it. End of story.” But laws work only if they are just, and they are just only if they are in harmony with the law of Karma—also known as the law of cause and effect, also known as “as you sow, so shall you reap.”

We have a long history of undermining and overthrowing any government in the Americas that doesn’t cooperate with our way of doing business. We train their politicians, their military, their police. Then we extract their natural resources and their labor and bring the wealth up here, leaving the countries of Central and South America miserably poor and oppressed. Anybody who insists that this isn’t so doesn’t read. The evidence is well documented. The karma of the situation is that the people who have been exploited will follow the loot. No human law can overcome karma. They will keep coming until we stop exploiting them. We can’t have it both ways.

Most people prefer to live in the land in which they were born and raised. It’s a natural affinity. It’s only when conditions become intolerable that we leave our homelands. If we want America to be for Americans—whatever that means—then we have to leave those countries alone, stop trying to dictate how they run their affairs, stop installing our puppets in their governments. I’ve met a lot of “illegals” here in San Francisco, and I’ve rarely met any that I didn’t like. They’ve never struck me as criminals. The criminals are those who participate in the exploitation of these countries or who agitate against the people who come here after having been ripped off by us.

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5 Responses to “I Pity the Poor Immigrant”

  1. john weeks Says:

    as a resident of tucson, az i along with many others in arizona are equally disturbed by the direction this state has taken to address immigration issues. sadly enough we are presently saddled with a radically conservative legislative and executive branch that panders to the fears and insecurities of the general populace. if they can get people scared enough and keep them scared through innuendo, questionable statistics, and false accusations they can foster the kind of climate that allows marginalized people to be exploited.

  2. Diane Says:

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered if it’s time to move to Canada yet. It’s human nature to look for somewhere else you can go to make a better life when life in your own country becomes unlivable. I don’t blame the immigrants. If anything, they are more adventurous than most people are, and they are just like all of our ancestors who left their homelands for a better life. My great grandfather worked in an iron mine.

    It saddens me that smaller minds blame the immigrants instead of the powerful entities that exploit them. Those same powerful entities exploit all of us as much as they can get away with.

    I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2008. The trail starts at the Mexican border. The day I started my hike, there was this truck full of scary-looking skinhead types monitoring the border. Then there was the border patrol driving back and forth along the fence towing brushes behind the trucks to keep the dirt clear so as to better see footprints. Other agents were examining little pieces of detritus found in the bushes. Helicopters flew overhead. But the ugliest thing I saw were these little dog tag things attached to every post holding up the barbed wire fence inside the packing crate fence. Each dog tag was engraved with some angry statement against the people who come here to pick our cheap strawberries and broccoli and sew our cheap clothing. It was a horrible thing to see and I felt sad to be American when I saw these things. Fortunately, somebody who cares about the hiking trail removed all of them.

  3. Karen Says:

    You are so right about the karma the U.S. has reaped (and is reaping) for its bad behavior in Central America. Certainly NAFTA, which Bill Clinton signed (another black mark on his presidency to go along with welfare “de”-form and the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act), has been a disaster for Mexico and should be repealed, or at least re-negotiated.

    Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! interviewed Charles Bowden on April 14th. He has written a book called “Murder City: Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy’s New Killing Fields” (http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/14/charles_bowden_murder_city_ciudad_jurez).
    It is chilling what is happening in Mexico, and the U.S. is not without blame.

    I wonder how many of these anti-immigrant “Christians” would willing to stay in a country where there is no work, or worse, where they risk being murdered?

  4. NakedTruth Says:

    I think you’ve forgotten what the lyrics better re-read them.

    • markbittner Says:

      I think you misunderstood what I was doing. I wasn’t trying to tie the lyrics of the song to my essay. I was simply using the title as an opening. I don’t think the song is about “immigration” at all. It’s about the difficulties and hardships involved in seeking wisdom.

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