In my opinion, the most important line of the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that “all men are created equal” with the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. This was the real seller to the millions of immigrants who wanted to call America ‘home’. If taken literally, this line means that anyone, as long as they work hard and obey the law, could achieve financial success – also known as the American Dream.
Word of this utopia spread across the world. Two hundred years before the internet, word of mouth was the only vehicle. In deserts, jungles and glaciers across the world, they spoke about a land, in which bigotry and genocide was silent behind a glaring orchestra of tolerance and justice. Crop failures, job shortages, famine, religious and political persecution convinced most immigrants to make the long voyage to America.
Ever since the Declaration of Independence was written, immigrants have washed up on our shores. With its 41 million immigrants, America is by far the primary destination for migrants. Immigration has always been considered an engine of prosperity and growth for America. For example, America became the leading economic force in the world in the 19th century, as a result of the immigrant’s labor force.
Even today, the news is filled with disturbing images of immigrants who face such persecution in their homelands, that they risk their own lives and the lives of their children to find a new home. Many die in their travels.
A typical conservative ideology is to slam our doors and send these immigrants and their children back to their homes and face whatever torture they initially fled. Opposition to immigrants has to do with labor, and the fact that immigrants are snatching up those jobs. After all, immigrants aren’t paid much here. A boss trying to save some money will much rather an immigrant’s salary of pennies than what they have to pay an American. In turn, those that lose their jobs will get mad. In turn, Republican politicians will rush to their aid, and assure them that if they are elected no more immigrants are allowed in the country. We can now place immigration laws on the same republican totem pole that show images of abortions and gay marriage. Each, a brazen topic that some voters feel very passionate about.
Bernie and Hillary are the same on the immigration platform.
* Both support a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants.
* Both back Obama’s executive orders that removed the deportation threat of those who have lived in America for at least five years.
* Both would take it even further than Obama by ending the deportation of Central Americans who came here illegally and have been ordered to leave by our courts.
The record shows a bit of difference when the votes they made are examined. For example, Sanders voted against the 2007 immigration reform package in the senate. There are several of Sanders’ votes in fact, that the League of United Latin American Citizens opposed.
Ms. Velazquez, who served with Sanders in the House between 1993 and 2007 said that Sanders “stood with the anti-immigrant wing of the Republican party.”
As I stated before, the one similarity between immigrants is that they are searching for the American Dream.
News bulletin to that immigrant bobbing in his raft in the ocean: the American Dream is dead.
It began its slow and painful death in the seventies. Between the end of World War II and the seventies, there was significant upward social mobility. As long as they were determined, back in the day, anyone could come to America and make enough to support a family. In the seventies though, the scales sort of topped off and began their decline. The period since the seventies is filled with lots of low service jobs, like retail and personal services, and the inequality of the rich and middle class gets wider.
If the immigrant makes it, and joins the middle class, they have achieved the American Dream. Though, the middle class isn’t what it was back in the day.
Despite the articles that we wrap ourselves in, Hillary and Bernie are not that different in terms of financial recourse. Both of them have stated they will raise taxes on the upper class. Both of them agree that anyone making $250,000 a year is upper class. Which means if you make $249,000 a year, you are considered middle class, and you pay the same taxes as someone who sells spicy hot dogs on the street corner. And if you make $280,000 a year, one quick visit to your accountant and a couple slick loopholes, will assure you pay middle class taxes.
The typical middle class family makes about $53,000 a year. The PEW Research Center defines middle class by those making two thirds to two times median income for one’s household size. So a middle class family of three will make between $42,000 and $126,000 a year.
So you see, if you’re planning on starting a life in America and trying to catch the American Dream, it doesn’t really matter if Bernie or Hillary are president, you’re screwed either way.