Friday, March 08, 2013

Guest Writer: Sarah A. Hoyt on Being American

Being American

By Sarah A. Hoyt [website]

I read No Pasaran for years, while I hid in ignominious duplicity.  Or, if you prefer – it happens to be true – while I tried to hide my political beliefs because I thought after I had achieved some status in Science Fiction I could then have more influence on those who were already reading me, and, until then, I could reach minds that would, otherwise, close hard against me.  Or, if you prefer – it’s also true – I was keeping my mouth shut and keeping my job because baby needed shoes.

Well, about two years ago I broke.  And this year I really broke.  It is one thing to keep your opinions to yourself when the “war” being conducted on the political sphere doesn’t threaten your adopted home and the future of your children, but when it is doing both…  “they shall not pass” comes to mind, and one opens that political closet door and comes out swinging.

Recently your post on immigration found an echo in me.

Our immigration system is beyond broken: in fact, it seems, at this point, to strive to encourage exactly the type of immigrants who DON’T wish to assimilate: people who walk over the border and fully intend to walk back (and many of whom buy into the lie we stole what should have been theirs); refugees from political messes, who wish to continue conducting their battles on our ground (as opposed to those who wish to live the mess behind and become American); various sorts of people who get in by political favor and who come with who knows what intent.

I can’t say much – I had full intention of immigrating legally, perhaps starting with (I had an offer) an assistantship at an American college, then seeing if I could get a permanent job and a worker’s visit.  As it happened though – even before I came here as an exchange student – I was already mad in love with the US, I fell in love with a US citizen, also, and we married, which gave me a leg up on the line, ahead of all those other people.

How long and how tough is that line?  When I was in high school one of my teachers (who had a Masters’ in French and her husband, who had an Engineering degree) had been waiting through ten years and ever more intrusive/abstruse bureaucracy to be allowed to immigrate.  When I came moved here five years later, she was still waiting.

This couple were both highly accomplished people, intelligent and already – in their heart – Americans in beliefs and yearnings.  (Possibly the only thing I agree with the current president on is that one can be an American already in one’s heart before he sets foot on these shores.  The point on which I disagree is, of course, the idea that this gives one a right to come in illegally and/or to vote in our elections.) They were, in fact, that of which good citizens are made.  There was no rhyme or reason to keeping them waiting that long – nothing, in fact, but the fact that immigration from Europe is all but shut down.  And part of the reason it is all but shut down is the streaming of immigrants (not just from Mexico) over the border – those who don’t bother with passports or visas.

To an extent this is the predictable result of how long that line is and how impossible to get past and the fact that no one does anything to curtail the illegal stream.  If the only option you give people is to break the law, any number of them will take it.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t give people any respect for our laws or our processes, once they get here.

What we have, in the US is an ideal that attracts people from all over the world – citizens of the US already in their heart.  Even when our principles are honored more in default.  Even when our economy is in a nose dive.  I wanted to come here even while Jimmy Carter was president.  I probably would still want to come here if I were out there.  Any number of people will want to.

A rational immigration policy will be built around letting those who yearn to be Americans come.  And leaving the grievance mongers and those who resent America and all it stands for behind.

To continue in this path will lead us to my future world, in Darkship Renegades and A Few Good Men, where the only USA left is carried deep in the secret of the heart and liberty has vanished from the Earth.
Related: It So Happens That Every Illegal Alien in America Already Does Have Papers