A Day without Immigrants

In 2004, A Day without a Mexican, was released and depicted the disappearance of Mexicans all across the state of California. Directed by Sergio Arau, this satirical film was meant to send the following message:

“The realization that what has disappeared is the very thing that keeps the “California Dream” running – cooks, gardeners, policemen, nannies, doctors, farm and construction workers, entertainers, athletes, as well as the largest growing market of consumers – has turned Latinos and their return into the number one priority in the State”.

Fast forward to this very moment. Today has been deemed “A Day without Immigrants” and I couldn’t be prouder of all the brave men and women who have decided to take a stand. Even celebrity’s such as Chef Jose Andres has closed his restaurants in the Washington DC area to support his fellow immigrants and to respect his employees’ decision to participate in the movement. This effort ignited today’s national day of boycotting and strike to show the major impact immigrants have had and continue to have on the US economy and its livelihood. Don’t think it’s much? Well….let’s see. As reported by NPR, Los Angeles county supervisor Hilda Solis said the following, “immigrants, regardless of legal status, contribute 40 percent of LA County’s gross domestic product: almost $300 billion in tax revenue to the county a year”. Not exactly chump change. Want more nay sayers? No problem. A study conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine showed that immigrants do not take American jobs and in fact:

  • Found little to no negative effects on overall wages and employment of native-born workers in the longer term
  • Some immigrants who arrived in earlier generations, but were still in the same low-wage labor markets as foreigners just coming to the country, earned less and had more trouble finding jobs because of the competition with newer arrivals.
  • High-skilled immigrants, especially in technology and science, who have come in larger numbers in recent years, had a significant “positive impact” on Americans with skills, and also on working-class Americans. They spurred innovation, helping to create jobs.

We can discuss numbers and facts, pros and cons all day long, but the truth of the matter is immigrants are human beings who deserve the right to fair treatment, equality, and opportunities. Who the hell are we to say otherwise? If this is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave then we better damn sure start acting like it. I am a proud daughter of immigrants and would not be an accomplished professional without their love, teachings, and lessons and the opportunities that this country offered them and myself. This movement is just the beginning. It may or may not impact certain things today, but the action is carrying any even greater message. Immigrants are here to stay, will not hide in the shadows, will not be bullied, and will not stand for inequality. We will brave on and show out…get ready! Respeta mi Existencia o Espera Resistencia. Translation: Respect my Existence or Expect Resistance.

 

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