Again, cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face!

I chuckled at the news a few years ago about farmers who whined and bellyached about those “illegals” flooding the borders – southern borders, of course. Well, those tax-paying “illegals” apparently got the message because over a relatively short period of time their numbers of crossings plummeted.

Well, to the surprise of those forward-looking farmers, that summer much of their crops rotted in the sun because “illegals” were no longer available to pick them, and “real Americans” took a pass on those jobs.

Now I bring this up to point out again how common sense and self-interest continues to get muddied in the convoluted abyss of xenophobia and political dog whistling, where the immigration boogeyman – not global warming, COVID 2.0 or World War Three – looms as the biggest threat to survival of the human species.

So talk about still another example of “cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face,” the headline in a recent publication cited a small town in South Dekota badly needing immigrants to work in local meat packing factories yet, on the other hand, strongly against them living in their town. Yes, you read that right.

So is the message to immigrants from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras who typically work in the back breaking jobs to cash in their frequent miles and commute from their native countries to meat- packing jobs in South Dakota? Duh, how ludicrous is that?

Which brings us to the six immigrants from Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras who lost their lives filling potholes on the bridge that collapsed in Maryland. In case you may not know, after working at night on that bridge, some of those workers got a few hours of sleep before starting daytime jobs as landscapers and other low wage jobs just to make ends meet. It’s called pursuing the American dream. Sound familiar?

Which takes us to the contentious debate about “illegal” crossings at the southern border and how that issue has become a strategic wedge issue in the race for president of the United States. Remember that it was not that long ago when Congress reached a non-partisan agreement on a plan to address immigration when that plan was torpedoed by a former president who wanted to use immigration as his top campaign issue. No need to embellish that devious strategy.  

Which takes us to this recent headline, Immigration fueling U.S. Economy,” one that just may get folks to rethink their views on immigration, and others dismiss it as liberal hogwash since it does not fit their preferred narrative. Here’s a “let that sink in” line that jumps out at the reader:

“Last month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office calculated the immigration will generate a $7 trillion boost to the gross domestic product over the next decade.”  

Now considering everything you’ve thought about the issue of immigration, and what you’ve read so far, let’s wrap this up with some actual quotes from leaders in the United States:

“It says something about our country that people around the world are willing to leave their homes and leave their families and risk everything to come to America. Their talent and hard work and love of freedom have helped make America the leader of the world. And our generation will ensure that America remains a beacon of liberty and the most hope fill society this world has ever known.” 

               – George W. Bush

“Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone.   –Barack Obama

“More than any other nation on Earth, America has constantly drawn strength and spirit from wave after wave of immigrants. In each generation, they have proved to be the most restless, the most adventurous, the most innovative, the most industrious of people. Bearing different memories, honoring different heritages, they have strengthened our economy, enriched our culture, renewed our promise of freedom and opportunity for all….”  – Bill Clinton

“What has happened to us in this country? If we study our own history, we find that we have always been ready to receive the unfortunate from other countries, and though this may seem a generous gesture on our part, we have profited a thousand-fold by what they have brought us.”   – Eleanor Roosevelt

“I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.”   – George Washington

I’ll leave the best – no, strike that, the worst – for last:

“They’re coming by the thousands. They are dangerous criminals “poisoning the blood” of America.”Donald J. Trump

So, here’s to those six hard working immigrants who lost their lives that night filling potholes on that bridge in Maryland. You toiled away while the rest of us slept in the comfort and convenience of our bedrooms. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for all you do to, eh, MAGA (Make America Great Again)!

Terry Howard is an award-winning trainer, writer, and storyteller. He is a contributing writer with the Chattanooga News Chronicle, The American Diversity Report, The Douglas County Sentinel,, co-founder of the “26 Tiny Paint Brushes” writers guild, recipient of the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award, and third place winner of the 2022 Georgia Press Award.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.