Although many of us who studied American History learned how the United States was built on the backs of immigrant labor, it seems to me that some legislators have selectively chosen to ignore this historical fact, as well as the enormous benefits derived from immigrants today, both economically and politically in the state of Georgia.
According to Patrick Osio, Jr, (HispanicVista.com), “Nativists argued that immigrants depressed the wages of "artisans and laborers’ because newcomers would work for less pay than native-born workers." The time period was the early 1800s and their wrath was against the Irish and German immigrants. Nativists continued their quests to antagonize immigrants all the way into the 1900s. First it was against the Germans after WWI, then the thousands of Italians, Jewish, Poles, and other Eastern European immigrants, who arrived during the 1920s. Today the victims in the midst of this hostile political atmosphere are Latino immigrants, many who are hard-working, dedicated, family-oriented, community-minded and afraid. Sadly enough, some of the forces behind the modern-day Nativists are sitting in the Georgia Legislature. They are creating an ambience of fear, distrust, and subsequent turmoil among Latino families across the state and across the nation. What’s Going On?
This SB529 in not about immigration; it’s about the kind of people who are coming to this country – it is about their “brown” color , the language they speak, their work ethics, their expressions of culture, faith and family values-it is all too intimidating for some. It is obvious that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Georgia is setting the pace for things to come – are we moving backwards in time and in thought?
As I see it, this current anti-immigrant legislation will not solved our country’s nationally security problems or will it “protect our borders” – this issue must be settled in Washington, DC. The ever-increasing demographic changes in the U.S., and especially in Georgia, over the last 30 years calls for a more focused and intelligent response in addressing immigration reform.
As a Latina, breast cancer survivor, researcher and advocate, I’ve made it my mission to provide culturally and linguistically proficient health education and screening to our medically underserved and uninsured communities of color. Our non profit organization, Dia de la Mujer Latina, Inc. promotes health and wellness and for the last 9 years has saved hundreds of lives. Our dedicated staff, volunteers and healthcare partners may face serious ramifications, if caught providing medical services to this population at risk. I say “at-risk” because if the doors to receiving health services are closed to them, they will resort to shoddy alternative healthcare. They will fall victim to charismatic quacks who will sell miracle drugs, lotions, pills, supplements, or worst yet, to deadly consequences. They may also fall prey to human rights violations due to the lack of consistency and interpretation of the law, or lack thereof.
On March 24th, our offices will be closed and I will be praying for America. Venus Ginés,
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door! WELCOME TO AMERICA-Ellis Island, NY 1903
Venus Ginés, M.A.
CEO/Founder, Dia de la Mujer Latina, Inc.
Founder, Intercultural Ctr for Health & Wellness, Inc.
5755A Lawrenceville Hwy; Tucker, Ga. 30084
PH/FAX: 770-717-0021 Ph/Fax: 770-717-0255; Toll Free: 1-866-54MUJER
La lucha continúa pero no seremos vencidos..the struggle continues but we will not give up. vg