I think everyone should read about how ICE is trying to drug and deport a young immigrant back to South Africa and especially this in particular:
Immigration is not just black and white, fueled by immigrants’ search of money and better economic opportunities. There are many underlying socio-political forces and policies that drive migration flows, whether it be NAFTA, genocide, war, drugs and other goods, or the still-too-relevant effects of imperial colonialism. People are quick to say, “Oh, Country X has had its independence for 38 years now! You can’t possibly blame the problems it has today on Imperial Country A; stop being so sensitive.” Au contraire, mon frère. A country might be independent on paper, but the effects of colonial rule are made to cripple domestic growth and silence the voices of “uncivilized natives” to the point that damage becomes deep-rooted, dooming future generations to colonization by corporations and the imprisonment that come with lack of autonomy.
I’m glad Ms. Bello — a good friend — is pushing the envelope and talking about neo-colonialism and neo-liberalism as an integral part of immigration to America. Of course, our politicians do not want to talk about it. Most of the immigration reform movement won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.
Too often, stories of exceptional immigrants, miracle walkers and TV personalities serve to perpetuate the myth of the American dream. What’s lost in this narrative is not only the murderous side of American Empire but also the impact of neo-liberal capitalism on developing and underdeveloped economies, which compels people to flee to America.
It happened to my great-(great) grandparents. They were lied to and compelled to leave their homes in an India under British rule to go and work on the sugar-cane plantations of the Fiji Islands as indentured servants. The Indian indenture system was started after the “end of slavery” in America as a way to continue the same old system with a new name? During the Civil War, the availability of cotton drastically fell around the world since Americans no longer had access to free black labor to work in the cotton fields. To alleviate this dramatic fall in the cotton supply, Americans zeroed in on the Fiji Islands. It seemed like a good idea at the time to steal some land from the warring tribes of Fiji or give them guns, alcohol and disease in exchange for valuable land. The story is all too familiar.
But it didn’t work out quite as planned. The Fijians killed and ate some American missionary who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Appalled, the United States demanded payment for his life. The Fijians did not have a Eurocentric form of government or currency and they tried to cede themselves to the United States as payment. America refused. After some back and forth, the British accepted to pay the American debt and take over the islands of Fiji. They started using it as a sugar-cane colony, importing over 60,000 Indians to work in Fiji as indentured servants. A hundred years later, an American-supported anti-labor and anti-Indian coup would ensure the migration of thousands of Indians once again, in search of a new home.