Photo Source: The Atlantic
According to the International Organization For Migration (An agency of the United Nations), “412 migrant deaths were recorded” along the US-Mexico border in 2017 “compared to 398” recorded the year prior. This comes after a stark 44% drop in border crossings in 2017.
Despite the high death toll associated with crossing the border between the United States and Mexico, the numbers do not even account for the amount of deaths after ICE detainment, or other causes of death that are highly overlooked.
According to CNN, nearly half of the 16 migrant deaths recorded while in immigration detention between December 2015 and April 2017 were a result of inadequate and untimely medical care.
Why is it that ICE continues to treat detained migrants inhumanely? Although detained migrants have allegedly broken U.S. border laws, why is it that their intentions are battered up to “bad hombres” who are just crossing to “smuggle drugs?” Why is it that an entire nation of people, and entire racial group for that matter, are denounced to an inhumane motive while crossing the border and a false perception on behalf of American society? Finally, a food-for-thought question to ask yourself:
Would similar events unfold if there was a rise in illegal crossings between the US-Canada border?
The real purpose of this information is to demonstrate one of the most important domestic political issues facing the United States in 2018: immigration. The reason to consider whether or not similar events would unfold if the immigration debacle were occurring between the US-Canada border is because it sheds light on an important factor worth considering: race.
Considering popular American cultural perception, it is within general public knowledge that a majority of Canada’s population is perceived as being “white,” while a majority of Mexico’s population is “latin or hispanic.” Given the deeply rooted racial bias and racist tendencies embedded in U.S. culture, it could be observed that race likely plays a role in the treatment of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border. Why else would the migrants be treated so poorly? If this was occurring at the US-Canada border with white migrants attempting to cross “illegally” would families be ripped apart, migrants left to die, and needs for medical care be ignored? Maybe. Maybe not. There is no way to know for sure, but the purpose of this question is to provoke thought into whether or not America is as “not-racist” as it thinks it is.
This directly leads to another massive political issue facing the United States: RACE.
Photo Source: Time
Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Jamar Clark, Anton Sterling, Philando Castile, Charles Kinsey.
Above are the names of 13 Black Americans killed by police in the United States from 2012 to 2016 which sparked the Black Lives Matter Movement. The 13 Americans listed are not even a fraction of not only Black Americans being killed while unarmed, but the sheer amount of Black Americans being arrested for pursuing normal everyday acts within their own country.
It should be clear to anyone who has lived through the Black Lives Matter Movement, read about it, studied it, participated in it, or been involved directly in relation to a victim that the United States still has a race problem. Not long ago, many sheltered white Americans would go as far to claim that racism did not exist anymore. It is only now that these important issues are coming back into the forefront of American culture and conversations about race are starting to be had. This is not even to mention the long list of other problems and injustices faced by Black Americans in the United States.
Why is it that, in 2018, the content of someone’s character is still being judged solely on someone’s gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, ability, or race? Why is it that Black Americans are more likely and disproportionately killed by police? It is only when we begin to ask questions like these that we begin to arrive at an answer, or if not an answer, a more robust definition of what the search for an answer should consist of.
Are These Issues New to Recent Times? Were They Important Back Then?
Immigration and racial issues are issues that have existed in the United States since the beginning of the country’s history and have remained important up to modern-day. Racial issues between “white” Europeans and people of African descent have long predated the existence of the United States. Racial issues between people of European and African descent are rooted in the history of the forced migration and enslavement of African people. According to the course material curated by Dr. Timothy Gilfoyle in “American Pluralism” at Loyola University Chicago, the modern enslavement of African people can be traced back to the 1440s when Portugal began importing African slaves, but can also be traced all the way back to 800 A.D.
As for immigration, although the United States has not necessarily kept its doors closed to migrants since the very beginning, it has most definitely kept its cultural doors closed. For example, when English settlers were first colonizing North America, they did not prevent other ethnic and religious groups from coming as well, but instead they ostracized them and held false beliefs based on irrational fear, much like what goes on today. As for official regulation of who can come in, the United States has had a long history of regulating certain ethnic groups, anywhere from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the “Muslim Ban” of 2017.
How Do Catholics Vote on These Issues?
In relation to Catholics and immigration, it is important to remember the widely held perception of Catholics when they first immigrated to what is now the United States. According to Dr. Timothy Gilfoyle, when Catholics first arrived, many of the existing groups in North America feared a Catholic invasion of such in which Catholics could never assimilate into American Culture. Today, there either is or has been a Catholic in nearly every form of political office, setting an example that rarely, if ever, are fears of someone from a differing background true.
When considering racial issues in the United States, it is not very clear where Catholics have stood in relation to racial issues because it is too divisive. While parts of Catholicism has condoned certain types of enslavement, it also preaches ideals that go against such a concept. As for today, it is a question of relevance whether Catholic voters take their Catholicism into account when thinking of their views on race.
Since Catholic people are very diverse as well as divisive when it comes to voting, it is not necessarily appropriate to assume all Catholics would feel the same way about any given issue.