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Monday, May 29, 2006

This week at Immigration.

Enrique Gómez reflects on the Mexican-U.S. border, which his family crossed many times in his childhood — just as hummingbirds and many other creatures have routinely migrated north and south from time immemorial. (You can discuss the essay with Enrique at his blog.) Unitarian Universalist Navy chaplain Cynthia Kane offers a noncombatant's thanks for the men and women of the U.S. military. And, from UU World's Reflections section, Tom Stites introduces UU sculptor Don Cheek's work, "In Praise of Lesser Gods."

In the news, as I mentioned here on Thursday, Harvard Divinity School has announced a new professorship in Unitarian Universalist studies. Don Skinner reports on UU congregational efforts near the U.S.-Mexican border encourage compassionate responses to undocumented immigrants. Jane Greer writes about a group of UU ministers who traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to oppose a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage. And Sonja Cohen (with a little assist from me) tracks other Unitarian Universalists in the media for the news blog.

Copyright © 2006 by Philocrites | Posted 29 May 2006 at 12:13 PM

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May 29, 2006 02:55 PM | Permalink for this comment

Have you read what ">George Lakoff has to say about the immigration issues? If we frame it as illegal immigration, then we are limited in our solutions by that frame, because it limits what we define as "problems".

Here's a sample:

Progressives could well frame the situation as the Cheap Labor Issue or the Cheap Lifestyle Issue. Most corporations use the common economic metaphor of labor as a resource. There are two kinds of employees — the Assets (creative people and managers) and Resources (who are relatively unskilled, fungible, interchangeable). The American economy is structured to drive down the cost of resources — that is, the wages of low-skilled, replaceable workers.

Immigration increases the supply of such workers and helps to drive down wages. Cheap labor increases “productivity” and profits for employers, and it permits a cheap lifestyle for consumers who get low prices because of cheap labor. But these are not seen as “problems.” They are benefits. And people take these benefits for granted. They are not grateful to the immigrants who make them possible. Gratitude. The word is hardly ever spoken in the discourse over immigration.

Now consider the frame defined by the term “economic refugee.” A refugee is a person who has fled their homeland, due to political or social strife, and seeks asylum in another country. An economic refugee would extend this category (metaphorically, not legally, though it might be shifted legally in the future) to include people fleeing their homeland as a result of economic insecurity.

Have a look: ">


May 29, 2006 04:26 PM | Permalink for this comment

Thanks, Kim! I hadn't seen this.

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