Advocates of Hate Try to Use the Boston Bombing to Defeat Immigration Reform

by Roger Algase

Bloggings: Advocates of Hate Try to Use the Boston Bombing to Defeat Immigration Reform: By Roger Algase

Hate can show itself in many different ways. One way, which has become all too familiar in America, is in the form of terror attacks aimed at killing or maiming as many people as possible. These include not only the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington, but the more recent ones in places such as Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek, Newtown, and now, Boston. I use the word "terror" about all of these attacks, because all of them involved indiscriminate mass destruction by one or more killers who were armed to the teeth.

It is because of an indefensible double standard in our media and among our politicians that the word :"terror" has been used only for the attacks which were a) carried out by people born outside of the US and b) involved the use of weapons other than guns. If it were not for the anti-immigrant lobby and the gun lobby (both of which are made up of many of the same people), there would be no reason for making this distinction.

The only (partial) exception to this rule that I am aware of is the Oklahoma City bombing, which was carried out by a terrorist born in the US and was, of course, rightly called a terror attack.

But whenever there is an attack by home grown terrorists using guns instead of bombs, it is referred to simply as a "shooting", not a terror incident, even when the death toll is higher than in a bomb attack (compare 3 dead at the Boston Marathon, including one child, with 20 dead in Newton, most of whom were young children).

And what is a shooting? Nothing to get excited about in America, evidently; we have dozens of them every day. No matter how many shootings by native-born Americans occur, America's right wing makes sure that nothing will be done to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally disturbed, as witnessed by the Senate vote against gun control last week which will truly live in infamy.

But when mass murder or mayhem is carried out by anyone born outside of the US, then, the right wing has a different reaction - either make the immigration laws tougher, or block any attempt to make them more humane and realistic. In other words, as ID's April 19 editorial pointed out, the strategy is to make a million, or many millions, of innocent people pay the price for the actions of one, or a very few, people with whom they have no connection whatsoever.

This is another form of hate. It is non-violent and legal, to be sure. It is also protected by the first amendment. But attempts to use the Boston Marathon bombing, whatever the motives on the part of two obviously severely disturbed young foreign-born men, both of whom were in the US legally and one of whom is an American citizen, may have been, as an excuse to scuttle immigration reform are nothing short of despicable.

Recent statements against CIR based on the Boston Marathon bombing (as reported in Politico on April 19 and April 21) by Republican Senators Charles Grassley (IA) and Dan Coats (IN) and Congressman Steve King (R-IA), as well as by right wing media figures Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter, can only be understood in this context. After Boston, America needs healing, not more hate.*

The Boston Marathon bombing was also an attack against the same diversity that CIR seeks to encourage. The Boston Marathon includes runners from all over the world. About an hour before the bombing, the male and female winners crossed the finish line. Both were from East Africa, according to the Boston Globe.

(How ironic, that as the price of immigration reform, the Diversity Visa lottery, which has brought so many immigrants from Africa to America over the past two decades, seems set to be abolished as one of the many prices of compromise to the Republican CIR supporters.)

To get back to the Marathon, one of the three bombing victims (not counting the policeman who was shot at the MIT campus later on) was a student from China. Along with the horrifying TV footage of the explosions, the same footage showed flags fluttering from many different countries of the world.

Were all of the wounded victims native born US citizens? Was every single care giver who bravely rushed in to take the victims to a hospital or who treated them in hospitals born in the US?. Come on. This is Massachusetts, not Iowa or Mississippi.

To use the bombing as an excuse to delay or kill CIR (which amount to the same thing) is as much an insult to the foreign born victims, first responders and care givers, of whom there must have been many, as it is to the entire immigrant community.

About The Author

Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.