Worried about immigration?
Why is most of what we hear about immigration within the corporate media only negative – the various threats posed by these newcomers – whereas all around us are the positives? Positives: new entrepreneurs starting new businesses and services, new artists, and, with the Olympics, the face of sports is largely an immigrant’s face. And, of course, there’s the not-minor point that we are almost all immigrants, or the ancestors of immigrants, here in Canada.
But positives rarely sell, we are told, and rarely grab the headlines. We hear, repeated over and over, the recordings of terror attacks and bombings. How exciting is one more replay of the Charlie Hebdo shootings? But Mr Trump (and Mr Harper) have had no hesitation, and, apparently our media has no compunctions about headlining these disasters, no matter how old. Politicians looking for cheap points tell us it’s our own fascination with horror and terror that makes this stuff so popular – and it is popular, from Hollywood to front page news.
But what all this fear-mongering assumes is that, in effect, there’s nothing we can do about terror attacks. Once we let immigrants in, they’re free to spread havoc. How tiresome is such (lack of) reasoning!
It’s tiresome because it’s clearly false and yet repeated – while real solutions seem akin to colonizing Mars. For example, the best way to prevent immigrants and their children from slipping into the ideological clutches of hate-mongers is better education. As we welcome immigrants, we should be expanding – and improving – our education services to them (and everyone).
Counter-terrorism seems best directed toward the second generation, not the immigrants themselves. The French, German, and American experience is more about second, even third, generation immigrants’ frustrations. The generation that is Canadian-born and raised should, especially, be Canadian-educated.
To be even bolder, this means providing all Canadians with similar education levels and content; this means the same improved system for everyone: no more of the non-public schools which often harbour fanatics.
These same generations need jobs. France’s massive ghettos are ghettos of unemployment more than ghettos of Arabs or Muslims. More jobs, more income, more home ownership, more credit – these bring new generations into our system, and can cement them there: climbing the ladder, buying homes or businesses, paying off credit cards.
Mental health facilities are another front in which to battle home-grown terrorism. It’s fair to say almost all immigrants arrive with some PTSD – fleeing war and repression, rape and robbery, walking for days, boats in rough seas, that’s PTSD fodder. And there are, no doubt, many other mental health areas crying for help: addictions, family violence, religious incivility, sexual exploitation, and so on.
These are the real front lines of defense against hostile immigrants and their frustrated children. Trump’s disgusting hostility, his jails, manhunts and deportations, his big walls, they are all after-the-fact. Offering educational opportunities, credential certification, jobs, and mental health services are the best “wall” against terrorists.