The Aliens

Slovakian immigrants at Ellis Island, around the turn of the last century. Modest dress would be acceptable in contemporary Muslim society.

Here’s a report on what’s happening regarding immigrants to the UK and, after that, a lighthearted poem. But first, some personal comments:

Some of my fellow citizens in the U.S. oppose immigration, especially of the undocumented, for a variety of reasons. For example, “they’ll take away our jobs.” (You want to work the fields in the hot sun?) “They’ll go on welfare.” (The undocumented can’t collect welfare. They can pick fruit, clean houses, risk their necks on roofs for 20, 30, 40 years, and still not be eligible for Social Security.) “Their kids use our schools and they all use medical services that we have to pay for.” (You want the kids roaming the streets, learning nothing except how to beg and steal? And without medical treatment, they can spread diseases to you and your family. Or maybe die of their injuries after an accident. But as Ebenezer Scrooge said, that would “decrease the surplus population.”)

The citizens who are most agitated refer to these newcomers as illegal aliens, as though they had arrived on spaceships. But many of them, particularly those from Mexico and Central America, are part Native American. They have as much or even more right to be here than immigrants of European descent—including me.

My wife Sylvia commented once that when the first humans crossed the Bering Strait and began to make their way south, one woolly mammoth turned to another and said, “There goes the neighborhood!”

News from the UK

A friend sent me a link to a report on a bill going through Parliament.  It has passed the House of Commons and is now before the House of Lords. I’ve copied part of it:

  • Asylum seekers arriving in the UK using methods deemed “illegal”, such as by boat via the English Channel, could be penalised and liable for up to four years in prison. Refugees will be sorted into ‘Group 1’ and ‘Group 2’. Refugees who have not complied with a very strict set of requirements (such as using ‘legal’ routes of arrival) will automatically be sorted into ‘Group 2’ and face an even more hostile environment.
  • The introduction of offshore-processing centres for asylum claimants, following an Australian model that has been slammed by human rights campaigners. Concentration camp-style ‘housing’ would also be brought in as standard for asylum seekers.
  • Increasing the standard of ‘proof’ needed by asylum seekers to show that they are in danger if they are deported to the original country they came from. The bill will place an even higher burden of evidence on those who have fled persecution, such as LGBTI+ people, who already have to jump through a humiliating series of hoops to ‘prove’ they are who they say they are. Those who hand in that evidence outside of a given time period face it being given “minimal weight” to further stack the odds against successful claims.
  • Obstacles introduced in the appeals process, such as preventing the fast-tracking of specific cases or removing certain appeals stages altogether. The Law Society says that these measures would “amount to the re-introduction of a process that was previously found to be unlawful”.
  • A reduction of the threshold of what encapsulates ‘serious’ crime (e.g. from a sentence of two years to 12 months, which could include non-violent offences) and thus removes protections from an individual under the Refugee Convention.

BTW, the bill was introduced by Home Secretary Priti Patel, the daughter of Indian/Ugandan immigrants. Ms. Patel is part of the right wing of the Conservative Party, and considers herself in the mold of Margaret Thatcher.


I want to be an alien
your alien
with two heads on serpentine necks
a prehensile tongue in each mouth
four arms like a female Shiva
and a cat-like flexible back.

I couldn’t buy clothes off the rack.
We’d have to hire a tailor
to fabricate some clothes with extra holes.
I’d need two hats.

You couldn’t introduce me.
All your friends would freak
until they caught the ardor
in your eyes, perceived
what those appendages were for,
and then turned green
as science fiction Martians,
green with jealousy.

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