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A Salute to Immigrants

The United States is a nation of immigrants.

The vast majority of you reading this are descended from immigrants (aside from those few who are Native American). I know I am. My paternal grandfather came over from Italy as a child. My maternal grandfather was Irish-American, a Brady whose own ancestors hailed from Oldcastle in County Meath. My paternal grandmother was half German and half Welsh. My maternal grandmother had French and English ancestry. I am a mongrel to the bone. In short, American.

Wherever they came from, and whenever they made the crossing, all of my immigrant ancestors faced hardships, poverty, and discrimination when they came here. They came looking for freedom, they came looking for a better life. And they found it, or made it... and in the process they stopped being Irish or Italian or German and became Americans.

The process is still going on today. Men and women dreaming of a better life still look to America, and cross oceans and deserts by whatever means they can to find that better life. They face hardships and discrimination as well. Not everyone welcomes them. Some talk of walls, of keeping people out, of sending them back. My ancestors faced the same sort of talk. So did yours. It's an old old story, as old as our republic. Millard Fillmore is dead and forgotten, but the Know Nothing Party is alive and well today, under other names. They still know nothing.

But some of us remember where we came from. Some of us remember that it was the immigrants, those tired poor huddled masses, who made America great to begin with.

From September 23 to September 30, the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe will proudly be screening five great films about immigration and the immigrant experience. A mix of old films and new films, featuring a wide range of actors of all races, colors, and ethnicities, by some of cinema's finest writers and directors. Comedy, drama, terror; immigrants have known it all, and these movies will reflect that. Some are among my own favorite movies. Others I have yet to see.

Here are the trailers for the films we'll be screening:

MOSCOW ON THE HUDSON


THE LOST CITY


AVALON


DESIERTO


SIN NOMBRE


Check the Jean Cocteau website for dates and showtimes.

In addition to the films themselves, we plan to feature some appearances by the actors, directors, and some of our local political figures, talking about the movies, their own families, the issues surrounding immigration, and the like. We'll have more details on that as the dates firm up. But I know I will be kicking things off myself on Friday, September 23.

And as a way of welcoming our newest Americans, during the entire week, admission to all shows will be FREE for anyone who can show us a green card.

(And while I cannot promise a taco truck on every corner, we do hope to have a wide variety of food trucks turning up in front of the JCC at peak times, offering all sorts of tasty treats).

Comments

Aaron Kemerling
Sep. 11th, 2016 01:00 am (UTC)
I agree to a point
We are a Nation (Country) of immigrants. My own Maternal line is almost entirely Scandanavian 2nd or 3rd generation off the boat. I have no issues with people who try to immigrate by the rules. The issue is the intense Coyote culture of smugglers bringing in undocumented immigrants/emigrants for a price which becomes their personal profit. If we can establish a viable immigration/emigration policy I am all for it. but it seems we get a LOT of illegals for every legal. This places a burden on public services from healthcare, to jobs, to welfare, to racial tension. This CANNOT be healthy. Nor can it be entirely judged misplaced. IMO. The answer is not another Berlin Wall, but an answer needs to be found.....
asher63
Sep. 11th, 2016 01:11 am (UTC)
RE: I agree to a point
I agree. It is possible to support legal immigration without supporting illegal immigration.
think4yerslf
Sep. 24th, 2016 01:41 am (UTC)
RE: I agree to a point
Amen
artikh2
Sep. 11th, 2016 01:37 am (UTC)
RE: I agree to a point
I'm pretty sure your Scandinavian ancestors never applied for a visa or, god forbid, participate in a lottery to get one. They just showed up on Ellis island, stated their name, and got a leave to enter. Those rules you so keen on, are the cause for a "Coyote culture" you so afraid of.
jamesonquinn
Sep. 11th, 2016 04:55 am (UTC)
Re: I agree to a point
> but it seems we get a LOT of illegals for every legal.

This "seeming" is wrong. Over 30 million legal immigrants; around 11 million illegal immigrants.

Also, using "illegals" as a noun is dehumanizing.

> This places a burden on public services from healthcare, to jobs, to welfare, to racial tension.

Immigrants in general are a huge net benefit to healthcare (medical education in the Philippines is excellent, and is rightly seen as a way to employment options both at home in the archipelago and here in the US); to the US economy, including job creation (as the well-studied case of the Marielo boatlift demonstrates); and to the US public finances which pay for "welfare" (since immigrants, legal or illegal, are more likely to be working-age and tax-paying). As for "racial tension", the ones to blame for that are racists, and most of those are native-born. Immigrants, on the other hand, often end up joining mixed families who are on the front lines of breaking down racial tension.

Edited at 2016-09-11 05:02 am (UTC)

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