Monday, February 18, 2008

Think You Can Spot An Undocumented Immigrant?

The anti-immigration crowd claims they can easily spot an undocumented immigrant. I have to laugh at this notion. I have 2 friends who were undocumented. Both came from upper middle class families and neither was Hispanic. One of them told me about how she got a job in high school. When it came time to show her social security card, she said she couldn't find it. The truth was it had a big stamp saying "not valid for employment" on it. The manager looked at her white skin, blue eyes, her American accent and "American sounding" name and said it was fine. It didn't even occur to him that she was undocumented.

In college I used to live next door to a pair of Mexican brothers. Neither spoke English very well and I remember rolling my eyes when my roommate assumed they were undocumented. I had to hold back the laughter because unbeknownst to her our other roommate actually was an undocumented immigrant. Anyways, the brothers grew up in Mexico but are American citizens through their father. Unlike my roommate they had dark skin and non European features and spoke with thick accents so she wrongly assumed the brothers were undocumented and our roommate was documented.

The point is you can't tell by just looking at someone if they are or aren't documented.

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