Immigration Debate with a Transracial/Transnational Adoptee’s Analysis
In this ongoing controversy over immigration it’s sometimes hard to find elected officials pro-citizenship for illegal immigrants. It’s a complex issue and I will analyze it from a transracial adoptee’s perspective of course.
Immigration reform today means border control-Policing the border through legal channels such as ICE, and through illegal channels such as the Minutemen on the Mexican-American border.
While this immigration debate rages on, quietly, in the background are transracial, international adoptees being brought into this country through legal as well as illegal channels without any debate over our immigrant status or legitimacy. We are naturalized citizens of this country. We came to this country as part of a transracial family where our parents are white. This privilege should be clear enough to most. But think of it this way. We as adoptees are part of globalized capitalism. While we may not necessarily want to see the political ramifications behind having dollar signs attached to our backs, this is still a political statement-and adoption policy has made it very easy for us to come to this country into the arms of white parents. What I’m trying to ask is, what is the difference between us as immigrants coming from outside the US that allows us easier access to naturalization than immigrant families of color? Why is it that we are so easily accepted politically into this country? There is certainly no complaint from either side of the aisle that we are taking away jobs…We are adopted into white privilege. While we don’t necessarily benefit from it racially, we benefit in the form of class privilege-the fact remains that as transracial international adoptees we are not even considered immigrants. I think it’s really important to make this distinction. While many would deny any notion of “ownership” I think we need to ask ourselves the hard questions about how the dollar sign DOES affect our identity as easily accepted citizens in the US.
I’ve spoke with some transnational, transracial adoptees who refuse to consider this logic when assessing the immigration debate today. These are questions that need to be asked, and need to be used to address the power structure in this country that allows babies of color who are adopted into white families, not only a full array of class privileges and resources, but more importantly, how immigrant families of color enter this country wanting a better life for themselves and their family (just as our adopted parents are looking to provide us) and are unable to get the jobs, access to social services/resources, insurance, healthcare and much much more which we as adult adoptees now take for granted. While we may have it easy as adoptees who speak perfect English, and who have class privileges and resources to overcome hardships that we may face in our futures, we must take a firm stance on immigration. This country was built on Native Indian lands, and was used to push the boundaries to steal territory from Mexico such as Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of California. By virtue of these founding principles, ironically white Americans are immigrants, and Native Indians and Latinos (more relevantly, Mexicans) are the native peoples. Adoptees need to see this and understand that we play an important role not only as privileged Asian Americans but also as privileged immigrants.