Missing in the Immigration Debate are the Immigrants

As I sit and watch the immigration debate unfolding, I can’t help but notice that the one voice missing in the debate are the immigrants. For me, that’s very telling because everyone else is managing the narrative for immigrants. Look around you and you’ll note that there are little to no immigrant voices in the debate. At best, the immigrants; legal, refugees and undocumented, are props in the debate.

The mass news media has talking heads for the immigration laws, the politics of immigration, for the children separated from their parents, for the organizers of the protests and the counter protestors and even for the border security agencies, but there are no actual immigrants talking about the issue.

Whether it is Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and even smaller news outlets, both on television and online, the immigration narrative is being driven by people who are not recent immigrants, much less from the undocumented in our midst.

The mass-media is not entirely to blame because many of us immigrants have been taught that it is better to keep our heads down than to expose ourselves to the debate on immigration. There is also the issue of language as well as the obvious issue that the undocumented are not about to put their faces on television.

Nonetheless, the most important voice on the immigration debate remains silent.

I believe this is the reason why the immigration debate is distorted with half-truths and outright lies.