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In Michelle Alexander’s article, “None Of Us Deserve Citizenship” (2018), she asks how moral are our immigration laws? Do they treat people with dignity and humanity and is there legitimate concern for all of those involved? The author goes even further and asks if anyone really deserves birthright citizenship, simply because they were lucky enough (or unlucky) to be born in a certain country. Do we deserve our citizenship if we did nothing to obtain it other than being born?
The author, Michelle Alexander, is a lawyer specializing in plaintiff side class action suits alleging race and gender discrimination and has directed the Civil Rights clinic at Stanford Law School, her alma matter (Michelle Alexander, 2019). She was also a law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun at the United States Supreme Court. As a highly educated woman of colour I would generally think that she is subsequently in favour of access to education for women and people of colour. As a clerk for a Justice at the Supreme Court I would also subsequently think that she believes in justice and the judicial system and has faith in the government even if she might question it professionally. I would also therefore theorize that she believes in social order rather than anarchy. The author believes that the current immigration laws are inhumane and that they wrongfully treat people who are simply trying to live a life free from oppression and who are searching for their American ideals of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” (Alexander, 2018). She doesn’t call for the complete dissolution of the government and its practices but rather she fights to make the system better for everyone. The author clearly believes that we can correct the system and she has hope that we can do better.
The author also discusses birthright citizenship and how it can separate families and how arbitrary it is to consider someone a citizen based on where they are born. I strongly believe in the merits of immigration and I also believe that Canada and the United States can, and should, accept as many immigrants as possible as well as refugees and other people seeking asylum from violent situations. I think it is our duty as a nation that is built on immigration and if we must dedicate federal funds to programs that help to situate immigrants and make them productive members of society then I think we should. I also believe that dedicating funds to infrastructure and building more cities because we are a vast country with lots of uninhabited space that has the potential to provide a home for many more people than we currently have as citizens.
Canada and the United States are both physically huge countries and when people started migrating here in the 1500’s there was no infrastructure to support anybody, we had to build it. Immigrants built the Trans-Canada Railway (Marsh, 2009), without it our vast and great country wouldn’t have been able to grow as it did in the 1800’s. Unless you are of Aboriginal descent I’m not sure it is logical to be against immigration to be honest, unless you ignore the vast history of colonization and genocide that the Europeans carried out in order to gain control of this continent (European colonization (2019). It is not something to be proud of by any means, but we cannot ignore that without immigration most of us would not live on this continent, to do so would be hypocritical. I’m not suggesting a blind acceptance of every person that applies for emigration to Canada or the United States, I do believe in the screening for a criminal profile and accepting people who fit a certain employment need. Canada has a big problem with finding doctors willing to work in small towns (Newberry, 2018). A major issue Canada has with immigration is the refusal to accept law and medical degrees from other countries (Belluz, 2012), therefore forcing many qualified doctors and lawyers redo their entire education, an ask that is often unrealistic and a huge financial burden for someone who is just starting out in a new country. If we could have a standardized test to determine if they have the qualifications that meet our standards then we might be able to fill a need on both ends.
What are any of us but anchor babies, if not several generations removed? Every other country in the world considers someone a citizen if they are born in their country, why should the United States consider themselves so special and different? Most people just want the best for their children and if someone travelled thousands of miles in order to provide their unborn child a better life, I don’t think the government should turn them away. They should welcome them and try to find them a productive place in our society. Do we really want to be the country that turns away mothers-to-be in their most urgent time of need? Is this what we want to say about the United States (or Canada) on the world stage? I don’t think I would be proud to call myself a Canadian if I knew that was a standard Canadian policy. It might seem arbitrary to be worried about a policy that the United States is discussing but as Canadians we are not so far (physically or psychologically) from our rowdy neighbors to the South. Canada legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, the United States ten years later in 2015. In 2012, Colorado became the first State to legalize marijuana for recreational use, and Canada as a country followed suit in October of last year (see, Chavez & Simon, 2018; Lopez, 2018; Same-sex marriage in Canada, 2019; Same-sex marriage in the United States, 2019). We tend to follow each other in our political trends (Ford and Trump have become almost synonymous in the media) and we should pay attention to what is happening in the States as it doesn’t usually take too long to make its way up North, or vice versa.
Alexander, M. (21 Dec. 2018). None Of Us Deserve Citizenship. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/21/opinion/sunday/immigration-border-policy-citizenship.html?rref=collection%2Fcolumn%2Fmichelle-alexander&action=click&contentCollection=opinion®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection.
Belluz, J. (20 Apr. 2012). Is Canada discriminating against foreign-trained doctors? Macleans. Retrieved from https://www.macleans.ca/society/health/is-canada-discriminating-against-foreign-trained-doctors/.
Chavez, N., & Simon D. (17 Oct. 2018). Canada just legalized recreational pot. Here’s what you need to know. CNN. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/17/health/canada-legalizes-recreational-marijuana/index.html.
Lopez, G. (14 Nov. 2018). Marijuana has been legalized in 10 states and Washington, DC. Vox. Retrieved from https://www.vox.com/identities/2018/8/20/17938336/marijuana-legalization-states-map.
Marsh, J. H. (25 Mar. 2009). Railway History. In The Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica Canada. Retrieved from https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/railway-history.
Newberry, S. (7 Mar. 2018). Northern Ontario badly needs doctors. But ‘forcing’ them to work there is no solution. Healthy Debate. Retrieved from https://healthydebate.ca/opinions/northern-ontario-doctors.
Wikipedia contributors. (26 Jan. 2019). European colonization of the Americas. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=European_colonization_of_the_Americas&oldid=880271864.
Wikipedia contributors. (31 Jan. 2019). Michelle Alexander. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Michelle_Alexander&oldid=881138261.
Wikipedia contributors. (11 Jan. 2019). Same-sex marriage in Canada. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Same-sex_marriage_in_Canada&oldid=877829848.
Wikipedia contributors. (30 Jan. 2019). Same-sex marriage in the United States. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States&oldid=880901085.
The ‘nature’ of opinion is subjective, by definition. In Lecture Professor Bell defined an opinion as “a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge” and a matter of opinion as “something not capable of being proven either way”.
Therefore, an opinion is just someone’s personal beliefs, based on their lived experience which may or may not take into account facts about the chosen topic. It is subjective to each person’s world view which is based on many contributing factors such as race, culture, religion, political views, upbringing and so much more. It is however even more complicated because by this logic twins born and raised in the same household would be expected to have the same opinion on a given subject but this isn’t true by any means. An opinion can be shaped by so many different factors that it is almost impossible to name all of these influences.
Opinions are typically gut feelings, intrinsically inherent to our character, buried deep and forgotten until it is awoken by someone rattling its cage and forcing us to confront them. It is this deep critical thought, coupled with a curiosity for the truth, that is so important if we want to consider ourselves a free-thinking and independent society that doesn’t rely on the government or the media to control our thoughts and emotions.
It can be really uncomfortable and difficult to have conversations with people who have completely opposing opinions than your own but I think this is important in order to try and see life from another perspective. It doesn’t mean your opinion is wrong, or that theirs is right, sometimes the two can co-exist in harmony. As a writer I find it especially interesting to put myself in someone else’s shoes for character development. It is the best way to create dynamic and unique characters that have their own distinct personalities from each other.
As a young writer I used to sit on the TTC without listening to music or reading or falling asleep (the last one is the hardest for me!) and observe people going about their commute. Most days I saw ordinary people also falling asleep and reading on the subway but sometimes I would be rewarded with a little daily transaction that I would have otherwise missed. One that comes into mind is on my 6am commute on the 501 Queen streetcar getting on at the beginning of the line in the West end. It was early in the morning so I was one of the only people on the streetcar but a middle-aged man came on and immediately you could smell the booze reeking off of him. Otherwise he was just another harmless drunk going home (safely mind you, not driving) after a late night (early morning). He sits down and some change falls out of his pocket. He looks down slowly and I’m afraid he’s going to fall down because he is leaning over precariously but instead he reaches out his arm and hovers it over the change. He gives off a shit-eating grin and slurs: “Now I’m going to use my Magneto Powers!”. I struggled to keep my composure and not laugh because I didn’t want him thinking I was maliciously laughing at him because instead I was delighted at his imagination: even while drunk he was able to conjure an image of himself as the powerful Magneto- able to control metal in all of it’s forms. That’s something I would think of, completely sober at 6am on my way to work- wishing I didn’t have to bend down and pick up whatever it was I had lost. This man instantly became relatable to me despite our differences. This is the value of an opinion because it can change yours.
My name is Sophie Corbiere and I am in the English and Professional Writing Honors Program. I was born and raised in Toronto and I love the big city and the many diverse neighbourhoods it has. I grew up in the West end on Roncesvalles and despite being in a big city it had a ‘town’ vibe-maybe that’s why it is known as ‘Roncesvalles Village’. Despite not going to the local high school a lot of my friends lived in the neighbourhood and I knew a lot of people from working in the neighbourhood so for a long time it was hard to walk down the street without seeing someone I knew. That has changed in the six years since I moved out of Ronces and it is something I miss.
I attended French schools since kindergarten because my family is mostly French but my passion has always been in English Literature. In English class in high school I was always eagerly excited for the next English book to read, rather than what I saw as stuffy old French authors. I’ve since come around a bit but I do always struggle with interest levels when it comes to reading in French.
I hope to become an author in the future. I graduated from high school in 2005, so I am a bit older than the typical University student but this means I have more life experience and motivation to do better as I know what the alternatives are and I am determined to achieve my goals now that I’ve been given a chance to pursue them. The idea of creating a podcast is very daunting to me but I am willing to go on the journey and I hope I learn skills that I might be able to use in my future career.
I love to read and write, listen to music and I love to travel. I’ve always been able to tell a good story-I love to weave together an intriguing story that entices your imagination and takes you to another place. I also love listening to a good story, the joy of getting lost in another life is thrilling. The good thing about living in a diverse metropolitan is that there is always someone with an interesting story if you have enough time and patience to listen.
I think a research shortcut commonly used by University undergraduate students is that they rely heavily on Google and not much else. Google is a powerful and easily accessible tool however it should be just that, a tool that you can use but not the only one. Google Scholar is another commonly used tool and it is also a great resource but I think one that frequently gets overlooked is librarians themselves. In the Scott Library for instance there are several librarians who are available to sit with you and help you research. They will help you with online research as well as search for books that can be useful to you or other resources that you might have otherwise overlooked. And that is just our library on the Keele campus, there is also the Glendon campus and if you have access to them you can also visit the many libraries of U of T. And when I mean access I mean can you physically get to the library? If you can find them and locate them they will allow you to go in and do research-you probably won’t be able to borrow any books but you can take notes and/or photocopy. These are typically considered older research methods that I don’t think will occur to most younger students today.