The Paradox of Visas and the American Dream
The playing out of class bias in the national debate over immigration reveals the paradoxical nature of the American Dream and the ways in which it is invoked. Recent media coverage of the legal obstacles to obtain H1-B visas for highly skilled workers (see article below) highlights the class component of immigration. On the one side we have educated immigrants singing the praises of the American Dream, of the opportunities which drew them to this country. On the other hand we have the discourse of exceptionalism surrounding such visa requests. Couched in terms of the promise such excellent workers hold and the assets they will be to the United States, ultimately this is about hand-picking future American citizens based on racial, ethnic, and class criterion. Does anyone mention the incredible contributions (possible and future) that working class Mexicans make? In essence, we can not draw on notions of an American Dream to simultaneously encourage exceptionalism and deny entrance to those who have the most to gain from such ideology. Veit Bader’s work on the ethics of immigration offers important insights into these contradictions that lie at the heart of immigration debates. Framed within the context of normative criterion of citizenship, belonging, and universal rights, Bader offers important insights into the philosophical dilemmas that ultimately anchor issues of immigration, migration, and citizenship.