Friday, November 23, 2007

It’s All the Mexicans Fault

With the ongoing debate about our immigration policy and lack of enforcement of current immigration laws, one thing has been made painfully clear in all the rhetoric and hub-bub. It is all the Mexicans fault and if they would just go back to Mexico and quit jumping the border America would be alright. This is the current solution to the immigration problem being bandied about by the Republicans. Basically we need to build a giant wall like in Israel and shoot anybody that tries to cross it. It’s amazing but since 9/11 illegal immigrants have now all been branded with the terrorists iron, so now not only are they taking the jobs of hard working Americans they are also planning some subversive activities.

Before we begin to start lynching illegal migrant workers I think it would be a good idea to make sure they are guilty first. My concern is that immigration is a smoke screen being used by the Republicans to divert attention away from the real issues that are confronting our country. It is also a cloak for the more racist elements of our society that see the “darkening” of America and want to stop it. The Republicans ever ready to exploit a racially charged issue have jumped on the anti-immigrant bandwagon as they did with the civil rights movement. Today instead of supporting “states rights”, they are supporting “native-born” rights. As if any of them were truly native born, they only seem to support native born up until about the 1600’s.

We have been wrestling with immigration for years and yet now it has been elevated to a hot button topic. Do we need to fix and amend our immigration policies? Of course we do, but I don’t think it is wise to do so in such a charged atmosphere. It is precisely this type of charged atmosphere that led to the invasion of Iraq and we all know how well that strategy is working out. Immigration in America is a complex issue and despite the sound bite rhetoric being tossed around, it is a topic that will require input and analysis from a lot of different areas of expertise. There is no easy answer and locking down the borders is definitely not it, this will only cause hardship for all concerned. Instead of having a debate of how things “should be”, we need to understand the situation as “it is” and begin to initiate changes that our both just and humane.

What we are hearing from the Republican candidates is more pandering to the base about immigration. They have devised biometric ID cards for all immigrants and aliens, build a giant wall, and add 23,000 more border patrol agents. While these suggestions will fire up the Party base it adds nothing to the real conversation and solutions to our immigration policies. What we need is an honest national debate on what is possible and prudent versus what will stoke the fires of prejudice.

The Democrats have been silent on the issue for fear of alienating any crossover or independent minded voters. They have offered plenty of generalities but very little in the way of definitive answers. One thing they all seem to agree on is an improved process for legal immigration. What that process will look like no one is saying.

Immigration and border security are important issues in the minds of many Americans, but we must not allow it to be used to avert our attention from the bleeding of our national treasure for an endless war, the lack of health insurance for too many Americans, the loss of democracy and personal freedoms and the siphoning off of wealth for the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. If we don’t deal with these issues it won’t matter how many immigrants come into the country, because there won’t be a country to defend. The defenders of the status quo will always create these “hot button” issues to distract the American public from the issues that will make a real difference in our lives. Instead of focusing on these other issues we get abortion, gay marriage, and immigration, so while our money and country is being stolen from the inside we are worried about these phantom menaces from the outside. In the centuries since our country has been founded we have had few direct assaults from the outside and each time they have been responded to, so for us to conclude that foreigners are going to bring down America is paranoia and not supported by the facts.

I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but the Mexicans are not responsible for all the things that are wrong in America, for many years they have provided a positive contribution to our nation. For us to deny that contribution or to minimize it would be wrong and unfair to all those immigrants who have come here and worked hard to help build and maintain America. It is always easy to blame some group or another for the problems besetting our country, from the beginning there have always been some group to blame. Whether that group is the Irish, the Germans, the Polish, the Chinese, the Italians, or the Blacks the wealthy class has always relied on the natural prejudice and fears of some to sidetrack scrutiny rightly intended for them and their shell game policies.

The immigration controversy revolves around questions of national identity, security in a post-Sept.-11 world and the workings of a $12 trillion economy. Illegal immigrants are essential workers on American farms, in hotels and restaurants and on construction sites. An estimated 7.2 million illegals provide much of the unskilled muscle that the USA's Information Age economy requires: 36% of insulation workers, 29% of farm hands and 27% of butchers.

That's nothing new. Historically, the contributions of the Irish, Germans, Italians, Mexicans and other groups to the American edifice are essential elements of the national belief system. Immigrants labored, often under harsh conditions, in New England paper mills, Midwestern steel plants and along the transcontinental railroads

Yeah, what the hell who needs them, we’ll let Lou Dobbs and all those other Republicans pick next year’s fruit harvest.


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