Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Don't cry for me Arizona.

Well, I'm from Arizona. It's even in the name. Therefore, I suppose I'm practically obligated to have something to say about an Arizona issue so big that it has made world news (last week I even watched it on China's English language news program). So here it goes. It's in list form, because I'm not willing to invest the effort to turn it into an essay. Considering how much I'm contradicting myself, that would be especially hard, anyway.

1. All nations regulate and control immigration. To not do so is to literally abandon national sovereignty itself. In the entire world, perhaps only the United States is under public pressure not to regulate immigration, or even to enforce its own immigration laws.

2. It never would have come to this if the federal government showed any interest in enforcing its own laws.

3. Mexico has used the porous American border as a safety valve to avoid unrest, and even potential revolution, among its own citizens. It also props up its own economy with the huge inflow of cash that come from remittances to family members from Mexican workers in the U.S. Yet despite it’s insistence that America not enforce it’s own immigration laws, the Mexican government brutally patrols its own southern border with Guatemala.

4. Cesar Chavez, whose name is invoked by activists, openly opposed illegal immigration.

5. Radical immigrant groups are nationalists and separatists. The useless media hyperventilates every time someone in Texas says anything even mildly secessionist. However, the "La Raza" activist groups promote it explicitly. I have personally worked with these types of “immigration” activists. I can tell you that their antipathy for the United States is profound, that their desire for secession is literal, and that they are perfectly transparent about it whenever they think that you can’t understand Spanish (and sometimes you don't even need that, like the link above shows). Considering that several major elected officials in Arizona and other states have deep ties to them, their agenda should not be dismissed as irrelevant and “fringe”. It is a legitimate danger to the republic.

6. The pro-business Right conveniently forgets that they wanted, and gain by, the labor of immigrants in the first place. They suppose that they can have free flow of capital and resources without having a flow of labor as well. It is deeply naïve. They need to admit that the workers are being drawn to the U.S. by legitimate free market principles. Free market conservatives should be leading the charge to streamline and shorten the process for legal immigration.

7. Bitter and enraged men like Russell Pearce of the Arizona State Legislature (a chief sponsor of the current immigration bill) are constant reminders to me as to why I’ve never registered as a Republican.

8. Any elected official who calls for an economic boycott of his own state is a first-class idiot, and a betrayer of his constituents. He should be run out of town on a rail. Raul Grijalva, this means you.

9. Illegal immigration and illegal immigrants are closely correlated to crime, including violent gang crime. To pretend otherwise is a denial of reality.

10. Republicans seemed almost determined to alienate Mexican-Americans. If they had any sense, they would realize that Hispanics are natural allies in the support for traditional family values.

11. Democrats have sold their souls to identity politics. If they had any scruples, they would stop their tactics of electoral divide and conquer by trying to stir up division between groups of American citizens. They need to quit using immigration as a propaganda tool to paint valid concerns by American citizens as “racist”. And if they were more intellectually honest, they would push for immigration law to be changed, rather than just acquiesce on the law being ignored.

12. If Hispanic (and any other minority group) voters were wiser, they would realize that no political party will ever lift a finger for any voting bloc whose votes they can take for granted.

13. Asking for identification is not the same thing as racial profiling.

14. The two stupidest memes in the entire immigration debate are as follows: For the right, it is “Of course they are criminals, they are ‘illegal’ immigrants.” For the left, it is “Show me a twelve foot fence, and I will show you a thirteen foot ladder”.

The first is a circular argument, in which the speaker tries to distract through verbal sleight of hand from the actual question. Everyone knows that it is “illegal”.... the point under debate is whether or not
that illegality is just. To reflexively turn back to the meaning of the word itself is semantic obfuscation.

As for the second, it is a lazy attempt to paint all immigration enforcement as futile. If the Left actually believed that government was so powerless, they would abandon all of their great grand schemes (of which they are so fond) to regulate every aspect of human behavior and opinion. They should just admit that they don’t want immigration law enforced and be done with it.

15. A great many Mexican-American citizens actually support strict immigration enforcement. It would be very hard for this new law to get the 70% support that it has without them.

16. Some of the very best students I ever had back in Arizona were illegal immigrants. There needs to be a much better and faster process for those that really do have something to contribute to our society to gain legal residency.


David Moulton said...

I can't help but wonder if this will lean us in the direction of a National ID card. All of this just shouts that at me, in fact.

colleeeen said...

I should have known you would have some very thoughtful, evenhanded takes on this issue. I would like to see some hard data showing illegals are more likely to be involved in crime - do you have a source? I live in a neighborhood populated with many families who are so very Mexican (by which I mean not at all Americanized) that I assume they are probably not legal. But aside from having slightly more graffiti than the fancy HOA neighborhoods in my area, we seem to be a very safe, low-crime area. So I also don't buy the idea that illegal immigrants are all criminals. I also have to laugh at the assertion that mass deportation would save us money in social services - any legal resident who takes the sort of low-paying jobs that illegal immigrants do right now will still require social services (section 8, WIC, etc) to survive. But our national educational failures are another story entirely.

My idea is some sort of national program that offers an opportunity to come clean, pay fines, and obtain some kind of legal temporary worker status that requires an eventual return to one's homeland. Anybody who won't register then becomes subject to deportation. This would only work in conjunction with stricter enforcement of our borders, which could possibly be done by military means once we can free up some more troops from our wars. I know we've had a guest worker program in the past; perhaps we can learn from the mistakes and successes we had the last time around.