Thursday, May 18, 2006

a world without walls

Why is the Mexican border such a political problem for America at this moment? One answer is that nowhere else in the world do two countries with such different standards of living and relative wealth sharre such a massive border. The only way we are going to get people to stop moving from Mexico to here is the same way the European stopping their population from migrating to America, by imporiving the quality f life so that the Mexicans (or the Salvadoreans or the Chinese or anyone else) can find a good job, buy a home and raise a family at home. But although liberals may pay lip service to inequality as a root cause, the more they go along with inequitable laws and notions like guest worker programs that are vague on how and if our guests will need to be escorted back home.

Militarizing the Mexican border will not keep terrorists from crossing the totally undefended Canadian border or legally through Europe. It would send a signal to one of our biggest trading partners that we don't trust them. And then there are the arguments for deportation, one of which was made using the Holocaust as a proof-of-concept. This is the bitter fruit of the Southern strategy of the GOP: years of aligning themsleves politically with people who hold extremist racist visions and fears for America. Now, when the President has seen his policies fully repudiated, the conservatives excuse their exit from the Crawford consensus on the pretext of 'amnesty for law-breakers'! Even as the AG has possibly illegal grandparents, illustrating the tenuous skeleton of the modern Republican party. Now Saint W has become Jorge Arbusto, as they claim that Holocaust analogy was only meant to show logisitcs and not the morality of ripping families and businesses apart for some hysterical perception of cultural doom.

I'd like to say its all reactionary paleoconservatives, but then I read this article about a paleoliberal environmentalist who started this current wave of Know-Nothingism by founding the anti-immigration group FAIR in 1979 based on a specious Malthusian view of Zero Population Group, John Tanton. A retired opthamologist from Petoskey in the upper peninsula of Michigan, Tanton and his wife left the original ZPG group to found the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Tanton also helped to found the talking points factories NumbersUSA, U.S. English and the Center for Immigration Studies. He is also co-author of the Immigration Invasion with Wayne Lutton, from the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens.

The thing I find the most ridiculous is the rhetoric about law-breaking and how it makes illegal immigrants more likely to commit a truly heinous criminal act. Does that mean if I am jaywalking rather than waiting for the crosswalk sign to light up, that I am more likely to throw a brick at a baby carriage once I get to the other side. \but particularly offensive to me as a descendant of Pilgrim, is the argument that starts: well, my ancestors came here legally, Ellis Island, etc. This is a naive view of the history of immigration law in the US. When some of my ancestors immigrated there were no laws to cover immigration and no one to enforce them. This is not even to mention the millions who were forced to immigrate aginst their will to serve as slaves. Before 1965 anybody could cross the Mexican border at will. Good fences don't always make good neighbors. But keep making the 'National Socialist' comparison by all means. It will be good to talk to watch the Southwest of America turn Blue. For people trying to encourage assimilation, please note you can't kick someone in the ass and shake their hand at the same time.

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