9/17/2007

DWP! Thorny Issue: Illegal Immigration

Posted by Brandon |

I don’t totally know how I feel about illegal immigration. It’s such a thorny issue in so many ways with a massive amount of circular arguments that it ends up being neither a liberal nor conservative issue that is mind-bogglingly complex.

Without applying any arguments to the situation, I hold absolutely no ill will toward illegal immigrants. It’s a natural part of a country’s growth and in many ways is complimentary to our way of life. Despite what we perceive as problems with our country, there are still people who risk everything, including their lives, to get the opportunities that America affords its residents. Most of the people that I know of that have come over illegally are working their ass off for awful wages in terrible conditions but are happy to do it because they are providing for their families or trying to make a better life for themselves. It’s the ultimate pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps story, it’s the American Dream, that’s why we are all here.

The one argument against illegal immigration that does anything for me is about how much strain it’s putting on our health care and educational systems. I can understand that argument, there’s empirical data to show how much it costs and the time involved dealing with illegal aliens. It’s a rational reason to cite as a reason to curb illegal immigration (it can NEVER really be stopped, no matter what Rudy Guiliani says). But even that argument can be traced back to more fundamental issues like the sorry state of health care and education generally in this country and issues of poverty that would be present with or without illegal immigrants.

But the number one reason that I’ll never get behind any anti-illegal immigration policy is because so much of the rhetoric used by anti-illegal groups are rooted in racism. They throw out all sorts of claims such as they bring disease over, they are criminals, they bring gangs and drugs into our communities all the while focusing on one ethnic group specifically, Hispanics. They engender fear and hate toward a group of people that is largely legally here.

Yesterday at an anti-immigration protest out in front of a church in Simi Valley that is sheltering a mother who might be deported to Mexico without her resident husband and children (it's kind of complicated), a small group of skinheads tried to join in the rally. To be fair, the protesters didn't allow them to be a part of their group, but to me, the fact that skinheads are on your side and want to be a part of what you are doing, that's a big red flag.

And because the anti-illegal movement is growing so much and becoming so contentious, all Hispanics now have to suffer. Hispanics here are all starting to be looked at and treated as if they are illegal immigrants. That just isn't fair. For example, the online version of my local newspaper, the Ventura County Star, allows registered users to comment on their stories and pretty much whenever a Hispanic name is given in a story about nearly anything, the trolls come out from under their bridges and start shouting about illegal immigration (“deport the criminal!”) whether it has anything to do with or says anything about their resident status.

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Red Star (as the conservatives love to call it) printed a snippet profiling five Hispanics in the area that work or volunteer in positions that are contributing to keeping the Latino culture alive. Predictably, there were a couple comments like this...

"The Latino culture doesn't have a problem being 'kept alive' it's taking over every neighborhood, city and state in the United States."

Between idiotic statements like that, skinheads trying to join anti-illegal groups, my love for mariachi music and the fact that I always root for the underdog, I'm starting to kind of pull for illegal immigrants. Whatever pisses off the racist trolls is good by me.

4 comments:

Dan said...

We have a similar situation in England. Certain newspapers blame all societies ills on the "millions of illegal immigrants swamping our country" while happily ignoring the fact that the net population of Britain is actually going down.

Bah.

Incurable Insomniac said...

I stay away from these issues too, for all the reasons you state.

I welcome anyone to America who comes here according to the rules. Welcome aboard! But the key word in this issue is "illegal". To me it's a simple thing. Come here legally or come here illegally. I don't understand the argument.

Nettl and I are planning a move to Austria next year and that entail a whole lot more red tape than America requires. We have to have international health insurance, for example, and proof of a minimum income. If we chose not to play the game by their rules, we would be deported, no questions asked.

Seems pretty simple to me.

Hilly said...

This is a complex issue and like you said, it's neither left or right winged. I wonder if those of us who live in highly populated immigration states have a different view than those who do not.

Besides what you mentioned, I have one huge problem with illegal immigration, but I'll save that for an in person discussion! Other than that, whatever...at least they are willing to take the jobs that lazy white trash men won't!

Brandon said...

But there is a problem with the term illegal immigrant in general. We only really apply that term to people crossing the Mexico/US border. Otherwise, we typically call them refugees. Cuban refugees, Chinese refugees, etc. They are said to have defected even though most of them have done exactly the same thing. There are lots of other people coming into our country illegally but the only ones that are dubbed illegal immigrants and are singled out like that are Hispanics.

You also have the resources to go through the process and legally move somewhere. The people crossing the border illegally never had those resources. It's not the same thing at all.

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