Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Boogie's Immigration Solution: Less Worry, More Anal Sex

I came across this article after receiving an e-mail from some right-wing Zombie chiding the US for tolerating this "Immigration Issue" for as long as it has. The article, essentially, suggests that Mexico will file lawsuits in the US if Bush's plan to implement National Guard platoons at likely border crossings between this country and Mexico. Vicente Fox, President of Mexico, claims that the US's decision to do this will wind up with more migrants dying, because a) the hope for a possible amnesty program in the US will be too enticing for many migrant workers to ignore; b) even if the National Guard troops are deployed in a administrative role only (ie only support and intelligence, not actually detaining migrants) this will simply lead to migrants risking more dangerous aras to cross into the US; c) and will result in more deaths.

So -- essentially -- what this article suggests is that the US doesn't have the right to police its own borders in the manner in which it chooses.

Again, I repeat:


I understand NAFTA and other trade programs are designed to encourage and mandate free trade and more financial fluidity between nations. I understand that Mexico's economy practically is on the brink of collapse. And I understand that many of these workers are trying to feed their families. But who has the right to suggest the US cannot police -- and PROTECT -- its borders? Ultimately, the President has that right. And by President, I mean Bush, not Fox. A Mexican President filing a lawsuit in the US against the US policing its own borders is as ludicrous as electing Snap, Crackle and Pop, respectively, as heads of the House, Senate and Supreme Court. If you're foreign-born and in this country illegally (or are related to people who are), you will likely believe this is a human rights issue; if you are not foreign-born and, for the most part, do not know or have family that is in this country illegally, you likely see this as a political issue. It is both. However, the problem is that it is a political issue first and foremost.

Point of fact: if the Mexican government is concerned about the welfare of its people dying in their quest to reach American soil, here's a tip: prevent them from crossing into American territory. Here's another tip: if they are on American soil, they're US property, and they can be detained, shot on sight, imprisoned, or simply tossed back over the fence. So in either case, if the Mexican government cares so much about these people, perhaps it should expend some effort in insuring they are safe and secure and remain on Mexican soil.

It's fairly clear that Mexican officials are decrying the US decision to deploy National Guard troops at these border crossings because they want these people easing into and out of the US; if migrant workers can enter and exit the US easily, they can earn good wages (in US dollars) and spend it in Mexico. For every dollar Juan and Maria make in the US, that's a Mexican dollar saved by the Mexican government (ie welfare). More importantly, that's one dollar less a Mexican has to earn by stealing in order to pay to food and clothe and house his family. In that, I'm not suggesting that Mexicans are criminals or immoral; what I am suggesting is that if a man has a family to support and no job, he will eventually find a way to provide for them, even if it means risking his life (by crossing the Rio Grande under threat of high-powered rifles with crosshairs aiming at him) or by committing crime.

The simple fact is that whatever treaties, be it NAFTA or any other trade agreements, are in place, they cannot supercede the US need to protect its own borders. As for a possible amnesty program, any Republican that supports same will be voted out of office; this nation gives amnesty to delinquent taxpayers (hint: only some -- whereas some, like Survivor Richard Hatch get tossed in prison for failure to pay taxes). It doesn't give amnesty to people who are, essentially, squatters. And the fact that they -- on both sides of the border -- are demanding the US not protect its own borders is somewhat sickening. Frankly, this is one of the few times I've consciously believed that if John Kerry were our President this would be a different situation -- as in I expect he would have already begun discussing some sort of amnesty program. Bush -- being the right combination of stupid and stubborn, will not budge simply because people are pointing fingers and complaining -- he's used to that. And to be fair, I think Bill Clinton as President would be in the same position; he wouldn't budge either, simply because he couldn't care less what a bunch of non-voters think. But either way, the bottom line is that the US doesn't need more immigration reform (ahem: John McCain, wake up time). What it needs is more enforcement of current immigration law and better recognition (and respect) for its own borders.

Finally, with respect to my solution for this problem, it seems to me that a major impetus for migrant workers to risk their lives and cross into the US is to support their families. Consult the above-linked CNN article for the following:
Waiting to cross in Ciudad Juarez was Juan Canche, 36, who traveled 2,000 kilometers (1,243 miles) to the border from the southern Mexican town of Izamal, where he had left his wife, five children and mother.
It seems to me that if today's migrant workers began practicing safe sex, or anal sex, or a combination thereof, then Juan and Maria wouldn't have five kids by the time they were 36 and need to cross a polluted, dangerous river only to be met by US marshals with high-powered rifles and bad attitudes. It seems, rather than encouraging looser borders, perhaps the Mexican government should encourage its young people to investigate tighter quarters.

Now that's a solution I can live with.


veg said...

This issue is a sticky wicket. If the concern is about national security, why aren't we worried about our northern border? It a much larger area, with less protection. We like to think that terrorists and other ne'er do well's will come in through Mexico, a border that is far more dangerous for a terrorist to enter rather than the Canada/US border which is MUCH harder to police, and we aren't even trying. Best example in the universe:

and if that weren't enough, we actually caught a terrorist entering the USA from Canada (Dec 1999). If Mexico was easier, why not enter the country through there? He was heading to LAX, so it would have been closer.

Of course, this isn't really about national security. It's about Mexicans. It's about xenophobia. It's about the fear of people taking our jobs. And mostly, it's just a political button to push, and matters far less than either side admit.

I suspect we benefit more from migrant workers than we do from stopping it. If we wanted to solve this problem, it is not going to be with increasing border patrol, and further stretching the National Guard. Enforce labor laws and start fining businesses that hire illegal immigrants. Make it cost more to hire migrant workers than it is to hire an American citizen.

Of course, be ready for a lot of the products that we consume start to go up in price (especially food). Labor costs associated with growing food will increase significantly (guess who grows/picks the food). Labor costs associated with cooking food will increase significantly (guess who prepares the food). Labor costs associated with the delivery guy and/or the waitstaff will increase significantly (guess who brings the food). Whining about the rising costs will also increase significantly.

So, what do we really want? We want to pretend like we are going to make a difference with border security. We want to pretend that we are going to solve the problem with illegal immigrants. And to that, I say, Mission Accomplished.

ps: Additionally, you were just angry when you wrote this. :) Illegal immigrants do not become US property, and we cant shoot them on sight. I am pretty sure you don't really think that's even a good idea. Pretty sure...

Boogie said...

Veggie, the immigration issue -- at least as it pertains to Mexico -- isn't about national security, it's about national identity and culture. Terrorists find it easier to "sneak" into the US from Canada because the only thing that border crossing really scrutinizes is whether people are bringing back Cuban cigars and live plants. In addition, Canada polices its border to some degree as well, whereas Mexico doesn't pay attention to the border except to make sure anyone carrying good weed is stopped, the weed is confiscated and a fine -- unofficially -- is paid.

The Mexican border isn't an ideal conduit for terrorists because they know there are US Marshals on the other side with guns and it's likely, if they're caught, they will wind up in a US prison (or Gitmo, or something akin thereto) a lot faster than being refused entry via Canada.

As for xenophobia and worries vis-a-vis jobs, I think that is somewhat of a concern for people in the South, especially in Texas, parts of California, Arizona, etc. Their concern -- at least with respect to possible amnesty for illegal Mexicans residing in this country at this particular moment -- is that once that amnesty is granted, then the jobs of current citizens will be at risk because thus far, illegal migrants are only doing menial, off-the-books types of jobs, and with amnesty, that will all change.

However, that's not my concern -- even though that is a legitimate question on some level, my concern isn't about the xenophobic fears of a garage mechanic in East Dallas. My concern is about principle -- how or why should a group of people -- be they Mexican, Phillipino, Russian, Czech or even Canadian -- inherit citizenship of this country if they cannot (and don't choose to) adopt the culture and the identity of this country? I know several Russian families personally who migrated to America legally but were not granted citizenship until after they applied and went through the motions and studied US culture. Many migrant workers have no interest whatsoever in becoming Americans because of the culture or the heritage of the nation. The reason they want to be legal American citizens is so they can earn more money, plain and simple.

Personally, I don't mind the existence of migrant workers doing shitty jobs for off-the-books money; I understand that the impetus for them doing this type of shitty work here is because of a lack of alternative in their own country. However, at least for me, I don't mind if workers are crossing legally between the US and Mexico; however, I fear this nation will hand out citizenship to people whose sole interest in becoming Americans is for inflated paychecks.

Part of the concern in this nation -- in general, without specific address of this particular issue -- is that we as a nation, internationally, are becoming an increasingly stupid country. On a global scale, when compared to other industrialized nations, our ability to read, comprehend and understand math and logic is falling, whereas that of other nations is increasing. I think a large part of that problem is the rising number of people in this country who don't bother learning English, and who teach their children that learning English is an unnecessary burden. If English-speaking in the US is an unnecessary burden, then hiring Spanish teachers to communicate with second graders in parts of Texas, etc. is going to be necessary. That means that unless there are translators and SAP buttons for every political speech and broadcast (from the presidential to the local level), non-English-speaking immigrants will either not participate in the political process (even if they understood what some politicians were saying they wouldn't understand the political process, including the electoral college, how and where to register and vote, etc.), and this nation would slowly, gradually, see its form of government erode. Thomas Jefferson once said that the only way to have a democracy was with an educated proletariat; thanks to a lack of US borders, we have a proletariat that is one-third illiterate in English, cannot vote and celebrates Cinco de Mayo more fervently than they do July 4th. Ay Caramba.

I referenced the spanish version of the Star-Spangled Banner several weeks ago herein, and while I think that some believe that this spanish version is merely a celebration of hispanic heritage and American culture, I foresee a day when Spanish will be spoken more frequently than English. That may be xenophobia, but I already lament the fact that most people upon graduation from college cannot write a proper business letter, nor can they communicate in proper English when necessary. If that continues to be the norm, and people celebrate (or ignore) a dwindling of the education of the people of this nation, and our inability to communicate in our own language, then it's merely a question of time before we outsource any- and everything of value in this nation. The creation and enhancement of technology will lie completely and totally outside our borders, and the advantage we maintained in the 20th Century in production and creation will dry up like US television and steel production has. Our sole ability will be to produce sewing machines and typewriters -- things that are relics that no one needs, thanks to better, faster and more efficient use of technology.

I am not, of course, suggesting we pop every third Mexican coming across the Rio Grande, and I was being sarcastic when I suggested these people are US property; however, I do think that allowing migrant workers to enter and exit the US legally (the key word being "exit") is not a problem. The problem, in fact, is the unchecked, ignored hordes that cross into the US and take root and plant themselves here and await the birth of a son or daughter. Instant citizenship is a problem that reaches far beyond xenophobia and has real, and I fear, dire, consequences.

Incidentally, whether or not tightening our borders (both southern AND northern) is a good idea, I think our failure to police our borders has already proven to be catastrophic once; an unwillingness to learn from 9/11, assuming what we know about the eventual portability of nuclear weapons falling into terrorist hands, will have exponentially more tragic consequences. If the final goal of policing our borders is a result of security from terrorists, and it does result in an extra dollar or three for me to receive my Kung Pao chicken or an avocado from a Korean deli on the corner, then so be it. Every action has a consequential reaction and a resultant consequence. If we do improve our border security and the cost in casual goods and services increases, I could accept that as a reasonable price to pay for (a better sense of) peace of mind.