Posted on March 29, 2006
I fully understand that the immigration issue in this country is freighted with at least as much emotion – on all sides – as it is reason. I’ve been to some of the poorer places in Mexico, and I have to admit that if I was one of those people living in grinding, hole-in-a-mud-wall-with-a-cardboard-box-for-a-roof poverty, I’d try to find a way of getting out of there and making a better life for myself too. Hell, we are almost all of us immigrants, or the descendents of immigrants and I’ve no sympathy whatsoever for nativist arguments, too many of which sidle up uncomfortably near to actual racism. Too, living in Southern California, it’s manifestly clear to me that the energy brought into this country by our neighbors to the south, legally present or otherwise, is very often applied to doing necessary work which few, if any, of our native born citizens would take on, considering such labor beneath them.
On the other hand, you don’t have to believe in in felonizing what amounts to acts of self-preservation to believe that there ought to be a more effective way to control the borders – one of the very minimum requirements of statehood and sovereignty – and rationalize the way newcomers join the work force. We simply haven’t got the resources to rescue everyone living in poverty throughout the world, and we are, or ought to be, a nation of laws. It is a complex issue that goes to the very heart of who we are as a people, worthy of deliberate debate.
Little hope of that though, these days, and nothing does it help for partisans to put counter-productive messages such as this one out in front of a mass, undecided market.