Le Migre

I typically try and stay away from immigration politics. Much like the Israeli/Palestinian debate, I know embarassing little, and people get pretty fired up over the subject. As a result, I typically keep a pretty hands off issue.

Unfortunately, you just can’t escape the issue, and now that the Senate has passed a bill which would allow for temporary worker programs that give illegal immigrants a path towards citizenship, we are soon to be entertained by a slobber-knocker as the House and Senate get ready to duke out the differences in their bills.

It’s hard to know exactly where to start when we talk about immigration. It’s not a new problem; people have been crossing our borders in the hopes of finding work and a better way of life for decades now. This of course brings up the question: why now?

That’s probably the easiest one to answer. With both the president and the GOP led congress enjoying ridiculously low polling numbers, you can almost watch the sweat fly as they scramble to find an issue they can use to turn around their numbers, and this one on paper looks like a winner.

See, there are three primary arguments when the conservatives start jawing about illegal immigration. Upholding the law, protecting American jobs, and my personal favorite, national security.

The upholding the law angle just strikes me as disingenuous, particularly when it’s coming from members of a branch of congress whose job it is to make up the laws. It’s sort of like if you came over to my place to play some “house rules” Monopoly, and I told you you had to give me fifty dollars every time you roll the dice, and then when there’s some debate on the issue, I just say, “I’m upholding the rules… on principle.” A law doesn’t on its authority as a law alone.

Don’t catch my drift? Try beating your wife and see what happens. Back at the turn of the century (not this last one, the one before that) everything would be cool as long as you didn’t overdo it. But as time has passed, we’ve grown a little wiser (well, that’s questionable, I submit to you evidence A: our president), and decided to make wife beating a little illegal. Which was probably for the best.

All I’m trying to get at here is that standing on the morality of the law alone, without judiciously deliberating on the morality, feasibility, and correctness of that law is a little dodgy. So I don’t buy this one. Call it a gut feeling, but I’m more apt to believe this is an argument developed to allow the xenophobic crowd to take the high ground when they malign illegal immigrants. So what are the real reasons to take the hardliner stance? I’m so glad you asked.

Illegal Immigrants steal our jobs! Yup, you could be innocently on your way to work when some evil illegal immigrant could just come up on you and jack you for your job. I call it job jacking. Okay, look, I grew up in California, the last three or four years of which were spent on a farm. I know the kind of jobs these people are taking. If you are reading this right now, let me tell you something: your job is safe.

Or, as Carlos Mencia put it, “If they pick him over you, HOW BAD WAS YOUR INTERVIEW?!”

Let’s face it, even if you’re making a living flipping burgers at Mickie-D’s, your job is still pretty safe. The fact of the matter is that immigrants take the jobs that you don’t want. I’ve actually participated and watched in some of this work. You’re talking 14-18 hours days picking vegetables. It’s long hard work with no benefits and low pay. Real low pay.

Here’s an interesting sidebar. My stepfather is a Californian Conservative (which is kind of like a libertarion… confused). Growing up in the agricultural industry, he’s had a lifetime of experience dealing with immigrant labor, both legal and illegal. In an interesting conversation with him this morning, he relayed to me an epiphany he had just recently.

For years, he has been familiar with the idea that illegals were vital to America’s agriculture industry. In fact, it has been often opined that without that source of cheap labor, the whole industry would collapse. He went along with this until he remembered something; this was one of the arguments that helped keep slavery alive in the US.

Let’s take this moment right here to remember that these are people. So when Bush first introduced his guest worker program, I hated it. Not that I disagreed with the program, but instead because I hated not disagreeing with the president whole heartedly. It sucks, but I had to at least tip him a little credit for actually being… please don’t make me say it… decent.

I feel so dirty.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program. Jobs. Common sense will tell you that illegal immigrants are not the death stroke to the American job market. If you want to help protect American jobs, I’ve got an idea… STOP OUTSOURCING! I don’t know, just a thought.

So that leaves my favorite argument, national security. This is my favorite because it’s just funny. I mean, it’s that ridiculous. What’s not quite so funny is that people are so scared that it actually works. I mean, people are seriously worried that some radical Islamist terrorist is, as we speak, smuggling himself accross the border. The first step in his ultimate goal of recreating 9-11.

Heavy sigh.

Oh, do you hear that? Yes it’s my favorite means of transport: THE LOGIC TRAIN!!!! CHOO CHOO! Get your ticket and your luggage, we’re going on a little ride.

How many people remember when the Al Qaeda handbook came out? Okay, not necessarily a best seller, but there was some good reading in it nevertheless. My favorite part was the gripping bit about how to embed in American society.

See, the whole idea behind a terrorist operative is that they have a mission to complete, and they have certain steps that must be taken to protect the integrity of the mission. Trust me, this is going to be real important in a second.

When you look at the methodology of the terrorists who were actually a part of the 9-11 attacks themselves, you see a running theme. Make sure your visa and other paperwork is in order at all times, shave, wear western style clothing. Don’t be excessively extroverted, but socialize. Some of this stuff goes against the tenets that these people are fighting for, so why do it?

It’s called assimilation, and it’s vital in making sure that the terrorists make it to the endgame without getting caught. In other words, the terrorists that we are so worried about are going to enter America LEGALLY. That’s because if they enter illegally, there are too many factors that can prevent them from accomplish their goals.

It’s common sense. You’re not going to make it to the cockpit of a plane if you’re getting hemmed up by Le Migre at the border. Plain and simple.

What that leaves you with security wise is about the same risk you face from your fellow citizens. The bad apples. Only in this instance I actually prefer my chances. I’d rather come face to face with an emaciated man who hasn’t eaten in a few days than someone who is fit and healthy. I do know karate.

Now look, I’m not saying let’s just open our borders up to everyone, but a wall? A physical wall? And the National Guard? Are you kidding me?

So I ask again, why now? Why this issue? As I said at the beginning of this, it’s the right issue at the right time. It taps into the fears and worries and prejudices of millions of Americans. Xenophobia, racism, fear of terrorism, fear of losing your job in a shit economy, etc.

Of course, I could have saved myself a lot of time if I just wrote something to the effect of, can we focus on an issue that is actually important right now? I’m not a policy wonk, but I have a few ideas, like maybe Iraq, or diplomacy with Iran, or maybe health care. You know, those things. I’m just saying.

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