The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, May 18, 2007

Liberals and Immigration reform

Because I made what could sound like a snarky comment about Conservatives (in connection with what I called The Tribal Monkey in our hindbrain) I wanted to put down something I was thinking yesterday, listening to Ed Schultz (who I tend to enjoy) yesterday, just after the announcement came down about the immigration reform package. I won't pretend to have read it, or understand all the implications. I'm sure all of that will be debated ad nauseum in the coming days. I WAS happy to hear that it contained a proviso punishing employers who hire illegals. What I noticed is that Ed, who is actually more moderate than "liberal" was calling attention to the groups that label themselves as "Immigrant Rights" groups, stating the obvious truth that they should more honestly be labeled "Illigal Immigrant Rights" groups...they never have anything to say about the rights of LEGAL immigrants. I've noticed that Liberal talk show hosts tend to let these groups get away with that very stealthy twisting of language. In my opinion, no organism can exist that does not differentiate between itself and its environment. To my knowledge, Mexico doesn't have "open borders" for Americans, and allow Americans to come down there and declare they have the right to be citizens. I know of no country that does. While the problem is certainly exacerbated by skin color, if French-Canadians were flooding across the border into Detroit, you could bet that Michigans would be howling to close the borders--that's just human nature. Hell, when I was up in Washington I had to put up with tons of nasty jokes about Californians coming up and spoiling their state, and we're all AMERICANS. This is natural. Of course, it's also natural for people to want to improve their own lives. History suggests that if Mexico had a higher standard of living than America, WE'D be flooding across the border south, Mexicans would be complaining, and Americans would scream "racism" or anything else that would provide legal/moral leverage to get what we want.
I don't have an answer for the problem of the wealth differential between America and Mexico. I understand (or at least empathize with) the plight of Mexicans wishing to build a better future for themselves. But I also empathize with Americans who, I believe, like any people on the planet, have the right to protect their borders. No one OUTSIDE the country has the right to decide who should and shouldn't come in. I know of no country that works that way, or could survive under that situation. It is unfortunate that the issue is so incredibly hot, but those heated emotions are understandable. I would like the rhetoric on the Right to be less venomous. And I'd love for those on the Left to diminish their tendency to allow special advocacy groups to twist language to their own ends. Those advocacy groups will do that--all advocacy groups play that game. But we don't have to cooperate.

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