The illegal alien or immigrant problem is getting confusing. I don’t think we are all talking or arguing about quite the same thing, or maybe it is just that the problem is multi-faceted.
Of immediate concern is the drug violence spreading over the border from Mexico.
There is also a general concern about people who don’t belong in the U.S., as the result of 9/11 and terrorist incidents since, the underwear bomber a few months ago, as an example.
The New York Times Square incident is still in the early stages of investigation — we don’t know yet who was responsible and whether immigration has anything to do with it.
And there is an ongoing concern over undocumented workers (or even non-workers) here who use U.S. taxpayer-funded social services, and some of whom get involved in crime.
In the case of illegal aliens (and you can read immigrant if you want to, but that is kind of a euphemism — after all, we are a nation of immigrants), from Mexico and other Latin American nations, if there were no crime or terrorism concerns, I don’t imagine there would be much of a fuss.
There has been a tacit acceptance that Mexicans do much of our stoop and other types of field labor, as well as serve as nannies, dishwashers, lawn care workers and perform other relatively low-level jobs.
In addition, there has become an acceptance that they do a lot of construction work — well not so much acceptance among legal and union workers perhaps, but among the public and especially employers.
And this acceptance, unofficial though it has been, is what has brought us to this point.
Added to this all, the Mexican government apparently sees the U.S. as a kind of escape valve for their poor (a majority of its population).
It seems to me that it is time for both the U.S. and Mexican government to live up to their respective responsibilities.
Maybe if the Mexican government had not been so corrupt over the decades it would not be facing the civil war it does today — I’m referring to the drug war, which is really a form of civil war or insurrection.
And the U.S. has taken on responsibility for a huge number of people by basically turning a blind eye toward the employment of aliens. Sure there are workplace raids from time to time and the border is patrolled. But we all know that if the U.S. government had the will and did not have the pressure from those who support employers’ rights (?) to hire illegals, it could pretty well put a stop to or seriously discourage the hiring of illegals.
Some people recognize that there just may be a need for a certain amount of foreign workers to do seasonal farm labor and some would suggest a return to a seasonal worker program. But that does not seem practical. Men (or women) are not likely to want to come or stay unaccompanied by their spouses and children, and there was reportedly much corruption and abuse in the old Mexican Bracero program.
Even if you brought whole families in temporarily, most would likely never leave.
Adding to all of this confusion is the fact that many U.S. citizens have come out against the Arizona illegal alien law, but only because they don’t think a particular group of people, many of whom would likely be legal American citizens, should be singled out for hassling by the police. But many of these same people who oppose the Arizona approach, would not agree that there should be no enforcement of immigration laws.
But in the demonstrations we see on TV and read about it seems that many in the Hispanic community (and others) seem to think that immigration laws should not be enforced if it means that families might be broken up — or they note that they themselves or their parents came over illegally, but many eventually gained citizenship.
Well all that seems to be missing some logic. What is the use of even having immigration rules if they are going to be ignored? And how can we rightly enforce immigration laws against some but not others?
We have to have immigration rules, because otherwise we lose control of our nation.
I don’t know what the current figure is for the number of illegal aliens in the nation, but it is huge, I understand.
(Okay, I tried to look up the number of illegals, but came up with numbers ranging from 11 million to 20 million or more.)
Someone has to make a decision here on what to do. It probably is not practical or logical or right to think we can just round everyone up and send them home. And we as humans have to have compassion for families and avoid breaking them up.
The U.S. has already stepped up security against the threat of terrorism from the outside (from the inside, a more difficult problem, no doubt). On the Mexican border we need to step up security against the drug runners (not easy to do). If sending the National Guard or Army would help I would be for it. I don’t recall what effect the National Guard did have in its relatively recent tour on the border.
To move away to a related subject briefly, I note that I read that in Illinois there was some call for calling out the National Guard because of domestic drug related violence in Chicago area neighborhoods. I have always thought the Guard or Army ought to be called out in the most violent of neighborhoods everywhere in the nation. When civilization breaks down, emergency measures are called for. Of course when you run the bad guys out of one place, they move to another. But you can’t give up on a problem because it is difficult.
I am wary of giving police the power or commanding them to just willy-nilly stop suspicious people and ask for their papers — it could quickly get out of hand. But where there is a problem, such as on the border areas, or even in violent neighborhoods, strong measures (on an emergency basis) may be called for. Actually I guess it has been tried in certain areas and met with resistance from some, to include the ACLU and the courts.
And this is probably something for another blog, but there really is a movement that seeks to recognize the Mexican national population in the Southwest (in particular) and give it voting rights (illegal status notwithstanding). In fact, I think Mexican nationals have been allowed to vote in some school districts (Mexican nationals residing in the U.S. can vote in their own nation‘s elections — but I think the same holds true for U.S. citizens outside the country) . It’s all about a non-violent way of reclaiming a territory that once belonged to Mexico. Or some may argue nations of people need to be represented wherever they may reside, regardless of their affiliation with a geographical state. But that calls into question the whole idea of the nation-state. I for one do not want to give up on the idea of the United States of America.
If you’ve read my other posts on the subject, I am still dubious about the new Arizona illegal alien law, but recognize there are legitimate concerns that need to be met somehow, made only more plain by a Pinal County, Arizona lawman being shot by an apparent illegal alien drug runner (at last report several suspected illegal alien suspects had been arrested). I lived and worked in that county many years ago and was through there recently.
P.s. P.s. P.s.
And I saw the 60-Minutes piece about illegal aliens (to include children) drowning in the All-American Canal. While I think it is fine to make the canal safer, at some point adults (who have responsibility to themselves as well as their children) have to realize that irrigation canals are too dangerous to swim across).