Circus Giganticus

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Immigrant Song: All This Disorder Comin’ From South of the Border

December 6th, 2009 · No Comments · Public Policy

The terms “illegal immigration,” “illegal immigrant,” “undocumented immigrant” “migrant worker,” are coded phrases that when deciphered, have specific meaning. These phrases don’t refer to people currently in America who have come from Iceland or Belgium, Senegal or Sierra Leone, or from Canada or Cuba. No, these coded phrases refer specifically to the 12 to 18 million economic refugees who come from Mexico and Latin America. What I’ve noticed in the “immigration debate” is that there exists a script everyone sticks to and that certain aspects of the debate rarely get discussed. There are reasons for this: everyone who is most prominently involved in the “immigration debate” has an agenda that is self-serving. And like everything else presented in the American news media, the debate is divided along two simplistic for or against, either or, good or bad storylines so that the uninformed news consumer can form a pre-programmed, largely prejudiced opinion. Immigrants themselves and the Americans who subsidize this immigration directly and indirectly don’t get to speak out in this great “national debate.”

So what’s up with all these job applicants? I mean “illegal immigrants?”

No one knows with certainty-not the Federal Government, not State Governments, not employers, not immigrant rights advocates, not you or me,- how many illegal immigrants there are in the U.S. What is commonly understood, however, is that “illegal immigrant” largely refers to people from Mexico who come to the U.S. illegally, live in the U.S. illegally, and do so for the sole reason of seeking jobs. The best estimate of the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. from Mexico is between 12 and 18 million. According to the CIA World Factbook, as of July 2009, the population of Mexico is 111,211,789. Now split the difference on the estimate and say 15 million Mexican citizens have immigrated illegally to the U.S. just to look for work. You do the math. That’s a large percentage of Mexico’s total population in America looking for work. Something’s seriously wrong in Mexico if this many people have to leave the country just to LOOK for a job.

Mexico needs a better public relations outfit

People opposed to illegal immigration for whatever reasons can point to these numbers and claim, “This isn’t immigration this is invasion,” and not be without some credibility. Where they lose all credibility is when they stop arguing for orderly immigration policies and lawful enforcement of those policies and start claiming that illegal immigrants cause a whole slew of fictional problems. Large scale crime, murder, disease/infection and welfare freeloading are some of the fictional social ills visited upon America by illegal immigrants. Look, Mexico’s two biggest exports to the U.S. are illegal immigrants and illegal narcotics. Mexico doesn’t need any more bad press, o.k. But what these fictional problems negate are the considerations of some real questions…questions that are somewhat indelicate to ask, it seems? Does America have a carrying capacity? Is there a population number above which it is socially, economically, and environmentally unsound to exceed? Is zero population growth a valid national objective? And if it is, does America want a massive influx of illegal immigrants who believe in large families? Is it sound immigration policy to allow millions of poorly educated people, people who do not put a cultural premium on education, to come here as desperate job seekers? There is no end to these “delicate” questions, it seems. What happened to the simple days of sane immigration policy like, “No dogs, no Irish.”

Who profits, who pays? Depends on who gets to speak at the debate

Everyone involved in the illegal immigration has a self-serving agenda. On the national political scene it becomes obvious. Big donor, big business Republicans love illegal immigration because for them it creates a cascade of economic benefits: cheap labor without legal recourse for grievances, a controllable workforce, a means to undermine wages and unions, creation of a surplus labor pool so that industry and capital can ignore free market pressures. Democrats believe that they will have a huge new voting base that will take some time to feel betrayed and screwed over by the Party. They’ve pretty much told their existing voting base to eat shit and disappear and disappear they will in 2010 and 2012. So shopping around for new voters is just good sense. Republicans get cheap labor, Democrats get cheap votes. Who does that leave holding the bag, presuming there is a bag?

Cards on the table: Can America afford illegal immigration anymore?

Does immigration work like an unfunded federal mandate for working Americans? Do average Americans pay a price for illegal immigration whether in the form of depressed wages, or longer lines at the DMV, or job sites where the principal language spoken is Spanish? The front page of the Denver Post 12/03/09 features an article decrying the use of illegal immigrants on city projects. “The fact that we have laid off 170 perfectly qualified competent city workers because of budget cuts, yet money would be funneled to other people when there is a question about the legitimacy of their Social Security numbers, is mind-boggling,” asserted City Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz.  With “other people,” Faatz coins a new code word, but also makes a valid point. With real unemployment in America hovering at 17.5% can this nation act as a national job service for Mexico even if it serves a huge humanitarian need for millions and millions of Mexicans? Now that America has mismanaged itself so seriously that we are in a small d depression, can we even help ourselves with jobs and the attendant humanitarian needs that millions of our own jobless require?

No opinions required, thank you

It seems apparent that the exclusion of everyday voices from the national immigration debate is designed to maintain the status quo and pass off the “external costs” to those who have no agenda other than trying to survive economically in BOTH the U.S. and Mexico. The U.S. spends close to a trillion dollars a year on a military and security state system designed to maintain “national security.” Border security, the principal function of national security, can’t even be maintained by this military/security state behemoth. So let’s combine national security with humanitarian motives. Let’s first adopt Mexico as an economic foster child, then, let’s take $600 billion out of the annual military/security budget, and finally, use this money for a massive jobs creation program both in Mexico and the U.S. If such a program were to be enacted correctly, in the future it might be as common for Americans to go to Mexico for jobs as for Mexicans to come here for them. Wouldn’t that be something to see?

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