Posts Tagged With: illegal immigration

THE TRITE AND THE HACKNEYED

When Senator Ted Cruz announced for the Republican nomination for the presidency, (the first of what looks like to be about 2 dozen potential candidates), he used the phrase-“we’re gonna take this country back”- during his announcement speech. He didn’t say from who or what we were “gonna take this country back,” but it didn’t seem to matter to his gung-ho right-wing audience. Of course, Ted is by no means the first politician to utter empty platitudes on his way to political stardom, since Rand Paul and Ben Carson and probably all the other would-be candidates have also indulged in similar triteness. But in Ted’s case, since he’s a Harvard graduate, I figure he has to be a pretty smart guy; and to so unashamedly pander with such banality is, in my estimation, unforgivable. I believe Harvard should, retroactively, declare that Ted’s degree is null and void, as a warning to any other panderer that might be tempted to also orate with such hackneyed phraseology.

Of course politicians have been attempting to “take our country back,” probably since the beginning of the republic. I remember Ronald Reagan using that time-honored phrase on his way to swamping the hapless Jimmy Carter in the 1980 election. Who was he taking the country back from, poor old Jimmy? Whatever your opinion may be of the Carter presidency, I don’t recall Carter ever stating that he owned this country, lock, stock and barrel. When today’s politicians, (almost always Republicans) vow to ‘take our country back,” perhaps they’re referring to Plutonians that came down in space ships and took over the halls of our government after we downgraded Pluto from being a full-fledged planet some years back. Yes, that must be it. I mean, it took great hubris on our part to arbitrarily declare that Pluto was not a real planet, without us even bothering to discuss the matter with representatives from other entities in the galaxy. I can see where Plutonians would be angry and upset enough to initiate aggressive action. Otherwise, who else would we be taking our country back from. Well, you might say, there is Obama and the Democrats. The problem is, however, no matter how much you might despise them both, neither Obama nor any Democrat has laid claim to ownership of the United States. Obama will be gone in about a year and a half, and the GOP will almost certainly lock in majorities in Congress, and will also, likely, take over the White House in 2016. Talk about who will have ownership of this country then.

Another exercise in meaningless babble is the political infighting taking place over the illegal immigration issue. Earlier, Senator Marco Rubio managed to, rather heroically, have an immigration bill passed by the Republican Senate, that would, among other provisions, create a pathway to legal status for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. The problem was, that his fellow tea-party looney-tuners in the House became feverish and delirious at just the thought of even one undocumented immigrant in this country achieving legal status.  Their opposition was vociferous, and, in the end, Rubio had to disavow ownership of his own legislation in order to keep his presidential aspirations alive. So, the new mantra of meaningless babble emanating  from the GOP is that nothing will be done regarding the illegals until “our borders are made secure.” None of the candidates have defined how our borders are to be made secure, or how many more gazillion dollars they are willing to allocate for that purpose, above what we are already spending on border patrol. The only thing that matters is that our border, (at least with Mexico) ‘be made secure.”

So, since none of the Republican candidates are willing to discuss the details of what a secure border means, I will do it for them. The first thing you have to know is that our border with Mexico stretches for nearly 2000 miles. So securing that border would be no easy task. But if we really want to make sure that no illegal gets into this country, we would need to build a solid concrete wall across the entire 2000 miles. The wall should be at least 100 feet tall, and 20 feet deep, to assure that none of those sneaky illegals can tunnel their way into this country. We would also need to put electrified barb-wire on top of the wall just in case they have really tall ladders. Then we would need a few hundred drones constantly patrolling the area, as well as few thousand additional border patrol agents. All this could probably be accomplished for under another trillion dollars of additional debt. Think  the tea-party loonies will rally around this idea? Oh the dilemma.

To show just how racist the GOP immigration policy is, consider the case of Canada. Our Canadian border is just about twice as long as our Mexican border. All anyone has to do to enter our country illegally from Canada is to take a pleasant stroll through the woods. Yet our Canadian border, besides being twice as long, is almost unguarded.  Why is that? Because in the Republican mindset, Canadians are white like us, or most of us. They almost all speak English like us. For those that can only speak French, there’s an excuse for that too. I mean, French is so much more sophisticated sounding than mundane Spanish.

So the next time you hear some brainless politician tell you that he or she “is gonna take back our country,” or that the undocumented immigration issue can’t be addressed until “we secure our borders,” be on full alert. Those our just code phrases for the unthinking. In any event, with so manny politicians entering the Republican race, I’m thinking of throwing my hat in the ring as well. With the primary vote split among so many candidates, I might just be able to sneak in. Besides, someone has to take our country back, and secure the borders as well.

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LEGALIZING THE ILLEGALS

As you’re probably well aware, there is a great debate going on in Congress, mostly in the Senate, about enacting legislation that would create a pathway to legalization for an estimated 11 million undocumented people in the U.S. Almost all of the 11 million, as you know, are Hispanic. The idea is to give these people legal status so they can work openly without fear of deportation, pay taxes, get driver’s licenses, and openly provide a public education for their children. The main obstacle to such a course of sanity and rationality is, of course, the tea-party element of the Republican Party, which includes almost everyone calling themselves Republican. Although the proposed legislation is being pushed by an Hispanic Republican senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, most GOP senators and representatives are on record as opposing this effort. The facade of obstruction emanating from these looney tunes right-wingers, is that legalization of undocumented persons should not occur until our border with Mexico is tightly secured so no further illegals can enter. Since the border with Mexico is almost 2000 miles long, I guess this would mean building a 100 foot high concrete wall along that 2000 miles, with electrified barbed wire on top. Plus extending the wall 20 feet below ground so illegals couldn’t tunnel their way in. Plus adding about 9 million security guards along the border, plus drones, sensors and other electronic gadgetry. When it comes to securing our border with Mexico, money is no object to right-wing whackos.

Opponents of legalizing the illegals claim that race or ethnicity is not a factor, but I strongly disagree, and will prove otherwise. Lets change the scenario, slightly. For example, our border with Mexico is under 2000 miles, but our border with Canada is well over 3000 miles. Plus our Canadian border is lightly manned, and virtually anyone that wants to, can enter the U.S. from Canada, illegally, by just taking a stroll through the woods, almost anywhere along the U.S.-Canadian border. So let us suppose that instead of illegal Hispanics, we had 11-12 million illegal Canadians in our midst. They got fed up with the long, cold Canadian winters, or with socialized medicine, or whatever, and millions came streaming across the border and headed south to warm up. Let us further assume that most of these illegal aliens were primarily French-speaking. Does anyone think that this would even be a blip on our political radar-screen. Of course not. Why? Because these illegal Canadians are white like us with the same ethnicity. And besides, doesn’t French sound so much more cultured and sophisticated than Spanish? So, 11 million illegal Hispanics- big problem. Eleven million illegal Canadians- no problem at all. They would just blend into the population.

Thus, as I’ve said, right-wing tea partiers, and other assorted kooks and racists are fighting tooth-and-nail to prevent this very modest legislative effort from succeeding.  One of the bill’s main opponents in the Senate, a newly elected tea-party favorite named Ted Cruz, is one of the most vociferous in leading the opposition. The fact that he himself is Hispanic, will not, in any way, compromise his right-wing ideology of preventing his own people from attaining the benefits of legalization and eventually citizenship.  Then there are those who fear that should these illegals eventually obtain citizenship, they would mostly vote Democratic. God forbid. Although I can’t imagine why, since the GOP seems to welcome Hispanics with open arms. The prognosis, at this time, is that Rubio’s bill will likely squeeze through the Democrat-controlled Senate, but will face very rough sledding in the Republican-controlled House. It might very well be impossible to get House Republicans to agree to this legislation, and, in the end, all that effort will be for nought. Time will tell.

Democrats these days are having a multitude of political problems, not the least of which is President Obama’s sinking poll numbers. A lot of people, especially young voters, are upset over the NSA snooping into our phone calls and e-mails. Although I’ve written a previous entry explaining how this was not only necessary, but vital, in preventing further terrorist attacks. The Director of NSA has claimed that over 50 planned terrorist attacks have been disrupted thanks to these NSA “snooping” efforts. Then there are the IRS fiasco and the 4 killed Americans in Libya, that the GOP has skillfully manipulated into being labeled as Democratic “scandals.” To say nothing of a still very sluggish economy, high unemployment, and oceans of red ink. And let us not leave out the huge problems the Administration is having in trying to implement Obamacare. It doesn’t look like implementation will be ready by 2014. So by all rights, the GOP should obliterate the Democrats in the up coming 2014 elections. But that’s not likely to happen because of Republican right-wing ideology. For example, just the other day, the Republican-controlled House passed legislation to ban all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Just to further piss-off the women voters they lost in the 2012 presidential election. All to satisfy their evangelical (religious fanatic) base, and, even though they know that this bill will almost certainly die in the Senate. And even though it’s contrary to the law as established in the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe V. Wade. It’s just who they are.

It reminds me of an old story you may be familiar with. It seems that a turtle was sitting at the edge of a river, contemplating swimming to the other side. Along comes a scorpion who says to the turtle- I would really like to get to the other side of the river, but I can’t swim. But you, Mr. Turtle can swim. So if you let me ride on your back we can both make it to the other side. The turtle says- I’m not going to to that. You’ll sting me with your venom, and I’ll die in the river. That’s ridiculous-replies the scorpoion. If I did that we would both drown. The turtle is finally convinced that the scorpion means him no harm and says-ok, hop on my shell and we’ll head for the other side. About half way across, the scorpion suddenly stings the turtle’s with a lethal dose of poisonous venom. Why did you do that-cries out the turtle. Now were both going to drown and die. Couldn’t help it-replies the scorpion. It’s just who I am.

 

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THE IMMIGRATION WARS

Since about the years 2004/2005 the topic of illegal immigration to this country has been a non-ending source of pandering and demagoguery. Ultra-right-wingers such as the teapot crackpots (tea party) and other assorted loons have been bemoaning the fact that there are supposedly about 11 million illegal aliens within our borders, and they just keep on coming. Some on the far-right have used figures as high as over 20 million illegals, with almost all of them being Latinos. In the right-wing delusional state that these tea partiers inhabit, the hope is that the Government will somehow round-up 11-20 million illegals and ship them back to Latin America. Mitt Romney, when he was campaigning for president, aided and abetted those delusions by making the weird statement that illegal immigrants should “self-deport” themselves back to where they came from. I’m going to go out on a limb, and taking a wild guess that this was the reason he only received 31% of the Hispanic vote, which in turn, cost him the election. Romney believed he had to pander to the far right-wing of the Republican party to gain their trust and, hence, their vote; by posing as one who was as crazy as they were when it came to the immigration issue. Now, Congress is supposedly trying to come up with new laws and solutions to the undocumented worker issue. Don’t hold your breath.

But it got me thinking as to what course our history would have charted if the Native American tribes that possessed the North American Continent had established tough immigration laws when confronting the sudden influx of white Europeans. Would they have created a tough and lengthy immigration process as we have now for those seeking to legally gain entry to our country? Would they have required white European settlers to speak and become fluent in the Iroquois language or those languages of other native tribes. (Who, by the way, were wrongly called Indians by Christopher Columbus and his exploration parties. Even after it dawned on them that they hadn’t arrived in India.) Would pilgrims arriving at Plymouth Rock have been required to have an extensive knowledge of the history and customs of each Native American tribe? Would these pilgrims first be required to obtain a green card or other work permits before they could even be considered for citizenship? Fortunately for the early European settlers, the existing Native American tribes were not militarily strong enough to insist on formal immigration procedures before these settlers could enter the country. So the Europeans started coming over in droves, and taking over, and occupying the lands that Native Americans had inhabited for centuries. Even if it meant slaughtering the natives by the thousands. Which they did without honor or conscience.

In the latter part of the 19th century, the illegal white settlers made some feeble attempts to right the injustices inflicted on Native Americans. They carved out some usually inhospitable territories and ordered native tribes to pack up and resettle in those lands. This meant the tribes had to give up their tribal grounds where their ancestors were buried and moving to unfamiliar lands. These movements of native tribes from their homelands to new territories are often referred  to in history as the trail of tears. Many lives were lost along the way. Today, these tribal “nations” are usually riddled with poverty, crime, drug and alcohol abuse, and high unemployment and welfare. (Who could have predicted that outcome?) Some tribes have secured permits to build gambling casinos on their lands which has, indeed, given these communities a fresh infusion of economic wealth. Sort of the way it’s done in Las Vegas and Reno. Those that haven’t built casinos are still mired in poverty.

So, to a large extent, all of us that are not Native Americans, are illegal immigrants. But that doesn’t stop the far-right from demonizing those amongst us that are “undocumented.” Which is, of course, overwhelmingly Hispanic.  The deep-seated, if unspoken, fear among the tea party crowd, and other assorted right-wing looney-tuners, is that the growing influx of both legal and illegal immigrants will change the very nature of our ethnic and cultural heritage. Instead of a country dominated by white Anglo-Saxons, we will become a nation where minority populations will come to predominate. And Hispanics will have the largest numbers and influence among these minorities. Which is very true and already happening, whether the opposition likes it or not. This sends the anti-immigration crowd into a frenzy. If they could, they would like to build, like a thousand mile wall about a hundred feet high, with electrified barb-wire on top, along our border with Mexico. And post about 100,000 border patrol agents there, to shoot, on sight, anyone crossing the border without the required documentation.

One reason we have a large extent of illegal immigration to this country, is because the legalization process is so lengthy. It often takes about ten years of grueling paperwork to come here legally. It also requires a knowledge of American history, culture and politics that most high school and many college students in this country fail to possess. My own view is that anyone seeking to come here should be allowed in as long as they can speak a reasonable amount of English and have no criminal record. If they want to come, let them in. We have vast swaths of land that are nearly uninhabited, where they can settle. Here in Nevada, the hundreds of miles between Las Vegas and Reno, is mostly devoid of population. The same is true for practically the entire state of Montana. The very commercial and social foundations of this country were built by immigrants. If people in other counties that can speak English and have no criminal background believe they can make a better life for themselves here, we should welcome them in.

I realize, however, that this is a much too sane and rational solution to the immigration wars currently being waged. So Congress pontificates, the President offers proposals, and all are loaded with enough land mines to blow-up any common-sense resolution of the immigration situation. Such is the nature of our political process in present day America. I guess anyone seeking entry, but not willing to wait 10 years, will have to continue to try to sneak in. And right-wing whackos can retreat to their delusional ivory towers, and wait for all the illegals to self-deport.

 

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