Avoiding Immigration Issues, Now and Then
From Loving America to Death, 2013
July 10, 2013
We Don’t Want No Immigration
Nothing points out the rifts in the Republican Party better than the Immigration legislation that Congress is trying to pass. Republicans said that they would need the Hispanic/Latino vote to elect a GOP President in 2016. They lead us to believe that they wanted to woo the Hispanic/Latino vote, and yet it seems obvious that Republicans cannot agree that they want to pass a set of laws that will help them pursue this course. The bill in the Senate was drafted by a bi-partisan group of eight people. It does not make it easy for illegal immigrants to become citizens of the United States. There is a lengthy thirteen-year process described in the bill. The Senate bill also adds border security along our border with Mexico by adding 700 miles of fencing and something like 20,000 more border guards. The Republicans in the House say that none of this enough. They want assurances that the border is impenetrable at least 90% of the time. They really don’t want to give illegal immigrants any path to citizenship. They say that even a path that takes thirteen years represents amnesty which they cannot accept.
It is unclear how they think any of their harsh approach to issues of illegal immigration will win them any votes at all from people who walked across the border between Mexico and North America or arrived here on a visa and stayed although their visa had expired. How do they think they will win any votes from people who were brought into the country as undocumented workers to work in the households, gardens, or fields of American bosses, and were never sent back to their country of origin? It is equally unclear how it will gain them any votes from Hispanic/Latinos who are here legally, but sympathetic to the plight of illegal immigrants.
No one (well almost no one) believes that we can get border security anywhere near the 90 –100% range. This makes it clear to most Americans that Republicans have no intention of assisting illegal immigrants in America. They are merely playing a cruel political game to create the illusion that they might some day pass laws which take a sensible and realistic view about what will happen to 11 million illegal immigrants in America, given that they cannot all be sent home.
What will stop us from having this same problem again in a decade, they say? However, they have no more idea than you or me where things will stand in a decade. By that time the Mexican economy may be stronger than the American economy. Mexico has already shown signs of a strengthening economy. As for people arriving from the Caribbean or Pacific Island nations to work on our farms and for our wealthy families, and in low paying American jobs; this current bill does nothing to block illegal immigration from these areas beyond what safeguards are already in place. There was supposed to be an electronic identification program connected with this issue, but I have not heard about this system lately. Perhaps it was not challenged by anyone and is still a part of the bill.
It seems obvious to most of us that the fact that Republicans insist on almost 100% border security (which everyone else contends is virtually impossible and which is certainly a very inefficient use of taxpayer monies) and from the fact that they object to even a lengthy and demanding path to citizenship, that the GOP never had more than a momentary whim to pass an immigration bill. They have wasted everyone’s time and broken a lot of hearts over the insincere promises they made about their willingness to pass such a bill. The House Republicans have once again led Americans down a scenic garden path that leads nowhere. The House should pass the Senate Immigration Bill which sounds quite adequate to answer most concerns, and we should elect Democrats in 2014.
From A Google Image Search - Vogue - Great Wall of China
May 14, 2022
Clearly the world has changed in the decade since 2013 and things seem more fraught than ever. We still have war refugees, but Russia has moved on from Syria to Ukraine in a war of destruction and genocide that is a twin to the war in Syria right down to the rationalization that some people are disposable because Putin says they are. At least in Syria there was an actual rebellion against the Assad regime. In Ukraine, a peaceful nation going about its business, Russia had to gin up a fake Nazi scare to justify bombing cities to the ground, displacing millions and killing hundreds of thousands more.
Refugees are immigrants with life threatening reasons for their migrations. They are generally leaving countries they love and lives that they mourn the loss of. Still hundreds of Syrian refugees remain in camps in Jordan. Now Poland has taken in millions of Ukrainian refugees, an enormous humanitarian project which they have done with compassion, efficiency, and not a little dismay.
War isn’t the only event causing human migrations. Climate change is not being addressed at anywhere near the scale that is necessary to halt shifts in weather patterns, water cycles, melting poles and rising oceans, hot spots. In fact, gas and oil companies are having another moment. They bemoan losses from less gas and oil use during our two to three years in a pandemic. They made huge gains in the first quarter of 2022 which suggests some serious price gouging justified by the recent losses. They claim they had to cut back on production and that it will take time to ramp it back up. But they also argue that we do not and cannot make enough alternative energy to keep the world ticking along at the pace corporations insist on. Kenya is experiencing a draught that is not unnatural except for being more intense in both duration and frequency that usual. People are starving because donations and international aid are concentrated on Ukraine right now. Where do people from Kenya migrate to? There are fights over territory in many places in Africa. There is nowhere to go. Along the roads lie trails of dead goats.
You don’t even have to go as far as Africa to find climate change affecting where people can choose to live. California and some of the Southwestern US have devastating fires more frequently than in the past and these places are more populated than they once were so human housing burns and people are displaced. These people do have other places to go but it is still heartrending to lose your home and lifestyle and all your possessions. The images of the water resources in Lake Meade and the Colorado River are shocking and no easy solutions are on offer as ever more people keep moving to an area that offers year-round warmth and is adjacent to beaches.
Our southern border is a mess and has been for decades. The states along the border don’t want refugees and immigrants pouring in across their private property and have made it clear that they want something equivalent to the Great Wall of China along the rather challenging geography of the southern border.
Republicans want us to stop all immigration into America. They are loathe to even take in Ukrainians. Refugees require government dollars until they get settled in jobs. Immigrants, legal and illegal may find ways to tap into these same resources. Republicans are trying to stop offering any benefits to American citizens. They cannot do that when people are popping into America from other nations and getting aid.
It’s not all about money either; it is about keeping American white and Christian. Many people coming to America from South America (experiencing political authoritarianism, drug cartels, and climate changes) are “brown” and don’t speak English. They also need government assistance when they first arrive. Republicans have used this fact to rile up their base, many of whom lost good-paying jobs as factories went abroad. Jealousy is pumped up by right-wing media and culture wars against immigration grow heated. Right-wing media is telling American moms who are experiencing a shortage of baby formula that immigrants at the southern border have plenty of baby formula stockpiled by the US government. They are implying that this relatively small supply should be given back to American citizens and that immigrant babies should be deprived of formula. The supply at the border is not big enough to fix the supply in grocery stores but reason is not important to Republicans, only winning is. Republicans were happy with Title 42 expulsions due to the pandemic and are unhappy to see this coming to an end, although they were most influential in taking us out of pandemic status. And yet many Hispanics and Latinos tend to vote Republican which would suggest that Republicans should be welcoming them into America.
We need refugees and immigrants. Our population is aging and is not growing from new births. Republicans are trying to encourage white Americans to have more babies. How much of their rabid desire to end abortion and force women to give birth is about producing more babies to offset the aging population? Of course, the irony is that there will be larger numbers of nonwhite babies as this part of our population is poorer and will find it difficult to abort a pregnancy. These women will also find it more difficult to keep a job. Ending Roe v Wade will be an economic disaster for America, totally aside from the loss of human rights which is sad enough.
We need refugees and immigrants because they take jobs others will not do. They work in our meat industry, on our farms, as caregivers, as house cleaners, as construction workers and contractors. When they are here without documents, they must devise ways to earn a living even though this could expose them to deportation. They may have to buy fake documents or steal an identity. Giving them citizenship would allow them to work legally and use their own identities. Is punishing people for entering the country illegally worth the economic loss and the anguish that comes with living in fear?
Will we be available to help with the migrations that will be happening more and more frequently? That seems to depend on which party holds power, but Republicans have managed to control immigration even when they are out of power. Will we eventually lose the good will of our allies around the world and our neighbors if we refuse to open our doors to those dispossessed by upheaval that seems to be so prevalent in these times? Can’t we set quotas? Can’t we have housing along our southern border that offers a livable waiting period for refugees and immigrants while they are waiting for the courts? Can’t we have some of that same kind of basic housing on the Mexican side of the border? Can’t we hold some classes to teach basic English while people are waiting and investigate what kinds of trade skills people who want to come in have? Does loyalty to “freedom” prevent us from taking an organized approach to those who want to come to live in America? Why do we just warehouse refugees and immigrants when we could be learning how they might be useful and helping them get to where they are needed?
It seems likely that we will be unable to keep out immigrants and refugees without hurting ourselves on the world stage. After all we were the engine of industry and nations that had far lighter carbon footprints are suffering the effects of our pollution. The longer the Republicans prevent any dialogue about immigration, the less ready we will be for the coming onslaught. Or millions will die and drag down our spirits as the world closes down.
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