Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Humo y espejos 

Okay, I have an idea. Our prison system is kind of crowded, the courts move slowly, we could certainly ease things up. So, here's the deal. Everyone who's been arrested for burglary in, say, the last decade -- free. Criminal record erased, you're out of prison, go home, have fun.

Oh, burglary will still be a crime, and you're SOL if you're charged with it after we let all the other burglars go. And we're being very specific here, so only burglars. No armed robbers get out, no would-be thieves who only got as far as breaking-and-entering before they got caught. Sorry. Just burglars, and just the ones who got caught.

Pretty stupid, isn't it?

And yet, in the ongoing immigration fiasco, that's exactly what a lot of people are asking for. Oh. Correction. The ongoing illegal immigration fiasco -- and that italicized word is the one that keeps getting dropped from the conversation. The debate is not about keeping all foreigners out of our country. In fact, when it comes to welcoming foreigners, the US is one of the most open-armed countries in the world. If you don't believe that, just try to get landed immigrant status in Canada or up and move to Mexico or the UK or France or... just about anywhere else. Trying to do that legally is hard enough. Try to do it illegally in some of those countries (I'm talking to you, Mexico) and you're screwed.

But, for some reason, that's not good enough for... well, I'm not exactly sure who. Because I also think this whole controversy has been manipulated from the start. Remember how it began? On March 25th, Republicans in Congress proposed building a wall along the US-Mexico border, and countless groups went apeshit on the spot. Why, how dare a Congressperson propose something as heinous as enforcing an existing law?

And it all makes me wonder... seeing as how this whole thing coincided with a major dip in the ratings of a certain high government official, could it all be a smokescreen, a non-issue that's being blown out of all proportion? After all, who become the major opponents in this scenario? It's not Illegal Immigrants vs. Congress. Nope. It's Latino Lobby vs. Blue Collar Workers. It's not rich vs. poor. It's brown vs. white -- and that's exactly how those in power want it.

Because... if the marchers out on the streets today turned their focus to something else, anything else -- impeachment, the war in Iraq, universal health care -- those problems would be solved post haste. Instead, they're manipulated into screaming about something that is either a non-issue, or has been the same problem for decades, without change. Nothing really new happened in the whole immigration fiasco, after all. It just got pushed to the forefront, probably for political reasons that have nothing to do with any of the immigrants.

Amnesty is a stupid idea, and the first person to tell you that will be an immigrant who did it legally. A wall across the border is also a stupid idea. Ask any resident of the former East Germany about that. Maybe a change in the laws is necessary, but note the word "change". Until the law changes, then it does no good for law-breakers to bitch about it. Compare the situation to the medical marijuana movement. Sure, drugs laws are stupid and silly. Yes, fight to change them. But don't bitch and whine when you get arrested for smoking a joint in public to advance your cause.

And don't bitch and whine if you get deported because you're here illegally. Don't bitch and whine if your company gets smacked with hefty fines because you knowingly hired illegal aliens.

But, most importantly, don't fall for this manufactured controversy. It clouds the real problem. Mexico exploits and abuses their own. The US serves as a safety valve. Corporate interests here in turn exploit and abuse the illegals, just not quite as badly as Mexico, hence the net flow northward. It's yet another case where root causes, rather than surface symptoms, are what need to be fixed.

Waving a magic wand and saying, "Poof! Now you're legal" won't solve a thing. Believe that one and blind yourself to the truth -- W would love nothing more than to be the guy to wave that magic wand, and suck up the Hispanic vote for his party as a quid pro quo.

Memo to the pro-illegal immigrant lobby: if you fall for that line of bullshit, it won't matter at all what other tiny battles you think you win.

We are all Americans. As Americans, we must focus on the real enemy. Hint: the descendent of white immigrant people and the descendent of brown immigrant people are not each other's enemies. We should be each other's allies against the descendent of rich people overlords, against those who would exploit all of us and play all of us against each other.

We should be marching in the streets, but for common cause. We need to fix America before we can even begin to work on fixing our borders.

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