Immigration is one of the most vexing problems in the ever-increasing list of vexing problems in America. It has festered for almost as long as we’ve been a nation and attempts at reform are as successful as Middle East peace talks. It is the albatross around every president’s neck and the cue for every Congress to go on vacation.
Angry Nortenos stupidly scream at children and demand bus caravans ship them back from whence they came. Republicans whine that the President needs to lead on the same day they vote to sue him for doing just that. They can’t hold a truce in their civil war long enough to negotiate or pass a bill. Then, they yell over their rapidly receding backsides that if the President dare act on their failure, there’ll be impeachment to pay when they get back from vacation.
But the new class of immigrants from deep Central America is running from extreme violence, not coming to pick avocados. They are sending young kids alone through thousands of miles of wilderness on the roofs of boxcars in roomy Hobo-Class comfort. The kids carry notes saying, “Meet me under the clock in Grand Central” and nothing more. You don’t do that if all you want is a job.
We insist on calling this an immigration crisis, but it is a refugee crisis. These refugees aren’t so different than innocent civilians running from Syria or the Ukraine.
Compassion should rule the day. We are a rich country with many resources and a culture, even if it is gun ridden, which is still relatively safe. But throwing open the borders and hanging onto every person who makes it is no solution either.
Despite dumbasses claiming Honduran violence is no worse than on Detroit streets (and blind to the irony of empty Motown streets because of violence) Border States have some valid concerns. The hordes that climb over, under, and around the Maginot Fence cost money. Lots of it. There is medical care, schooling, housing, and the thousand other things of everyday life. They are just as poor as American poor and they are here, like it or not.
We can’t buy compassion for three hots and a cot. There is another side of compassion. Allowing thousands to flee on a dangerous, uncertain journey rife with thieves, deserts, and hunger is not compassionate is you don’t intend to let them stay. Many die along the way or are stolen blind by coyotes. Others are sold into slavery as child sex workers or field hands. Some simply become weak and die. That life is no more compassionate than taking them in.
Let’s work together to stop the exodus. Put pressure on the shit heel, corrupt governments that protect the cartels to crack down. Help the refugees build in-country camps for themselves and if you are single-minded in using the National Guard, send them where they can do some good…to guard those camps. And if Michele Bachmann says a word about the camps being FEMA concentration camps, give her a 72-year hold at Bellevue because she is a danger to herself and others.
We are not the only country in the Americas and our neighbors need to understand we can’t support them all the way to Tierra del Fuego. Let’s incentivize them to absorb part of the tide. In fact, let’s ask the rest of the world to help us out for a change. Let’s ask them to take some refugees too. And while we’re at it, how about some of you screaming compassionate conservatives in Murrieta, Wichita, and Minneapolis step up and adopt some of the families. Put up or shut up.
We Just Said No
Cartels exist because there is a market for product. “Just Say No” was a massive failure, but we can encourage production of some drugs, like marijuana, at home to weaken the cartels’ grips.
But even with all that, some refugees will make it here and wishing them away is pointless. We’ll need actual reform to deal with them. Some will have to go home, some will stay. Some will get citizenship, regardless of their place in line or slavish adherence to arcane laws that clearly aren’t working.
Dream acts and paths to citizenship, the “rule of law”, and forcing immigrants into strict first in, first cared for lines is pointless, especially if you insist on cheaping out things like extra immigration judges to placate a junior Senator who inexplicably rules the House. If you want to send an immigrant back where they belong, send Ted Cruz back to his own house of Congress. Maybe even yell at him as he goes for good measure.
Everyone seems to think they can solve the immigration crisis with single sentence solutions to a very complex problem. It is time for everyone, including the public, to grow a pair or pull up the Big Girl Panties. There are a hundred puzzle pieces, each of which requires an acknowledgement that they alone are not panaceas. Everyone, immigrants and refugees included, loses a little and gains a little. Stop whining, get back in there, and negotiate. A backroom deal is better than the nothing you accomplish now.
There is one other thing we must do as a country. Look at this situation and get some reality through our collective thick heads. At its heart, this isn’t strictly a racial, tax, crime, obstructionism, compassion, or fairness issue, though there is plenty of that to be sure. It is an economic one.
Look closely, because this is the price America will pay soon. Haves and have nots fleeing violence and looking for food. This is the face of income inequality writ large.
Learn it, live it.
- Don’t Give Us Your Huddled Masses by Christina Knowles (disturbingtheuniverseblog.com)
- Over 1,000 families fleeing Central America headed to Louisiana (wwltv.com)
- Denver set to apply for $12 million in federal grants to house Central American refugees (kwgn.com)
- House GOP’s bill on deporting refugee children expected to include a new ‘papers please’ provision (dailykos.com)
- Immigration Hearings For Central American Refugees Begin In South Side (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)
- UN involved: “Call them ‘Refugees'” (deadcitizensrightssociety.wordpress.com)
- Viewpoints: Think about the desperate parents of the border kids (sacbee.com)
- GOP Autopsy on Immigration: Still Very Dead (americasvoice.org)
- Robert Reich: Children fleeing to the U.S. are ‘refugees of the drug war we created’ (rawstory.com)