Thursday, January 7, 2010

Unspoken assumptions in the push for "comprehensive immigration reform"

Last Sunday the New York Times' lead editorial called for comprehensive immigration reform legislation. It cast the usual aspersions on opponents of this, along with trotting out the usual tropes ("bring them out of the shadows" and suchlike). You can read the editorial here, but it goes where many, many liberal editorials on immigration have gone. Not much new here.

Now recently I've focused on ways to defend supporting healthcare reform against right wing attacks. Here I'll try to help you defend against liberal attacks on immigration opponents.

Ideologues' attacks (both left and right) often depend on unspoken assumptions. If I ask whether you've quit beating your wife, you can't say yes or no without agreeing to the unspoken assumption that you have been beating her.

Likewise here, though less obviously. So check out my comment on this editorial. If you have friends, coworkers or relatives insisting that you have to support "comprehensive immigration reform" this may help you hold your own in such discussions. Challenging underlying, unspoken assumptions can be quite entertaining at the very least, because it's not the field ideologues want to play on.

[The NYTimes editorial board recommended this as one of the 10 top comments (out of 171), with 191 readers recommending it--the 2nd highest of the top 10.]

Let's examine the unspoken assumptions of this editorial:

Assumption #1. That America's demographic composition and total population size are to be determined by the government of Mexico and the Catholic Church.

You see, in 1940 Mexico's population was 20 million people, and America's population was 0.5% Latino. And Mexicans weren't trying to move here.

But by 2000 Mexico's population had exploded to over 100 million people, courtesy of a toxic combination of modern medicines and a dominant religion that forbids its members from using any form of contraceptive device--even condoms--and forbids abortion as well.

So now they're coming over the border in the millions. And swelling the ranks of the Catholic Church in this country--ranks that had been depleted by secularization and scandal. So the Catholic church profits immensely from Latino immigration--legal and illegal.

I implicate the Mexican government in this because it has actively promoted emigration of its peasant class. Not its engineers and teachers and doctors. Just its peasants. The Mexican government actively interferes with any attempts at our slowing down the flood.

But wait, there's more. These millions of Mexico's peasant class aren't settling evenly across our country. Mostly they're settling in the Southwest--especially in my state, California, far from the offices of the New York Times. Latinos (mostly Mexicans) will be the majority ethnic group in California by 2050.

In New York City you have a melting post of ethnicities--or at worst, a tossed salad.

We did too, here in California. But that melting pot is rapidly morphing into a monolithic extension of Mexico. Today you can spend your entire life in California without having to know one word of English. The most-watched TV station in LA broadcasts only in Spanish.

I thank my lucky stars I learned Spanish in school. It's becoming a survival skill here. Oh, and the latest Pew poll shows a majority of American citizens of Mexican origin identifying themselves as Mexicans. Not American. Not even Mexican-American. Just Mexican.

Assumption #2: That America desperately needs millions more people, and that those millions should be unskilled laborers who don't speak English.

America's population has doubled since the 1960s. Doubled. We're only keeping up with Americans' need for food and water through intensive agricultural practices that are exhausting the land and poisoning our waterways. We're overpumping our wells, causing widespread collapse of our porous aquifers (which is irreversible). We're also experiencing water table salinization in many places.

As for needing more unskilled you know what the unemployment rate is for American unskilled laborers? Upwards of 20%. How do you think they'd feel about this editorial? And those laborers are disproportionately black. But that's yesterday's cause du jour I guess.

Assumption #3: That there's no such thing as the greater good.

I feel sorry for illegal aliens whose parents brought them here as little kids, who speak no Spanish, and are hard working, deserving people. But no nation can survive if it puts the needs of citizens of other countries ahead of the needs of its own citizens. These hardworking young adults can learn Spanish. I did. And as people speaking fluent English, with American high school or college educations, they can do well in their country--Mexico. The Mexican tourst industry is desperate for such people.

Assumption #4: "Country" and "culture" are outmoded concepts.

America is a country of immigrant ancestry. Not immigrants per se. And all those immigrant ancestors assimilated into this American culture. It's not just a culture of xenophobic mouthbreathers. It's the culture of Gershwin and "Avatar" and Frank Capra and hip hop and so much more. It's a culture. I honestly don't think the New York Times editorial board realizes the extent of displacement of this culture here in the Southwest. I'm not dissing Mexican culture, nor of Latin culture feeding into our multicultural character. But that's not what's going on in this neck of the woods.

Please, guys. Take your next vacation out here. Try to get more of a feel for what's really happening here. The "job magnet" is an illusion. It's an overpopulation problem. And until the last several decades, it wasn't ours. Nor did we cause it. And those who did will never face up to their responsibilities to their own country, as long as they can outsource it to us.

Why should they, as long as we do?


Brian said...

Awesome comment. I also liked #75. You are up to 192 recommendations now.

Kevin Rica said...

You've never heard of an employer who couldn't find willing, diligent workers for any unskilled job if he were willing to pay a middle class wage and medical benefits.

The only employers who really can't find workers are paying a poverty level wage and no benefits.

And curiously enough, it is the Democratic Party (not Harry Truman's Democratic Party) who claim that these poor employers have a RIGHT, an ENTITLEMENT to unlimited supplies of workers at a poverty level wage. That never would have happened in Harry Truman's day. Imagine that! The rich now have a right to poor people. And that right is championed by the left of the Democratic Party.