Monday, November 15, 2010

Illegal immigration and tne NYTimes editorial board

The NYTimes' Sunday editorial "Immigration hardball" lamented how the incoming Republican House of Representatives were going to deal with illegal immigration.

My response:

This editorial regards it as self evident that we should give American citizenship to perhaps 13 million citizens of other countries—mainly Mexico—who are residing here illegally. It doesn’t even bother to make a case for this, substituting adjectives for arguments.

Such is the partisan divide these days, with both sides unable to actually argue their points, preferring to spend all their time with those who already agree with them.

Yet many American centrists—you know, the people who decide elections with their votes—don’t take either side’s positions as self evident. The partisans of right and left surely must know this, but still they persist in talking past us, using tautologies like heroin addicts use needles.

Consider illegal immigration. It’s hard to count the unspoken assumptions in this editorial...there are so many. The first is that American per se doesn’t exist. We don’t have a national, cultural, or linguistic identity to be honored and preserved. Every other nation’s culture is to be honored and preserved, mind you. Just not ours. And if one of those other nation’s cultures is swamping ours across the American Southwest—well, tough. It seems we have no right to protest, and we’re hotly denounced if we do. Chants of “Si se puede” greet our asking what would the Mexican government do if a million Americans moved to, say, Guadelajara, demanding Mexican citizenship, demanding that Mexicans learn to speak English, marching in large protests, waving American flags.

Actually I know what would happen, because Mexican law forbids immigration that would alter Mexico’s culture and demographics substantially. And what’s wrong with that? Mexico has a distinctive culture. I’ve studied it at the Universidad Autonima de México in Mexico City. Mexico has a right and a duty to its people to preserve its culture and language. And believe me, most Mexicans have no affection for our culture. Unlike every other nationality that comes here, Mexicans who immigrate to America don’t believe that’s what they’re doing. They believe they’re just moving to another part of Mexico that America is occupying illegally. That’s why they call it the reconquista.

So most of them don’t want to become American. They’ll take citizenship if they can get it, for the economic advantages, but when they’re asked to renounce all allegiance to other countries, they’re mostly lying. Look at the pretty liberal Pew surveys of American citizens of Mexican origin. A majority of such citizens refer to themselves as Mexican. Not Mexican-American, and certainly not as American. Just Mexican.

Of course if you take the transnational view that borders are passé, why not? I’ve seen Anglo Americans who share Mexicans’ dislike for America gloating on newspaper forums about the coming demographic takeover of America—for the time when Anglos will become a minority here. It can’t come too soon for these people.

And you wonder why Tea Party types regard liberals as The Enemy?

So when you look at the results of the last election and then look at this editorial, you should see the connection. I’m a Democrat who voted for Obama and will again, and want national healthcare, and want the corporatists who nearly wrecked our economy jailed for fraud whenever possible. But Democrats are driving working class Americans into the GOP’s corrupt embrace with things like its official immigration policy.

Here in California, Mexicans with American citizenship will be in the majority in a few decades if not sooner. I’ve seen the effects of such a massive demographic shift in a way that the NYTimes editorial board, sitting in their aerie in New York City, cannot experience. In NYC you have a lot of cultures. But what if NYC was majority Mexican like LA now is? What if the most popular TV station in NYC only broadcast in Spanish (no subtitles either, of course)? What if the children of Mexico’s least educated cohort dragged NY schools down into 49th place in America?

Would the NYT editorial board sing a different tune then?

The NYT is America’s newspaper—even moreso than USA Today. Time to start acting like it.

BTW—one of the biggest ironies about the immigration issue is that liberals and conservatives are united in opposing the one thing that would solve the problem of all these illegals “hiding in the shadows”—by eliminating the shadows. That is a national biometric database. It’s technically feasible now. Implementing it would enable us, for the first time, to actually know who’s here, and where, and from where.

And it would enable America to decide who comes here, instead of leaving that decision up to the policymakers of other countries. And for us to quit acting as the safety valve for Mexico’s overpopulation crisis (from 20 million people in 1940 to over 100 million in 2000). And stop the Catholic Church’s ecocidal family planning policies from controlling ours.

Next time please take the other side seriously, NYT.

1 comment:

Sean said...

I really have come to believe that with a culture at another countries doorstep, there is very little a country can to do stem the flow illegal immigration. The sheer willpower of Mexicans to live a better life is overwhelming compared to the political will in the US to fix the problem of illegal immigration. However, I appreciate your NYTimes response that challenges assumptions that are too often made by the NYTimes.

I did want to comment on a few issues you brought up though. I'd be interested in your response on any of them...

1) Biometric ID's. If the healthcare bill was difficult to pass, getting Biometric ID's to pass would be impossible. I feel that using this as an arguing point as a cure to illegal immigration is like arguing for the invention of cold fusion to solve pollution.

2) Before I think it's fair to blame the catholic church, I think it's necessary to consider that the Green Revolution and medical advances played a huge role in population growth. In fact, I'd argue that of all the potential international influences on Mexico's population growth, the Catholic church isn't the first to blame. Accusing the Catholic church of causing Mexicans to breed like rabbits isn't nearly as easy as accusing scientists and doctors for cultivating an environment where people don't die as quickly.

3) Repatriation isn't easy, and it isn't politically viable in today's environment. In my opinion, stopping the reconquista is only possible with a strongly enforced repatriation effort. Since this isn't possible, I suspect that we'll continue to see an influx of Mexicans into this country. Our current system of immigration enforcement is like a band-aid on a gaping flesh-wound, and we simply don't have the political will to solve the problem.

This is a defeatist attitude, but I think it's a reality. Unfortunately, the US is so large that Hispanics will continue to spread their culture throughout the South West, and the remainder of the US will only see a small trickle of what we're seeing here.