Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed an immigration bill Friday that had been criticized hours earlier by President Obama as "misguided."Well, we have been slow rolling this issue for a long time and it was bound to happen that one or another of the sovereign states would step up and take action to clean up our immigration mess, or more specifically our illegal immigration situation.
Illegal immigrants, maybe 12 million♠ in all, are a part of our economy. My buddy in Woodbridge recently built his vineyard with immigrant labor he picked up at the local 7/11 or some such hiring hall. Like the legal immigrants in our nation, that are part of the warp and woof of our economy. But, there are some issues we need to ask ourselves about:
- What do we owe to those people who have been waiting in their home nations for their number to come up so they can come to this nation and become a citizen? The man who replaced me at DRC when I retired is now a US citizen with a Top Secret clearance, but I remember when he was sworn in (at Lowell Memorial Auditorium) as a US Citizen, having retired from the Dutch Air Force and settled in this country, legally. I was the one who floated his resume when he joined us, The job was for doing a terminology study and I was asked how a Dutch person could do something about English terminology. I remember saying that since he was Dutch his English was probably better than ours. This chap has done well for himself, for his company and for his adopted nation. What if he hadn't gotten an invite to come to this nation. I remember the problems my Granddaughter's boyfriend (now Husband) had getting his Green Card. Also from the Netherlands.
- Are these "undocumented" immigrants here as economic visitors, earning money to send home or are they interested in joining us in our political process, a process that used to be seen as exceptional —American exceptionalism—although that is not a term much in favor these days. This is an important point, and one that our citizenry has worried about since Ben Franklin expressed concern that with all the German immigrants we would end up switching from speaking English to speaking German.
- Closely allied with the second question is one about what cultural changes our 12 million illegal immigrants will bring to this nation. Will we get the kind of political process that is closer to what is happening in Venezuela and Nicaragua? What about Chile and Argentina? Will the macho culture for which Latin America is famed impact our striving for equal rights for women (or what about our immigrant Muslim population and the view of the role and place of women in the minds of some from that culture).
- Do we know that all undocumented immigrants are coming here for the money? How many are coming here because of the drug violence in their old neighborhood? That raises the question as to what responsibility we have, as a nation and a citizenry, for encouraging that drug trade. And we shouldn't fool ourselves by thinking that all that drug use is in the urban ghetto. A lot of it is in middle class suburbia.
- Has anyone really done the sums on what it would take to deport 12 million people? And, if they have thought about it, have they included the disruption that would occur when the children, fully US citizens (we are not like some other nations—here if you are born here you are one of us), while the parents are not? And, who will do the jobs made vacant by sending illegal immigrants home?
- What are the long term consequences of actions such as amnesty? If we wave a magic wand and make those 12 million illegal immigrants US citizens, will that just encourage millions more to slip across the border?
There are no easy answers out there. People might think there are easy answers (a) send them all home or (b) give everyone amnesty. Both remind me of the comment by Reporter H.L. Mencken that: "For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple—and wrong.
Sadly, I don't think either party in the US Congress, or Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Socialist, are going to come up with a good solution to this problem and so we can expect more Southern Border States to take action to deal with the costs and consequences of illegal immigration. The President agrees, having noted today that if the US Congress fails to act other states besides Arizona will act.
But, so I don't sign off without any suggestions, let me propose that part of the solution could be helping the United Mexican States become more prosperous and better governed. Part of that solution might be a new "Marshall Plan", focused on Mexico. Another part might be to change the game with regard to drugs, making them no longer a path to easy money and the perversion of law enforcement and justice.♥
Regards — Cliff
♠ I just heard the President, on Television, say 11 million, but I am sticking with an even dozen.
♥ Frankly, fixing the drug issue, moving to become the drug wars, would be good for this nation if there were no illegal immigrants.