Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Run for the Border

With health care reform in the bag and financial reform almost there, it looks like the raging debate of the summer will be immigration. This might be the most divisive topic that our government has tackled since President Obama took office; it's a really overwhelming and frustrating situation, one that I'm not sure has a clear remedy. So far, it's been a war of words between guilt-tripping liberals and embarassingly ignorant "speak American" conservatives, bickering over an issue that should've been resolved 60 years ago. To elaborate:

It's pretty easy to pin the blame on Mexican day laborers. One will argue that they're eating up our nation's resources like a vampire craves blood, though statistics suggest that illegal immigration might have already peaked. At least 100,000 immigrants have left the state of Arizona since 2008, not necessarily because of a overtly harsh law that was passed, but because the struggling economy depleted the number of jobs available. Traffic on the Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas borders, both legally and underground, have also decreased in the wake of the recession. Sadly, despite good intentions SB1070 is tainted by prejudice and racial profiling; do you expect any black or white Arizona citizens, regardless of whether or not they're American citizens, to be affected by this law? Paperwork or not, every Latino in Arizona has a target on their back.

What it comes down to is, We're paying for the mistakes of past generations. The government is finally putting their foot down 60 years after they should've gotten off their keisters. Immigration laws cut pretty fast and loose until the early 1950s, no matter what direction you were coming from. Our ancestors were perceived as cheap labor by rich Anglo-Saxons, and their limited knowledge of our native tongue kept them from asking for more money or forming unions. Looking back, it's amazing how so much has changed since the Ellis Island days. (In skimming the history of this issue I'm not trying to put these migrant workers in sympathetic eyes, though it's not like these day laborers have found any work back home.)

Whatever solution that our government arrives at will satisfy very few people on either side of the political spectrum. No matter what President Obama does, it will be perceived as either too accommodating to aspiring U.S. citizens or too forceful in deporting or detaining "offenders." Bussing out supposed illegals sounds like something out of a mobster movie and too cartoonishly simple to work, and speeding up the citizenship process is almost a concession of defeat. Sadly, the time to lay out a feasible solution may have already come and passed.

No comments:

Post a Comment