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WHAT IFS IN IMMIGRATION

October 27, 2013

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WHAT IFS IN IMMIGRATION

Politicians are painfully aware of the rapidly changing demographics which are going to amount to the critical difference in coming elections. Republicans are especially wary of continued resistance to a grand bargain on a comprehensive statute dealing with the reality of immigration. Evidence of their collapse on the issue is found in the almost total absence of their use of the term “amnesty,” the use of which was a rallying cry for the right wing up until just months ago. Republicans (if they even exist as a party after appeasing those in Cruz Control) have hung enough of their dirty laundry out to dry just recently. One more hit and they may be headed the way of the Whigs; so they have a choice: yield on the Latino question or make their descent to Whigdom official.

I have blogged repeatedly that the Republican Party must deal with the tea party holy warriors within its midst or risk descending into the political oblivion of Whigdom. They must somehow persuade their tea party members to give up their libertarian/anarchical views, convince the substantial racist element of their party to give up their prejudices, and vote for comprehensive immigration reform.

Theirs is a gigantic political task, and I don’t envy them the job. It will take a political Houdini to pull it off, but I wish them luck. We need a two-party system, but if they fail, demographics being what they are (not only minorities but – per a recent study – 65% of the millennials are more liberal than their liberal parents), Democrats will rule national elections for the foreseeable future, like 50 years.

I am for comprehensive immigration reform, but many are not. Let’s take a “what if” look at immigration in order to throw some light on the bigotry surrounding this issue, starting with the proposition that those who are opposed to reform in this area are themselves immigrants from only a few generations ago. Most, with the exception of African slaves and prison debtors and indentured servants exported from England to their then colonies, came here of their own free will and accord. Their rationales for leaving their homelands ranged from potato famines in Ireland to seeking relief from religious persecution and grinding poverty to escape from Nazi genocide.

Dabbling in alternative history is fun because you have no responsibility to fact as we now know it. So, what if Hispaniola and its Caribbean Indians had been an advanced society with immigration laws and  rules that Columbus and his crews could not meet (and the weaponry to back it up)? Or if Aztecs and Incas in Central and South America had had similar restrictions applicable to their Spanish and Portuguese visitors (similarly armed)? Or if North American Indians had sent Dutch explorers and English pilgrims and puritans packing back to their European homes because they had no immigration papers, or were not the right color, or couldn’t speak Indian languages?

What, indeed, if North and South American Indians had “discovered” Europe, killed off their population with diseases over which Europeans had no immunity, trashed European religious practices, murdered their royalty and nobility, taken their land, forced their kids to attend Indian schools, and set up immigration laws and policies designed to prevent Europeans from movement within their own boundaries, assigning to Europeans the dirty jobs that Indians would not do – like cleaning the open sewers in cities of that day and age? Sound familiar? It should, because that (and more) is precisely what our predecessor immigrants pulled off in this country and that is our heritage whether we like it or not.

When dabbling with what history might have been but wasn’t, we can still try to find some moral basis for current policy in immigration from the sorry state of affairs our European predecessors left us, and I for one have not been able to find a moral basis for rejecting comprehensive immigration reform. Nor have I found a reason for rejection of such reform for economic reasons, and finally, I find no reason to reject such reform based on humane considerations, where families will be torn apart because illegal aliens had children here (which makes them citizens) but are deportable for lack of proof of their right to be here. By that standard, one may ask what right do we (if not native-born) have to be here?

However messy our immigration history was in arriving at where we are today, we do need to control our borders. However, we have not controlled our borders in the past and as a result have millions of illegals who have citizen children here and are technically deportable. We need a law which allows these people to stay here, a law that imposes some not too stringent conditions on a path to citizenship.

“What if” alternative history never happened, of course, but pretending that it did gives one a glimpse of possibilities not available in the constraints of real history. This has been one such glimpse.  GERALD  E

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One Comment
  1. billy1926 permalink

    Well said, considering the limited space within which you’re confined.
    One point of difference: I would open all borders in both North and South America. “Controlling population” is a shibboleth used by the powerful and the greedy against any individual or group they perceive as inferior or threatening to them and their position. Humankind has been on the move since it evolved and will continue to do so, e.g., an oil strike in N. Dakota, and thousands move into the region; a severe drought in the southwest, and thousands move out (including many of those “Texas-lovin,'” “good Americans”); too few skilled workers and scientists are available, and manufacturers advertise overseas for them (with considerable political support). Shutting intra-continental borders is foolish.

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