A Must-Read

There is an article today in the local newspaper that I often malign with a certain suffix. This is a news article though that is so good and so competent, that it has caused me to, for now, to drop said suffix. Therefore, you must report directly to The Washington Post to read this article by Edward Schumacher-Matos.

Schumacher-Matos’ article just parses the numbers regarding immigration. He concludes what I’ve been saying for a while, that the fact is that immigration ain’t really that big a problem, that it’s just been fluffed up by “conservatives” to scare the hell out of grandma.

Just the facts, man:

Forget the hyperventilated furor over the new Arizona immigration law and consider this overlooked fact: The number of illegal immigrants getting into the country has slowed to a relative trickle.

And more have left than are coming in. The number of unauthorized immigrants in the country has gone from an estimated high of 12.5 million in 2007 to 10.8 million in this year’s first quarter and is still dropping, according to experts in the Census Bureau, the Department

Despite repeated claims that the federal government “isn’t doing anything,” Schumacher-Matos says that enforcement efforts are significantly up from a decade ago.

Remember: The United States historically has had few immigration controls. In 1979, when as a reporter I snuck across the border with a group of Mexicans, there was a laughably small force of fewer than 2,000 Border Patrol agents covering the 2,000-mile frontier with Mexico.

Today, the Border Patrol is 20,000 strong, supplemented by high-tech gadgetry and hundreds of miles of barriers. The Pew Hispanic Center reports that the number of Mexicans who managed to get through in the year ending in March 2009 was 175,000, the lowest number since 1970 and down from roughly 650,000 in 2005. The Border Patrol reports that apprehensions, a rough measure of traffic, were down nearly 70 percent last year from 2000.

So, hi. Can we please start talking about like, a real problem in these US of A for a change? Is the Bay Area ready for The Big One? Are our chemical plants well-secured? And would they please stop mowing those god-damned highway medians for chrissake?

Constitution Schmonstitution

This event occurred like four years ago at the National Press Club, but it is worth remembering today.

A reporter drilled Gen. Michael Hayden, then deputy director of national intelligence, on the Fourth Amendment. Hayden quite confidently denied that the event includes the phrase “probable cause” and that the standard in said amendment is actually “reasonable-ness.”

This is worth remembering today due to the disgusting Arizona law we’ve been railing about for the past few days. It is worth remembering that conservatives are not only not familiar with the United States Constitution, but that they don’t give a crap.

Immigration Fist Fight

I have been trying to “be rational” i.e. see the other side of the immigration issue, but the more I read their propaganda, the crazier they seem. They … the right wing nut machine that has stirred up this Arizona mess… blame immigrants for every evil to befall the USA from drug abuse to traffic accidents, rape, mayhem and disease. There is an unhealthy dose of racism at the heart of immigration debate which makes it more like a fist fight.

It is hard to put any rational spin on Arizona’s recent assault on the Fourth Amendment. Chris Matthews said it was a good thing because it might cause some action in Washington. I am skeptical. Certainly it is not the first time in our Nation’s history that the Constitution has been thrown out the window by zealots and whack jobs. Teddy Roosevelt encouraged the lynching of people who opposed World War I. (And a couple of people died as a result.)

Agreed there may be real facts not apparent in Washington and lost in the vortex of nonsense. For example, when people from Arizona say they want to secure the borders, that is exactly what they mean. Some are not concerned about illegal immigrants looking for work. They are concerned about drug gangsters. The new Arizona law is a response to the murder of a rancher in his back yard by a drug gang. That does not make it right.

Immigration reform looks a lot like the slavery debates before the Civil War. The last serious reform was the Immigration Reform Act of 1986, which granted amnesty to a million or so Latinos in the country illegally, and put the onus for immigration control on employers by making it illegal to hire an undocumented alien. (The worst aspect of the law was that it practically closed the borders to new immigrants.)

The Reform Act, like the Fugitive Slave Act, did not work. The Fugitive Slave Act failed because it had no support in the North, where it was supposed to be enforced. The Reform Act failed because it did not address the real demand for labor in the business community, and no effort was made by the Raygun, Busch, Clinton or Busch administrations to enforce it. The result was a continuing influx of illegal immigrants seeking widely available jobs that few Americans wanted. They did the chicken plucking, cow killing, table busing, gutter cleaning and other crappy jobs. Admittedly they got some of the good jobs too. The construction industry in Omaha began to collapse after the Moron G.W. Busch started actually enforcing the law. Skilled immigrants work for less, and as long as you have non union shops, you will have employers who will hire the cheapest labor. Moreover, because immigrants had no rights, and the government did not enforce restrictions on hiring them, they could be exploited at will.

More devastating, was that immigration became a perfect wedge issue for the GOOP. The great thing about wedge issues is you don’t have to solve them. You just get to use them to stir up the worst of the electorate into a venomous frenzy. With the help of a mediocre television personality who needed a way to boost his failed career, immigration became center stage. (I can never remember the name of that fat assed CNN guy.)

The only decent policy position The Moron Busch ever took on was immigration reform. He had entered into agreements with the Mexican government on border control and introduced serious reform legislation. Then September 11 happened and the last best chance for immigration reform died. (How is it that the illegal immigration status of the killer hijackers is confused with the immigration status of seven million Latinos whose primary interest is in feeding their children?)

(Latinos make up about 60 percent of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the USA. No one is talking about the illegal Irish or Russian or other white people. )

No one is going to accept the easy solution, which is to make drugs legal and allow all immigrants in. Better yet, make Mexico a state. One helpful solution on the border would be bring back the national guard troops belonging to the border states from Afganistan and Iraq and train them in drug interdiction and put them to work. No one is going to do that either. But Congress needs to do something. It is not getting any better.

Papersss! Papersss Please!

Quick! Prove you’re a citizen of the United States.

Whether you’re white or brown or green with webbed toes, let’s go, smart guy. Prove that you’re a citizen.

I’ll bet you a dollar that like 80 percent of the people in this country would not be able to do that.

And I bet you’re one of them. And I suggest you get your papers in order. Because the Stasi wants a word with you.

Now. Let’s talk about a commentor I’ve just approved. He/she wrote:

I ask this not for the sake of argument, but because I am curious as to why you think it is okay for people to be in this country illegally. Illegally being the key word. Do you appreciate paying for their healthcare and children, and everything else, while you struggle to make ends meet? Would the same courtesies be extended to you if you went to Mexico or any other country? What is your solution to this problem besides a boycott?

Break it down:

I ask this not for the sake of argument, but because I am curious as to why you think it is okay for people to be in this country illegally.

I don’t.

Illegally being the key word.

Heard you the first time, sunshine.

Do you appreciate paying for their healthcare and children, and everything else, while you struggle to make ends meet?

This is your first visit here to Ketchup Is A Vegetable, isn’t it?

Would the same courtesies be extended to you if you went to Mexico or any other country?

Perhaps not. But the United States of America is supposed to be better than that.

What is your solution to this problem besides a boycott?

What needs done, Sanchez, is to shut down employers who hire undocumented workers. Take away the work and you take away the jerks. And I don’t even think you’d have to ante up the regs to do that; all Uncle Sam would have to do is to start again enforcing what’s on the books.

We here at Crack Whores for Good Government have never denied that there’s a problem. And, like many other of the societal ills that plague these Untied States of America, that ill can be traced back to a core, rotted central nervous system of a problem, that being the sickening prelevance of unwaivering faith in fetid greed, in a puzzling belief that we can only be saved by purely unfettered captialism on steroids. Ronuld Raygun stopped cracking down on employers for hiring undocumented workers because he somehow believed that the market would just do the trick on its own. Guess wha happen?

All this law manages to do, Grimy, is to empower—nay, to require—Arizona law enforcement officers to harrass and terrify the majority of brown people in its midst who are in the country legally. It is also a horrible law because of its incredible potential for abuse and mission creep. You don’t just think you pass a law suspending requirements on probable cause and just have it apply to Spanish-speakers, do you? You don’t think a cop who really wants that bust but doesn’t quite have all of his i’s dotted isn’t going to use this thing to improperly arrest a couple of caucasian stoners, too? Or that this legislation will put a bunch of actually innocent people behind bars because Arizona courts can now deem concerns of “search and seizure” to be quaint?

This is a horrible law, it is nothing more nor less than fascism writ large. And you will see confirmation of the horrendous aspect of this legislation, either when it is struck down like Sonny Liston by the Supreme Court, or when some cop has his baton wedged hard against the back of your neck with your temple and cheek eating concrete.

Do not think a law like this is just for “them.” It can’t be.


A few random items for your consideration.

#1. Having just recently watched “The McVeigh Tapes,” hosted by Rachel Maddow, whose picture you see when you look up the word “awesome” in the dictionary, it occurred to me that, perhaps, just perhaps, Tim McVeigh was a self-hating homosexual. What do we think?

#2. Thousands rally at Illinois Capitol — for a tax increase. Why ain’t this story on the front page of the New Yawk Times and shit?

#3. No, I guess there is no #3.