Saturday, September 29, 2007

Lost in Translation

My interest was piqued by Chris' post regarding illegal immigrants in Riverside, NJ, so I took a look at some people's perspectives, most notably here. And I understand that immigration, legal or illegal, is a complex issue with political, social, historical and cultural facets. But maybe the debate would make a little more sense if the debaters could keep one fact straight: immigrants are not necessarily illegal immigrants.

Oh how the world becomes a little simpler with a spotlight shining brightly through the darkness! That would mean that wanting to enforce laws against illegals (you know, law-breakers) doesn't mean that you're a racist. That would mean (gasp) that it's theoretically possible to embrace the immigrant population while simultaneously restricting illegal immigrants. We could recognize legals as the vital backbone of the American workforce while at the same time recognizing the unfair drain illegal immigrants are on the taxpayers!

Now, even still, there are some interesting points made by people who haven't quite worked this out. Honorable mention to this guy who says that all 20th century immigrant arrivals in New York and San Francisco arrived "uninvited" and technically illegal until processed. So I guess you can't oppose illegal immigration unless your ancestors received and RSVP'd to their invitations...

Sarcasm aside, I'm not an expert on anything, least of all immigration. Call it idealism, but I have to believe that there is a way to preserve the economic strength of communities with high immigrant populations without embracing illegals. I don't think it's going to be done with a fence that reinforces the "us and them" mentality, especially since the invention of the tunnel. Next idea?

1 comment:

Goose said...

AH, the differences between legal and illegal immigrants. Undoubtedly undocumented immigrants break a civil code when they enter the country "illegally". But are they criminals? First off, the solution does reside in "legal" immigration, for every country has the right to know who and how people are entering it. However, the quick assertions that "Illegal" immigrants are obviously criminals as they broke the law is interesting when you consider the benefits of illegal immigration. If a law is broken an unjust should they be considered criminals? Why aren’t employers criminals? Why aren’t consumers criminals for benefiting from the fact that they can buy a pound of tomatoes for 90cents instead of 4 dollars? We all benefit from "illegal immigration" and until we move the discussion beyond what is legal and what isn’t, and into the crux, the global economy and the U.S. policies detrimental effect upon it, this discussion does nothing more than rile up the working class Americans who are also getting shat on by these economic policies.