Unauthorized Migrants Are Easy Scapegoats

Immigration has always been a contentious issue for U.S. Americans (except, of course, for that initial immigration from Europe. That was a God-given right). Today, foreigners must be worthy of entering the golden gated community. We don’t want just any riffraff joining the club. We need to know where you’re coming from. European? No problem. Hang out and enjoy yourself. If you’re coming from the third-world, get in line. People from third-world countries can’t be trusted to enjoy the same liberties as those from the first world. Particularly the poor ones. They’re more likely to end up in prison, be uninsured, and dumb-down public education.

Why bother writing a post about immigration . . . Debates over immigration policy will never end. There is no real solution. Still, I can’t help thinking most people watch television news coverage – illegals here, illegals there – and it doesn’t sound like sarcasm to them. Besides, sarcasm lets us all take a big look in the mirror, sling a few insults, and laugh about it later.

So let’s look at the “immigration problem.” Too many immigrants fill the schools. Classes are overcrowded. The children who deserve an education get a diluted one because teachers are too busy translating. No, the real issue is a neglected public education system. Too many illegals use the emergency room. They use up all the resources us white-collar citizens deserve. No, the real issue is an underinsured working class.

The immigrants aren’t the real problem here. The underlying social systems are in desperate need of attention and reform. Just imagine what the hundreds of billions of dollars spent taking over Iraq could have done for education and healthcare (wait, stay focused — write the post about war later). Illegals are easy to blame because they don’t really have a voice. Their underclass status keeps them from standing up to defend themselves. People use the education and healthcare cost example to show how illegals are ruining society. But the real root is a society that isn’t taking care of its basic needs. The immigrants represent the straw that’s breaking the camel’s back.

Polls show that a majority of U.S. Americans don’t think it’s reasonable to deport everyone. And if they’re not deported, then reform will likely involve some sort of legalization, temporary worker program, and a healthy chunk of money thrown at sealing off the Mexican border. But, if we’re not deporting all the illegals, how will any reform assume to solve the “problem” with these people being here in the first place? Of course, it doesn’t. None of the proposals include anything about healthcare or education. And that’s exactly the point really. Blame a class of voiceless people for problems you don’t plan on solving.

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3 Comments »

  Gravatar kenrick wrote @ August 17th, 2006 at 11:45 am

hmm, its kind of at a chicken and egg problem now. if you visit an emergency room, there are lots of potential illegal immigrants there, and not for emergencies either. why do they go there? because they don’t have any kind of healthcare, so its that or the clinics. schools are an interesting subject, because if these people do not get an education, then they will statistically be a drain on society.

as to the God given right, in the first paragraph thats kind of a silly thing to say. policies have changed, and the people who control the border have changed them, and yes they can be unfair.

should voiceless illegal immigrants have a voice in this country? probably not, since they shouldnt be here in the first place. but their plight is real, and their reasons for coming over here are real. real enough that maybe the solution would be for the US to communicate with their host countries to fix the problem. because it is a problem.

back to the chicken and egg thing, i think social systems have deteriorated because of bad spending (war etc) and because of the influx of people. i pay alot of taxes to live here in california, and im pretty sure that lots of people are benefitting from that. and that is the point of taxes, to fund the government with the purpose of it redistributing those funds to govern. doesnt always work out that way of course.

  Gravatar Nathan wrote @ August 18th, 2006 at 5:31 pm

People have migrated all through history and will continue to migrate. One of the roots of the current Mexican migration north is fallout from NAFTA. I agree its problematic for a country when its economy is out of balance, but the people migrating aren’t the problem.

(not directed at you Kenrick) What worries me are the selfrighteous attitudes that would deny help to someone in need on the doorstep. It worries me when a law is used to shield ones conscience from being a responsible neighbor.

  Gravatar xoloitzquintle wrote @ August 19th, 2006 at 7:17 am

I agree with you completely, Nathan. I must point out a few things. The exception to the rule regarging “Third World” (I never liked that term, but I use it out of convenience) immigrants are Cubans (that may change soon). There are no “illegal” Cuban immigrants. Ah the power of ideology.

Beyond the strain on social resources, immigrants are cast as a threat to the social fabric and philosophical foundation of the US: morality and hard work. The importance of the term “illegal” is that it questions the morality of the individuals from the onset. The “abuse” of the social services illustrates the “unwillingness to work”.

The conflation of immigration with terrorism, crime, and the such further casts question on their morality.

Unfortunately this has been a cornerstone of American thinking. A great book that analyzes all of this is “Hellfire Nation” by James Morone. I highly recommend it.

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