Friday, March 24, 2006

I don't know

I don't know what the answer is to the illegal immigrant problem. I was reading this post by Pachacutec over at Jane's and it got me thinking. Being the child of immigrants (mom - Germany; dad - U.K.) who entered the U.S. legally, my knee-jerk reaction is to say, round all the illegals, including their kin and progeny, up and deport 'em. No questions asked, no quarter. Hey, my folks had to play the game and the bullshit politics to get into this country, they both got their citizenship, paid taxes, my dad served in the Army in Korea, and helped build this nation (my dad's company was a defense contractor and played a big part in the quest to reach the Moon and the research and development of most of Grumman's wonders). It galls me that people can just walk in here and expect to be integrated into our society without consequences. Not after my folks had to do shit the hard way.

That said, our relationship with the countries that lie to the south of us is a special one to say the least. For the better part of two centuries, U.S. policy in the Caribbean and South America has directly affected the people in question, mostly for the worse. I cannot blame them for wanting to come here so desperately and we do owe them something for fucking them with our little games on a regular basis.

We also use them as slave labor here and it chaps my ass these Big Agro corporations do not bear any of the pain in this equation. These people are being exploited for huge profits by big business after putting their lives on the line to cross the border. Were they not basically guaranteed jobs, most of these poor, desperate people would not attempt to make the trip.

I don't know what the answer is, but I do know it starts with removing the lure being dangled on this side of the border. Agribusiness has to feel grave discomfort for employing illegals. That's the first step. The next is reforming the labor laws the Republicans have gutted over the past decade. The next is enforcement of existing laws. Then the problem would become manageable. Then some sort of integration of those who've been here for decades. We have to do something soon, not just for the illegals' benefit, but for American workers who are being undercut thanks to our policies which have run wildly out of control. It is time for immigration reform, but I don't think any of the proposals on the table are the prescription.

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