Following the GOP presidential wannabes has been, well … entertaining. In answer to our immigration dilemma, top contender Herman Cain would build an electric fence to electrocute folks. Michele Bachmann would build two walls!
Is it any wonder this slew of presidential hopefuls is also known as the “committee to re-elect the president?” Who could have more loony ideas? Well, Democrats are working just as hard on this issue.
No matter. After years of passing laws targeting undocumented immigrants, economic necessity may begin to force more rational answers.
Farmers in Alabama, Washington state, Georgia, Utah and Arizona are now whining that crops are rotting in the fields because immigrants are fleeing their states, or afraid to show up to work. Interestingly, some employers are offering twice the undocumented wages to “American” workers, but are finding few takers.
Hundreds of millions of agriculture, construction and service dollars are at stake. And we’re now destined to pay higher prices for scarce food and products because of our continuing wacky immigration course. We need a climate for common-sense solutions. While not a presidential candidate, I’d like to propose a start:
n Let’s stop demonizing and pursuing undocumented workers. They’re a national resource. And we have a symbiotic relationship with them. To his discredit, Obama’s administration has arrested record numbers of undocumented immigrants, thereby adding to the wasted billions on needless police actions, deporting needed labor, building hatred fences and behaving as ugly Americans.
n Stop referring to the undocumented as “illegals.” Otherwise decent people and the media have embraced this misleading “illegal” slur and are unwittingly are carrying the water for the racists in our midst.
The fact is, undocumented folks are merely guilty of a misdemeanor. Just like those who run red lights, don’t buckle their seat belts, talk on the phone while driving or jaywalk. Note that the Journal recently reported on the crackdown on jaywalkers: Cops will be issuing warnings to violators. We don’t label these millions of miscreants “illegals.”
“Illegals” is a derogatory slur, a hatred code word and should be stopped. Hate crimes against Latinos since 9/11 have doubled with the escalating anti-immigrant mood. Calling people “illegals” is disrespectful enough, but they’re also slandered by being called “terrorists,” “un-American,” “criminals.”
Politicos and the media play into the hands of these bigots who incite hate and violence and have poisoned the well of rational discourse. All parties, liberals and conservatives, are drinking from this toxic well.
It’s time to stand up to the persistent racism fouling our society. If decent people everywhere would say, “Enough!,” then we could begin to develop a rational, long-term immigration plan – none of which exists in today’s political picture.
But let’s close this shameful chapter in U.S. history. One that includes the owning of slaves, the slaughter of Native American people, the internment of Japanese Americans and now, the dehumanizing and battering of lowly immigrants whose only crime is to be brown and poor and vulnerable.
I’d like to see Herman Cain’s grandchildren respond to learning about black lynching and then, of their grandpa’s presidential campaign plan to electrocute/kill hungry human beings who came here to work backbreaking jobs and improve our society, all the while, forced to live in hiding and in fear.
Likewise, there’s a great, if sad irony in Gov. Susana Martinez, whose grandparents are now branded as “illegals,” a slur she herself casually throws around today. Would her grandparents be proud of the first Latina governor in U.S. history nonchalantly using this ugly slur and wasting taxpayer money to pursue folks, like themselves, for wanting to legally drive on our streets? I doubt it.
Let’s stop using the vile slur so we can create the climate for real immigration reform.