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Immigration And Reality
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Amidst the recent immigration hype lie a few salient, conspicuous facts our government officials (and largely-bureaucratic media) seem reluctant to acknowledge.

Immigration hardliners are talking about “illegal immigration” as though they can actually stop it, like they possess some omnipotent, unseen power the rest of us know nothing about, promising that some hypothetical increase in Border Patrol funding, further deployments of National Guard troops, and even the construction of a wall along our southern border is going to somehow, immediately and miraculously, resolve the entire migrant worker dilemma. (Yeah, don’t hold your breath…) Those measures conjoined can’t stop immigration, the most such proposals can do is curb or hamper the tide to some (arguable) extent. Routes and methods will change but, make no mistake, the people will come, as they always have (and always will). This isn't a "crime," this isn’t “illegal,” and this isn't a controversy we need debate back and forth; it's simply a fact. Doug Massey, a Princeton University sociologist, recently pointed out that, “They’ve basically transferred flows away from California and El Paso into Arizona, New Mexico and the more remote parts of the Rio Grande Valley.” Yet this does not change the numbers, nor the facts. Cubans have been known to set out for Florida with little more than fins and a paddleboard, and from that perspective (a perspective most Americans can’t even fathom) what’s so difficult about scaling a wall? Swimming a river? Or digging a tunnel? These (walls) are simply not long-term solutions. A lasting and coherent, realistic national policy in regard to immigration is far more dependent upon logistics and geography than rhetoric and regulations.

Again, this isn't a "crime," to be human is not “illegal,” and to need a job is not “illegal.” This is not a controversy, these are facts.

After living five years in Mexico I’ve come to view immigration from a different vantage point; have become a reverse barometer, of sorts; to simply accept it, immigration, as readily as I accept the whims of weather – rain or shine. The analogy seems apt —- up-to-the-minute forecasts and travel advisories regarding northbound routes into the United States are transmitted curbside, at street-level, along every street throughout Mexico, extending on down to Patagonia, I dare say. Everywhere you go south of the border it’s what they talk about, common knowledge. Kind of like the Mexicano Weather Channel. And the paisanos are here in the United States, aren’t they? Thousands upon thousands more each and every day, to be sure… We should also remember that vast sections of the western United States once belonged to Mexico, and that, as the paisanos put it, they didn’t cross the border, the border crossed them. Aboriginal, indigenous factors simply cannot be ruled out, and should not be overlooked. After all numbers, in the long run, come down to attrition.

The only real, lasting solution for migrant workers and the businesses that hire them lies in economic empowerment on both sides of the border, through introducing technology, increasing free trade, and creating more wealth – for both countries. In reality, regardless of how much money we squander implementing Band-Aid reforms, nothing else is going to change. Another, sadder part of the answer seems almost psychological: Americans need to stop thinking about jobs and the economy as though it was real estate, like there’s only so much, and that some Mexican is therefore “taking” an American job. The truth is that jobs are in no way finite; jobs are like ideas, new products, innovations, always stimulating the economy and always creating wealth. In a global economy opportunities carry over into management and seniority (if nothing else) but, bottom line, greater productivity and industry directly translate into prosperity and empowerment on every level. More production, prices come down, sales go up, exports go up, imported goods follow, the country becomes worth more.

The issue, for me, has become somewhat personal: I’ll never forget the Mexican lady telling me in broken English that, “When Americans come to Mexico we welcome them, treat them with dignity and respect, yet when we go north to your country we’re made into criminals!” It’s true, and there’s something fundamentally wrong with the xenophobic mindset displayed by many, if not most, Americans. I certainly didn’t see too many of our fine, brave "Minutemen" out there with their binoculars and radios in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, when the Mexican soldiers were evacuating, filling sand bags, and saving the city. Yeah, let’s get the story straight: the Mexicans were the Minutemen after Hurricane Katrina. Didn’t hear too many people complaining about “immigration” then, or even thanking the Mexicans (at least not on a national level).

The history of the North American continent, dating back five centuries to it’s “discovery” (for want of a better word), involves little other than immigration; we’re all immigrants (Native Americans excepted) and one group of immigrants complaining about another group of immigrants is pure hypocrisy. Obviously, concessions are needed on both sides; social services provided to illegal aliens should be less accommodating than those provided to legal émigrés, and the notion of amnesty should and must involve costs in order to keep the present system intact, yet the road must exist. Make no mistake, where there is no road, traffic quickly creates one.

Those unwilling to embrace immigration must at least learn to accept it. This is America and, like it or not, immigration is reality.

Street Talk

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