Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Immigration and The Kids

Bill O'Reilly, immigration reform, high school Republicans, a Hispanic woman speaking her mind, police intervention. . . One story with all your favorite ingredients? Pinch me, Lord, for I have dared to dream the impossible dream!

Here's my favorite part of the story, not to be confused with the most politically important:

The [school] district has spent considerable time explaining that students were not driven to the rallies — only back to campus to keep them safe, Pfeuffer said.

That strategy emerged "after we saw the scale of the walkouts, the temperature that day and requests from the Tucson Police Department to remove students from the Downtown area," Pfeuffer said in his letter to Paton. TUSD decided not to provide transportation on April 10, when some 11,000 students were absent from school.
The temperature? The fu**ing temperature?? That's the school district's stretegy, then: deploy the buses to save these poor teenagers from the sun before they get heat stroke and riot.

The rest of the story, although a bit of a mishmash of lots of elements, including some I didn't even mention above, is something you might want to take a look at. It's the sort of tempest-in-a-teapot misunderstanding that I remember always made me roll my eyes at authority when I was still in school. A lot of people are working on the assumption that students are into this immigration walkout craze as much for the feeling of petty rebellion as for the love of justice. Well, duh. Students -- the smart ones, anyway -- should be raising hell for no other reason than to learn what it's like to stand up to people. The rest either sit in class wishing they were out there or tape segments for Bill O'Reilly. And I wish that was a joke.

I don't have a lot to add to the immigration conversation -- a lot of other bloggers and news outlets have that pretty much well in hand, although you mustn't believe everything you read in the Washington Times because as I learned long ago it's owned by the Moonie Church and man, they are crazy. Long story short, most countries of origin have maximum numbers of people we allow in each year and unless you're granted a magical golden ticket of political asylum or you know someone important, you're pretty much going to have to wait a while. Meanwhile people file in here like so many illegal ducks in a row because their countries are a mess and they're desperate for a place where they can make some money, speak their native language (the Southwest is good for South and Central Americans, the East Coast is relatively good for Africans) and generally live in peace and quiet. The problem is that they undercut our labor laws by giving employers a permanent bargaining chip they use to skirt them.

I've always thought immigration as an "issue" would be better addressed through economic development in these countries that are so unbearable, rather than building some Terminator robot laser wall. (Pay special attention to the phrase "the northern border we could start next" at that link.) As far as multiculturalism goes obviously I say the more the merrier, but our current system doesn't seem to be working so we're going to have to a) give some sort of earned asylum to the ones who deserve it -- probably based on English proficiency at least as much as time in the country -- and b) start figuring out how to make these backwaters livable again. If you throw up obstacles for people fleeing a terrible situation, that doesn't mean they'll stop trying to get here. Evenly spaced archer turrets all along your vulnerable perimeter may be a good strategy for Warcraft II, but it's not a real plan for making America a freer society.


Blogger stephanie said...

What really irks me are the people who blame illegal immigrants for the situation. They act like illegals are coming here with a deliberate agenda to destroy American culture and steal American jobs, yet they have no clue as to the desperate conditions that exist in Mexico and too many other countries. People immigrate illeagally because they are literally starving--they do not have the time to jump through all the legal hoops. They are not trying to steal anything from us. They are simply trying to survive. I think you are correct in saying that reform needs to take place in the home countries. Only when these countries develop the economic resources to support their own citizens will the citizens stop leaving and stay put. Until then, I think we need to take responsibility for our borders instead of blaming the situation on the real victims.

1:31 AM  

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