Thursday, September 6, 2012

Arizona-Style Immigration Law in Texas? No Thanks.

The Nazis also asked a certain group of people for their papers. Okay, that's an exaggeration, as we obviously don't have now, or hopefully ever, Nazi status. But I'm trying to make a point about what can happen when you stop looking at people as people. I'm really surprised at how many Americans have the stance of, "they're illegal- they deserve what they get."

Frankly, I find this whole fear-mongering portrait being painted of the welfare-living, rapist, criminal immigrant to be disturbing. It dehumanizes them, and history has shown that a dehumanized population is a vulnerable one. The persecution of the Jews in Germany and Southern blacks in the Jim Crow era and before (let's not forget, they were called criminals and rapists too), among so many others, reminds us that hatred of a group, even when coupled with a broad public support and a moral high ground attitude, generally doesn't put you on the right side of history.

But they’re taking our jobs, and we’re in a recession, right? According to this story from The Atlantic, when Georgia passed similar immigration laws last year, they had over 11,000 empty farm worker positions available. I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories of the fruit rotting on the vine there. And found that "economists say immigration, legal or illegal, doesn't hurt American workers."

What about "Nike or Microsoft or General Motors or Ford or Boeing or Coca-Cola or Kellogg’s profiting from non-American labor?" I'm quoting The Family Guy, but he's got a point. Why don't more politicians go after the CEO's of these companies, who are outsourcing jobs Americans actually do want to do? I suspect it is because they are not as easy targets as illegal immigrants. They have more than us and not less. They are higher on the totem pole than us, and we all know that, uh, crud flows downstream. I'm just saying that maybe our anger is a bit misplaced.

In order to understand this legislation, we need to know who will be benefiting from it. No, I'm not talking about all the welfare money illegal immigrants are draining from our system; I'm talking about the billions of our tax dollars prison corporations have to gain from filling up their detention centers. Here is a youtube video about this system. It cites a story that NPR broke in 2010: that members of the Corrections Corporation of America and what is basically their lobby group, ALEC, were present with Sen Russell Pearce at the drafting of Arizona law SB 1070, and ALEC actually designed the model legislation for AZ and other states (This is so creepy, and unfortunately ALEC is designing a lot of other bills that get passed into state laws)

So, no, I'm not in favor of an Arizona-style law for Texas.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for defending Texas, Juanita. My dad's family is from there, and so is Sonja's dad's, gringos and Texicans, respectively. I don't know too much about what's going on in state politics there, but I think articulate and compassionate voices like yours are needed everywhere. When fear beats understanding, everyone loses.