It’s tempting to put my tongue back into my cheek again on the immigration issue (where it was this weekend). I intended to do just that, actually, when I sat down at my keyboard this morning… but I can’t. As I wrote recently to a friend, subtlety is not always understood in the blogosphere.
There are a couple of pieces to the immigration reform puzzle that are inconvenient to some political cypher-solvers, though, and Polimom thinks it’s important to call them out — little items like hyper-partisanship, and the long-term effects of emotional decisions.
Partisanship for its own sake
We, as a nation, have not been united for a dismally long time, and it’s evident that those on the poles no longer recall that there’s more to our country than the ascendancy of one’s political party. John Hawkins’ blog entry, in particular, made my blood run cold:
Furthermore, let’s say all 11 million illegal aliens become US citizens. Which party do you think they’re going to vote for? Even if they split 60/40 for the Democrats — and given that they’re mostly poor, uneducated people, from mostly socialist countries, who don’t respect our laws, those are probably extremely generous numbers for the GOP — this will add more than 2 million potential votes for the Democrats.
It really bothers me that potential votes for the opposing political party could define the issue… but then, I’m an Independent who thinks both parties have driven off the main road into the woods. Beyond that, though, the assumption of poor and uneducated as some kind of life-status demonstrates a complete disconnect from why these folks are here in the first place – or didn’t anybody notice how many students are demonstrating?
Furthermore – like so many issues, (illegal) immigration brings hot words and knee-jerk reactions, which inevitably lead to faulty logic. For instance: if you’re afraid that the immigrants are taking jobs away from Americans because they’re undercutting wages, or (conversely) you think that granting citizenship will continue to fill the jobs “at the bottom” – you don’t understand where the thread ends.
The sad reality is that the American economy depends on people who are willing to work for wages that won’t sustain an American household. Whether one grants citizenship or sends all 11 (or 20) million people “home” will have the same effect: the agricultural and construction industries will have to radically raise the prices of their products to offset the (new) costs of labor.
Finally – If the debate (for you) centers up on “securing our borders” because of September 11, and/or you are upset by the numbers of protestors flying the Mexican flag, then Polimom has yet another stickler or two for you to think about:
- The folks who have entered the country from Mexico did not fly those planes.
- Whether the number of “illegals” is ten or twenty million, that’s a LOT of people. And they are here already. Right now. Not only is there enormous risk to the United States if we make an enemy of our neighbor to the south, we simply cannot ignore the potential chaos that riots and violence within our borders will produce.
Yesterday, the Senate stunned Polimom with their immigration reform bill. I’ve long-since given up on this country’s leadership to do anything but lead the fray into the mud-wrestling pits, but the Senate did the right thing yesterday when they put the brakes on this emotional roller-coaster.
The coming debate in Congress is likely to bring out the worst possible rhetoric from both sides of the argument. Before hasty decisions are made – whether from fear, partisanship, or short-sightedness – everybody needs to calm down and think. There’s a lot at stake.