Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Immigration: No mas!

Arizona's recent action to get a grip on its illegal immigration problem was expected as was the negative reaction to it.

To its supporters, which includes a majority of Arizona voters, the law has a double benefit: it targets illegals and it challenges federal authority.

Arizonans, officially, have always had a problem with race. Former governor Evan Mecham, lost his reputation, his office and his state's good standing by opposing the national holiday for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last year, Arizona State refused to give its commencement speaker, President Barack Obama, an honorary degree, which is customary in these types of things, because he hadn't accomplished much yet. And, how many ASU grads have become president of the United States? Exactly.

My dad grew up in Arizona and remembered that after the white kids swam in the public pool, it was drained before the Mexican kids were allowed in, and vice-versa.

As a nation, we've always kept our distance from the brown-, black-, "yellow-" and red-skinned people.

Arizona loves to attract attention for all the wrong reasons. Now, add its love-hate relationship
with Mexicans to the mix.

The law is intended to corral the illegals. Here's a forceful argument in favor of the law.

To its critics, the law codifies racial profiling. Obama criticized it. Check out this story for reaction from abroad. Love the headline: "Hysterical nativism."

Those who know ethnic profiling first-hand are naturally hostile to Arizona's approach. Read this for an example.

Boycotts have been called by San Francisco, St. Paul and other cities and states.

Since the law challenges federal authority, it's likely to be ruled unconstitutional, according to a piece from the Wall Street Journal's website.

All of this is secondary, of course, to how it plays out politically.

While Hispanics tend to be Democrats or at least aligned with Democrats, the Arizona law divides Republicans. Read this story for background.

Karl Rove, who spoke in Bend recently, sees the potholes ahead for Republicans, and opposes Arizona's law. See his reaction here.

The states that border Mexico -- Arizona, California, Texas and New Mexico -- all have serious problems, from schools to hospitals to other state services, related to illegal Hispanic immigration. Auto insurance companies needed to add uninsured coverage to a responsible motorist's bill largely because of illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America who didn't have any insurance.

Even Oregon has its share of issues since it relies on seasonal employees to work the fields, bus the dishes, clean the motel/hotel rooms and roof the houses, among other vital services. The number of Hispanics in Central Oregon continue to rise year after year.

That being said, the real problems are being swept under the rug.

The most prominent question is: Who hires all these illegal immigrants?

Another is: Who puts up all those billboards in Spanish?

Or: Why are we given a choice of English or Spanish whenever we call any major corporation?

Government certainly hasn't mandated these things.

And, government can't stop these things because it will be accused either of censorship or restraining trade unconstitutionally.

Basically, the problem is entirely ours.

We want the cheap labor that Mexicans provide, we just don't want Mexicans, particularly those who don't learn English, to have any rights here.

It's like Woody Allen's joke at the end of "Annie Hall":

"This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, 'Doc, uh, my brother's crazy; he thinks he's a chicken.' And, uh, the doctor says, 'Well, why don't you turn him in?' The guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.' "

To paraphrase Woody, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about illegal immigration; ya know, it's totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd, and... but, uh, I guess we keep accepting it because, uh, most of us... need the eggs.

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