Monday, December 10, 2007

Alien Invasion

They invaded my town, arriving without warning in the dead of night. I see them everywhere. They’re short, odd-looking and speak in a strange tongue. They’re assimilating, but you know they’re from Somewhere Else.
They’re aliens.
Illegal aliens.
They’re from Mexico and South America and they’re all over America. They’re hopping fences, crossing deserts and taking Greyhound Buses to get to your humble God-fearing town.
Okay, so it’s not a science fiction or horror movie, but if you listen to the pundits like CNN’s Lou Dobbs, you’ll think it was.
They’re breaking the law coming here, but what are we doing about it really?
Undocumented Mexicans are here in great numbers, but if this were really an issue of national security, you’d have them rounded up in the dead of night and shipped back to Mexico.
That’s not happening.
There’s been a lot of fear-mongering and paranoia over illegal immigration, as if these Mexicans are bogey men who’re stealing our jobs. What a joke that is! Like the line to apply as a lettuce picker or landscaping assistant is long. What about the much-coveted jobs of pumping gas or dish washer?
Sure, we have to pay for the health care, education and incarceration of illegal immigrants. But if they were citizens, we’d still have to pay for them. So let’s get down to what this argument really is about –foreign brown people are here, and that scares the shit out of many.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 57 percent of illegal immigrants (5.9 million) in the United States are Mexican, with 24 percent (2.5 million) from other Latin American countries. So we’re not talking about an influx of Eastern Europeans here. Since the mid-1990s, the number of new unauthorized immigrants has equaled or exceeded the number of legal immigrants. About 80 to 85 percent of Mexican immigrants are illegal, according to a 2005 report by the Pew Hispanic Center.
Two-thirds of illegal immigrants live in eight states: California (24 percent), Texas (14 percent), Florida (9 percent), New York (7 percent), Arizona (5 percent), Illinois (4 percent), New Jersey (4 percent) and North Carolina (3 percent).
The report gives a profile of who the illegal Mexicans are: most are families, young and mostly all are employed. They’re poor, have low education, and low insurance
Illegal immigrants from Mexico crossed the United States’ southwestern borders to get here. Some overstay their visas when they’ve found work and keep working. Men, women and children came because America has opportunities Mexico lacks. They’re not Rhodes scholars or college graduates. They’re dirt poor immigrants who live shit lives. Some of them are criminals who fall into gangs. Yet most are just people who want to work hard and assimilate into their ethnic communities. Their kids learn English in our schools. Most of them don’t want to sell drugs or kill people. They just want a better life raising their families in America.
The American Dream.
Remember that? Remember getting a good education, hard work and prosperity?
Me neither. Those days are gone, replaced by the need to accumulate more status symbols and paying bills just to keep your head above water.
What are the jobs these undocumented, illegal Mexicans are taking from us? Farming, cleaning, construction, food preparation, drywall installers, grounds maintenance, packagers, maids and housekeepers, agricultural workers, dishwashers, cafeteria attendants, janitors, construction laborers, roofers, and painters.
Undocumented workers have an annual average income of $12,000 compared to natives who make an average of $24,000 annually. The average annual income for an undocumented immigrant family is $24,000 compared to $47,700 a native family earns.
The presidential candidates are asked about illegal immigration in every debate. Their responses vary, but most of them want illegals documented or deported. Some want to construct a physical fence along the borders, like this would stop anybody from crossing. Remember those drug smuggling tunnels under the border?
We can’t handle the problem of illegal immigration ourselves. We need to reach out to Mexico and solve this dilemma. We need to get Mexico to improve standards in their country so their own citizens have employment, good services and a better life there instead of here. Isn’t that what America currently specializes in? Telling other countries what to do?
Maybe we need to eliminate sanctuary cities and enable local authorities to enforce federal immigration laws.
If the government can dedicate officers, equipment and resources to stop a stoner from smoking a joint, why can't the government deport people who came to this country illegally?
But why would they?
Just think of the benefits of having illegals here, working under the table for low wages. It’s every unscrupulous employer’s dream. Of course some employers like illegal immigrants. It means they can pay them under the table and don’t have to pay taxes on them. Think of it as slavery without repealing the 13th Amendment: brown people doing shit work for meager reward.
Hey, it’s not like the government wants to hold employers accountable for hiring illegal immigrants. Heaven forbid!
Another fear is the Mexicans are streaming over the border in an attempt to seize control of the American Southwest and take back Aztlan, the ancestral home of the Aztec people. According to legend, the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas are part of a vast territory called Aztlan, and that the Mexican immigrants are populating them on the pretext of an invasion.
Oh, no! They’re taking over the southwest one minimum wage job at a time!
The bottom line is this: if you really want to solve this problem of undocumented workers, solve it. Don’t dither and bitch about how the Mexican illegals are here and streaming across the borders.
Do something about it. Find them, deport them and fine the people who hired them. If you employed a serial rapist and you knew they were a serial rapist, guess what? You’re harboring a serial rapist and you should be held accountable.
We can solve this problem easily and not turn it into a political football. We need a leader who’ll stand up and do the right thing instead of paying lip service to special interests or xenophobes.
I’ve been told if you break the law in this country, you should be punished accordingly, unless you’re a celebrity and have the cash and influence to get out of trouble.
If the undocumented Mexicans who come here looking for work broke the law, then they should be deported and given a chance to legally become citizens.
Isn’t that what America is – a haven for freedom and place where people can better themselves and their families? Or was that whole “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free” just something to fill space at the Statue of Liberty? Should it even apply to Mexicans in the 21st century?

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