Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Let's Start Again, From the Beginning

I never thought that the immigration reform legislation was going to be successful. There are many interests, in both parties in the U.S. and in the countries from where illegal immigrants arrive, who benefit from the present state of affairs. In other words, the immoral state of “status quo” is convenient.

We have said it before that the state of illegal immigration is immoral for various reasons. Among a few, first for the exploitation and the marketing of human beings as simple utilitarian instruments of production, and secondly for the various degrees of hypocrisy, let’s call them “contradictions”, which envelope all.

Of course, this is not the same as saying that the poor workers who cross the border in an illegal manner are illegal human beings. All human beings are in dignity of their own humanity. But the act of crossing the border of a foreign country without permission is an act which is internationally recognized as an illegal act. And here is the first contradiction. None of the countries from where illegal immigrants come from are countries that do not enforce respect of their own borders. And yet, only of the United States open borders is expected.

The second contradiction, although perhaps made with good intentions, is about solidarity with illegal immigrants. And it is from here that one cannot even discuss the subject rationally. We have gone in public discourse from “illegal immigrants” to “undocumented immigrants” and from there to “undocumented workers” to then calling all illegal immigrants simply “immigrants” and up to the most recent designation by a leading US senator of “undocumented Americans”.

With that manipulation of language it is easy to see why when we speak of “immigrants” those opposed to the present state of illegal immigration are labeled “anti-immigrant”. This is not only a falsehood, but it also helps nothing in solving the problem. All this language has the one and only purpose of painting as villains those who simply see the problem for what it is, illegal immigration; in this case, an unaccounted demographic invasion of our territory by a foreign national population.

However, we must solve the problem because the lack of a solution is no solution at all. But this time those who say they want dialogue and debate must attempt two things. The first is not to make villains out of those who have a different point of view, and secondly, is to put aside euphemisms. Therefore, those who are against illegal immigration are not against immigration and immigrants.

And although there is now an effort by some legislators to impose measures worthy of a Chavez against talk-radio, it wasn’t “conservative” talk-radio but the insult to the intelligence of the American people which gave stimulus to opposition to a hurried, in secret and without debate legislation. This hurry led both political parties to try to impose a solution not from what is good for the country but for their partisan interests. But at a popular level the affair transcended party politics and the majority of the American people let their legislators know that they want a fair solution, that they are not “anti-immigrant” as they are accused of but that they want a secure and just country for their own workers.

Two things have become clear for politicians and the elites. One is that freedom of the press, whether radio, printed or electronic, is the last bastion of popular freedom. And the other, is that the American people is a generous and practical one and is desirous of solving the problem of illegal immigration. But only when its security and respect for its borders is guaranteed will it be disposed to consider long term solutions including paths to citizenship. So let’s start again, with a principle, the principle that all countries have a right to the respect of its borders. The rest is just a matter of acting in good faith.

(Excellent related article)