lunes, mayo 01, 2006

Whatever happened to "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours"?

Please note that this post was originally written on Monday, 1 May, but since Blogger hasn't been working since then, I'm trying again to post it today. So just takes yourselves back to Monday, if you will....

.....or "don't bite the hand that feeds you"? Or even "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth"?

This is what comes to my mind when I hear about what all is going on regarding immigration policy. Seems to me this is the first time Bush makes sense. He's only one of the "authorities" who's put his feet on the ground long enough to realize that we need immigrants in this country, legal or not.

First of all, who came up with the crap idea of making them felons? These are people like anyone else coming here for a better life for them and their families. Since when was that a felony? I know, I know, you break the law you pay the piper. I'm a known hard-ass but I can't bring myself to apply that to this case, which is certainly not cut and dried. Everyone knows in their heart of hearts that without immigrants, we'd be up shit's creek, and very hungry at that. Unfortunate story: My mother and stepfather (two immigrants, just legal, which really doesn't make them that different from the illegals in my book. They just started out with the cushy G4 visa and went from there) were trying to get out of New York this morning, and on the way, they stopped at La Nueva bakery in Jackson Heights for breakfast. Due to the boycotts, of course, Jackson Heights businesses are closed and the place is a ghost town. Instead of saying "Oh, we had trouble with all the protests blocking the way out of New York, but we understand their cause", the parents were very upset that they missed out on the empanadas and the facturas and would have to go home without their sandwiches de miga. When my mom told me that story, I knew the point the immigrants wanted to make: without them, New York ain't so much fun. This country ain't so much fun.

In my oh-so humble opinion, immigrants, legal and illegal alike, should be recognized for their very hard work, and before authorities start tightening borders, we should start with a relatively clean slate and grant legal status, or at least the tools with which to gain that status, to those who work and agree to play by the rules and pay taxes and contribute to health care subsidies just like the rest of us. I do still think that if you want something bad enough, you will ante up to get it. Then later on down the road, we deal with the ones who sneak in once we start running a tighter ship because, and maybe you will agree with me, the border patrol is quite lax when it is convenient for America. Let us also not forget, my friends, that the US has traditionally set up programs to obtain cheap labor and periodically (in the past, I mean) let people in with no consequence. Examples are bringing Chinese over to build the railroads and bringing Mexicans in to fill the void in the labor force left by American soldiers who went off to WW2. The US can't really afford to be selective, then. Another solution to curtail the problem which many deem feasible would be to impose tougher penalties for employers who hire cheap labor and then treat them like shit. The theory being that if the resources that immigrants are after dry up, there will be an end to immigration. But take heart, folks, as this will never happen in a million and one years. I think the best idea would be to address the root causes of immigration in order to curtail it. Economic reforms where national wealth in Latin America is shared instead of concentrated onto 10 major families or something, governments that are not corrupt, etc. But that won't happen either. I add here that while Latin America, as much as it wants to, cannot possibly blame all their woes on the US, the US certainly does not help and pits people and countries against each other whenever they can to "stabilize" the region.

I can't wait to see what is decided in the case of immigrants. My guess is that there will be a few more protests and boycotts and whatnot, and then the problem will be swept under the rug like it's always been. Government is very quick to tire and throw up their hands when finding a solution to a pressing problem starts to keep them at work past 5pm. And then they wonder why there are people in this country who don't want to work. On top of that, they try to persecute the people going out every day to do the lazy people's work.

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