The Texas Inkling


Illegal Immigration:  a Humanitarian Crisis by JC Sanders

Most people who read the articles on this site and who see that I am commenting on immigration are probably going to want me to either come down hard on the left for being soft-headed, while a few may be expecting me to come out against the right for being hard-hearted. It is not exactly my intention to do either, though I suspect that in the course of writing this, I shall do a little of both.

First, as regarding illegal immigration, let's not kid ourselves. It is a problem. And while our northern border is not exactly secure, we all know from which direction people most often enter the country illegally. I fully understand that the people who are entering are by-and-large desperate, and given the situation with the drug cartels, many/most of them probably qualify as refugees. Nevertheless, this does not excuse the fact that our borders are so porous as to let them wander across, or (worse still) be smuggled across by the various "coyotes." And yes, it does bother me that a number of them are coming across to take advantage of our welfare programs without actually contributing to society. They are the very definition of "proletariat," which if I recall really means a person who pays no taxes, does no meaningful work, and in no other way contributes to society as a whole or even more locally to their community. I am reminded of Russell Kirk's indictment: "In the old Roman definition, a proletarian is one who gives nothing to the commonwealth but his progeny - who presently grow worse than himself."

This is, of course, the minority (pardon the pun) of immigrants, both legal and illegal. Most of the people here whom I have met personally are very hard-working, often more so than the natives of our society. There are of course native born proletarians, too. They point to a system which is broken and in need of repair, though it is possible that no repair will ever really be made which is not worse than the problem we have at hand.

I do think that immigration ought to be more streamlined. Among other things, if we could make it a lot easier to let people through, it will also be a lot easier to keep tabs on them--which should help ease national security concerns. Moreover, there would be less need of coyotes, who are essentially experts for hire in illegal border-crossing. Don't think that they will not sell their services to the highest bidder, which includes people who genuinely want to hurt America. And when I say streamlined, I'm not just talking about towards Mexico. There are plenty of people in countries like Poland, Lithuania, and other central European countries (not to mention former US territories and protectorates such as the Phillipines) who would love the opportunity to come here; our immigration policies towards these countries is, as best as I can tell, far more stringent than towards our neighbors to the south.

As for proposals for a wall, I fully support these, especially in conjunction with streamlining our immigration. Let's be candid: there are no really good reasons to oppose building the wall. Some people argue that a wall is expensive; but just ask any of the farmers along our southern border who have been virtually exiled from their own properties by the flood of incoming immigrants--some (certainly not a majority) of whom show utter contempt for private property rights and hostility towards "los gringos." There are two other very good reasons for adding the wall: security and "traffic control."

The security reason is this: there have been armed convoys of drug dealers crossing the border more-or-less at will. These are dangerous, and cannot be handled by our normal border security folks of local law enforcement officers. Given that a drug war has been raging in many parts of the country, and particularly in some of the northern areas such as Juarez, do we really want the cartels to have free reign in the southern parts of our country (and beyond)? The war is violent enough that American tourists have been warned not to vacation in many of the usual (read: "safe") parts of the country. How long until it we find that it engulfs the southern parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas?

The "traffic control" reason for having the wall is probably the most humanistic. Do we really want immigrants--even illegal immigrants--to wander through the desert areas of Arizona and New Mexico? From speaking to some of the volunteer border patrol folks, this is a big enough problem that's it's amazing that the mainstream media hasn't given it more coverage. How many of these poor souls are dying in the desert for lack of food and water? One of the fellows who I talked to said he'd encountered nearly a dozen corpses--and that was three years ago when they were first beginning. Where's the dignity in that?

And speaking of dignity, there is one final problem with our immigration system. The argument is made that we need these immigrants (including the illegal ones) because they will do the work that "ordinary" Americans will not. If this statement is actually true, one should ask why it is that ordinary Americans aren't willing to do this work. Sure, some of us are "spoiled" or lazy, but really, there are no Americans who will do this work? Especially now, during the worst recession since Jimmy Carter?

I suspect that the reason why most "ordinary" Americans won't do the work is because either conditions of this work are, shall we say, beneath the dignity we expect of our work. Maybe the wages are too low (read: less than the mandated minimum wage, and probably far less) so that (given the cost of living) the pay is virtually nothing. Or maybe the conditions are not up to normal safety standards--meaning that no efforts have been afforded to the safety of the workers. In other words, the existence of illegal aliens is used to justify the existence of illegal sweatshops here, in America, right under our very noses. The irony, of course, is that we pretend that these sweatshops are a justification for having illegal immigrants come to America. They involve work which would be done by any honest and hard-working American, if they would only pay an honest and fair wage, if only they would put some honest effort into improving the working conditions to a fair and reasonable level.

And of course, there is another problem with this line of reasoning. If "ordinary" Americans won't do this works, but these illegals happily will, haven't we just de-humanized the illegals? They my be here illegally, but that does not take away their humanity in the least bit. Even criminals are human beings, but apparently this one class of criminals is no longer worthy of that title. They are now the sub-humans, or the "undermen." There is something profoundly wrong with that outlook, as history itself and particularly this last century of history has shown.

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