A Prefatory Note: We are Americans. We live in a Republic, or at least we say we do. We are the people who get to decide what is legal or not, since we define the laws. But we can't redefine justice just to serve our interests. Too many Americans are like a degenerate Midas; they turn the golden rule into rubbish, into unfounded fear, prejudice, and greed.
Choose your words. You might call people "illegal" or "undocumented". You might call people "Latinos" or "wetbacks". If you call us names, we are still people. You can never touch our souls with your grubby fingers. Your unkind words hurt us, but they also crumble away at the ruins of your own dignity. For there is no dignity in your disdain, no virtue in the silent avarice of the self-satisfied, no kindness in the raised cacophony of your self-righteous remarks. Just the grinding chimes of broken glass.
But there are two large caveats. First, when he compares our situation to previous immigration, he forgets that previous immigration was controlled in a legal fashion. Scheer clearly wants to set our current Mexican immigration in the realm of the legal, but he doesn't pause to consider the functional differences between semi-orderly transatlantic immigration and the cross-border immigration of desperate people.
Second, Scheer doesn't consider the consequences. He does this for good reason. None of us really knows what might happen if drastic changes were made to the uneasy silence which broods over our lives -- a silence which has already been broken in public debate.
If the U.S. tries to do some give-and-take with undocumented immigrants and their countries, that's good. But the history of immigration has also shown us that when the system ignores people and forces them to consider illegal means of survival, it can't just offer a seat at the table and expect the previous behaviour to stop immediately. At best, corruption grows, though in some cases, over long periods of time, corruption has been known to be a foundational precursor to stable, legal, open operations.
In a sense, the U.S. government can only negotiate with itself; there's nobody in Mexico to say, "well, Ok. Now that you have agreed to make people legal and relax immigration requirements, we're going to stop sending people illegally." These are only partially the actions of a state. The desperation of Mexico's millions will not disappear.
Does this mean we crack down in order to stave off the flood? No. It means we need to acknowledge and address the needs of our neighbors if we're going to address the our own problems.
- We need to care about the people who are here. You don't have to wait for the government. For years, my family has been involved in helping undocumented immigrants find legality. When something goes wrong in the trailer court, we help them fix it. My parents translate in the schools and hospitals. The needs are immense. Now some Republicans want to prosecute us for caring. Do you want to change Hispanic culture? Do you know anything about Hispanic culture? Learn Spanish. Teach citizenship education courses. And you might find that you also change for the better.
- We need to find a way to ease immmigrants into our society. My dad was lucky. He came here legally, and he has an American wife. Even for him, the transition has been difficult. Where he comes from , the gov't was the enemy. The dictators and war criminals were trained and supported by the USA. It takes a lot for people to come to grips with freedom. Undocumented immigrants are already a part of our culture. They work here, they shop here, they go to school here. We don't have the force to toss them back into the rubbish heap, and if we did, we would undermine fundamental parts of our economy, let alone undermine our souls. Their dubious legal status cultivates cultural attitudes of fear, doubt, and mistrust toward all Latinos. Since undocumented immigrants are already a part of our society, we should help them become good partners in our society by giving them channels to live a life without the fear of discovery and deportation. How otherwise can we encourage or expect them to contribute to society?
- We need to care about the people who are elsewhere. Have you looked at Mexico City lately? I'm not surprised that people want to come here. If we want to handle the problem of illegal immigration, we need to look at Mexico and see more than the wall we haven't built. I have no idea how to do this on a grand scale. The need is massive.
- I am glad that the protests have happened. I am ever more happy that there has been relatively little violence. In this, at least, the Latino population has been wiser than many other immigrant groups of history. Let us hope and pray that everything else goes just as smoothly.
So that's what I think, Comma.