Lying Media Bastards

March 31, 2006

Over My Head

A few folks have noticed that I haven’t written anything about the anti-immigrant bill or the massive protests or the continuing student walk-outs. That’s not exactly true; I’ve started about four different articles on the subject, that immediately start turning into long dissertations on race, class, history, personal history, law, nationalism and globalization. At which point, I get overwhelmed and stop. So maybe I can just hit a few highlights (and lowlights) here.

First up, for any students in southern California walking out of class in protest, here are some phone numbers for free legal support. You might want to write them on your arm in case you get arrested:

San Diego - 619-917-7971

LA -
(english) 310-712-6373
(spanish) 310-712-7066

Now, some bullet points.

- HR 4437 is ridiculous, and I don’t think it is going to pass.

- This law is personal. Why are latino students protestings by the thousand? Because for many, the law says “we’re going to take your parents away.” Why doesn’t anyone understand that?

- Sadly, in public discourse, the words “immigrant”, “illegal immigrant”, “illegal alien”, “Mexican”, “Hispanic”, and “latino” are used almost interchangably, as though they all meant the same thing. So when Congress proposes a bill to make it a felony to be an “illegal immigrant”, and to deport them all, how do you think people respond to that?

- There is no moral component to illegal immigration. I keep hearing people whine about how illegal immigrants are “breaking the law”, or “not following the rules.” Something that helped put things in perspective for me were when I saw a white liberal Democrat, speaking on a totally different issue, say “I’d kill to protect my family.” I was taken aback, but realized it was true. Wouldn’t most of us kill to protect the ones we love, if we had to? What if instead, to make sure they had a decent life, we had to cross an imaginary line on a map? If we’d kill for our families, surely we’d break immigration laws for them.

- The number I keep hearing is that there are 12 million illegal immigrants in the US (wonder how accurate that number is). How did anyone think this was a practical plan? Were they gonna hire a million new police officers? And how was that going to affect this country, uprooting 12 million people (and their children) and sending them away? The national population right now is around 290 million. Losing 12 million would be like ripping off some fingers.

- A lot of white people seem upset that people are waving Mexican flags at these protests. This is mystifying to me. I think these folks think that the protesters should be more submissive, with American flags, like “we just want to be part of you, America”. But I think the Mexican flags are saying, rightly so, “we’re tired of your racist shit, America. You try to make us ashamed, but we’re not, we’re proud of who we are.”

- I just realized that HR 4437 is just like Proposition 24, the fictional ballot initiative cooked up by crooked mayor Joe Quimby on The Simpsons, to maintain his popularity when voters were angry with him. “Ducking this issue calls for real leadership”.

Bottom Line: This is scapegoating. American citizens afraid for their jobs and poor foreigners so desperate for work that they illegally enter America are both victims. Corporate America helped engineer all this, continually taking jobs from one group to give them to another group that’s even more desperate. Globalization means that working class Americans compete with poor Mexican immigrants compete with starving Bangladeshis. And all the “down with illegal immigrants” talk plays them off against each other, actually getting each group to attack people even less fortunate than themselves.

Well, that aspect is for the non-racist Americans who are afraid of losing their jobs (and there are some. I think). Just about every other part of the debate is good ol’ racism.

Posted by Jake on March 31, 2006 9:41 am

7 Comments »

  1. I was at the march. There were way more American flags than Mexican flags.

    Besides, Irish carry their flag on St. Patrick’s Day, so what’s the big deal!

    Excellent post.

    Comment by Bob Morris — March 31, 2006 @ 11:12 am

  2. right on jake.

    the only small correction i’d make is that the legal numbers are mostly message machines, which aren’t tons of use in jail. if you want to call that number from jail, it’ll help them arrange legal support for you, but if you want to talk to someone about feeding your pets, you should call your family from jail. in the sd county jail, you get lots of chances for phone calls, but i’m not sure about other jails.

    also, hr4437 passed in the house, and the senate decided on a counter proposal this week based largely on the mccain kennedy bill. the next step is for the to put the two together to come up with the final legislation. ahh, our wonderful sham of a democracy…

    Comment by lotu5 — March 31, 2006 @ 5:49 pm

  3. ahh, bob may be talking about the march in LA, which had tons of american flags, but the student walkouts have had almost exclusively mexican flags. i saw one american flag all week. i saw more flags from other latin american countries like el salvador and puerto rico than i did american flags.

    Comment by lotu5 — March 31, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

  4. Congress is about 30 years too late with this as it relates to California. The State new there was a huge problem in the 1970’s and nothing was done. Too little too late, the public works have been blead to death, it’s over. What our Congress SHOULD be considering is that major corporations have OUTSOUCED so many jobs that the nation as a whole can’t find work on many many levels. They should be focusing on how our public education system has failed two decates of students and work to fix that problem. They should be working on how to have any/all immegrents paying the taxes that need be paid to support public education, public health, etc.

    Most importantly, SOMEONE should be working on what is so wrong in Mexico that so many people leave. Fix the root cause of the flight of so many people rather than slapping band-aids on problems that are beyond repair.

    Comment by Christine Taylor — April 5, 2006 @ 11:12 am

  5. if they are so proud of being mexican then why dont they go back to mexico, if they think america has more to offer them then why shouldnt they be waving american flags

    Comment by doom — April 6, 2006 @ 9:12 pm

  6. Illegal immigrants are actually wrong when they say that they are not criminals. According to the U.S. code it says in Title 8 section 1325 that they have committed a crime. What they have done is Enters or attempts to enter the United States at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers; or
    • Eludes examination or inspection by immigration officers; or
    • Attempts to enter or obtains entry to the United States by a willfully false or misleading representation or the willful concealment of a material fact; has committed a federal crime. Violations are punishable by criminal fines and imprisonment for up to six months. Repeat offenses can bring up to two years in prison. Additional civil fines may be imposed at the discretion of immigration judges, but civil fines do not negate the criminal sanctions or nature of the offense.

    Comment by matthew moncrief — May 1, 2006 @ 11:19 am

  7. Sure people would kill for their families. I would as well. But I would not expect to get away with it. We understand the the reasons why illegal immigration happens. Americans should not be held responsible for the poor condition of the Mexican economy. We have to take care of our own people, as does every other country in the world.

    Comment by Jay — January 31, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

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