Sunday, January 13, 2008

Immigration: No Easy Answers for “A Difficult Issue”

To hear them tell it, for all ten candidates for the Texas CD 22 congressional representative nomination, the immigration issues that have been raised in this election year are, first, the most important issue facing Texans and Americans, and second, clear cut and beyond debate. You’ve either heard them at the forum or read about it. At FortBendNow it is pretty clear that many of the ten candidates see illegal immigration (or maybe just immigration in general) as the number one threat to the United States. But really, at some point in time, all of the ten declared congressional candidates have identified immigration (presumably illegal immigration) as a bête noir that needs priority one attention. From FortBendNow:

John Manlove’s first two priotities: (1) illegal immigration and (2) immigration that is illegal. Jim Squier claims that he is “offended” that immigration laws already on the books are not being enforced.” Robert Talton says that an “undocumented worker” is newspeak for “unaccredited crack whore”. Dean Hrbacek says that Texas needs a southern border fence (finally someone is limiting fences to just the southern border, Canadians can relax now). Cynthia Dunbar blames the federal government for attracting illegal aliens over the border. Shelley Sekula Gibbs cites the strain that the illegal alien problem has placed on “the very viability of our democracy” (possibly explaining the upset win of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire). Jazzy Kevyn Bazzy has trouble with border fences, yes, but seems to have problems with legal immigrants as well citing the “lax process through which immigrant visas are issued”. Ryan Rowley also “saw border and national security issues as being most important to Fort Bend County . . .”. But the immigrant fear-mongering cake gets awarded to our new savior from Islamofascists of the world, Brian Klock, who warns us that “Caucasian Muslims are learning to speak Spanish in hopes of crossing into the U.S. from Mexico”.

OK, that’s everyone but Pete Olson who apparently kept mum about the illegal immigrants at the candidate forum. In his election brochure, however we see Pete saying this:

“If we don’t know who is coming into our country, how will we know they don’t want to harm us?”

So let’s make it an even ten out of ten Republican candidates for CD 22 who want to foment an anti-immigrant frenzy in this district and this state.

Hey, that works. It takes all of our eyes off the ball that remains the Middle East. It distracts us from a looming economic collapse that appears to be coming on the heels of a crisis in the home mortgage industry whose excesses are beginning to pale next to the savings and loan scandals of the 1980’s. It fails to remind us of government sponsored torture, a “health care industry” that has redefined the word “care”, and assaults on our constitutional rights by the federal Department of Justice.

In other words, it keeps us from discussing the substantive issues of the day.

US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican no-less, has a problem with things like border fences. This is because she has been listening to those living on the Rio Grande River, and chose not to ignore them, unlike the junior senator, John Cornyn. Hutchison sees, what would appear to be a very basic issue – to have a fence or not to have a fence – as the Gordian Knot that it is. From The Chron:

“Hutchison, caught between a national demand for border security and Texas constituents fearful that the fence will destroy their way of life, said she is trying to steer a careful course that achieves both objectives. ‘It's a difficult issue,’ she said.”

But it goes well-beyond the building of a fence, it goes to the basis of southwestern United States economy. An economy that led the Dallas Morning News, last Sunday, to name as its “Texan of the Year” the “Illegal Immigrant”.

And this, in the end, is why the “illegal immigration issue” is and will be such a winner among Republicans this coming election cycle. There is no solution that is palatable to anyone. Texas’ agriculture and building industries depend on immigrant labor – would collapse without it. Everyone knows it. By doing what some of them suggest, mass deportation of immigrant workers, they would do to Texas’ economy something that no one wants to talk about: stagnation and eventual recession.

But all of that doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because no one has any intention of fixing the problem – if there actually is a problem.

No, right now “illegal immigration” serves the Republican doctrine writers as a distractor, a red herring, if you will, that keeps Republican voters and others who have become enraptured in the politics of fear, from making clear, rational decisions about their county, district, state and country.

Which is just Okey-dokey in the GOP grand scheme of things.

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