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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What Happened To Their House Before They Came To Yours - News - Current Affairs

One page out of the anti-immigration reform movements play book is usually some form of the following statement:

"What if someone broke into your house, ate your food, had kids and stayed there."

In this analogy your house is the USA, your doorstep is the border and the people breaking in are illegal immigrants. I think there's a difference between breaking into a home and crossing an invisible line in the earth, but I will concede that both are against the law.

I would also presume that the members of your house are like-minded about keeping these invaders out of your house, but this country of 300 million people hold many different opinions about immigration. Some in the 'house' tactically endorse these people coming over the border illegally in order to have a slave labor force for the major corporations of this country.

The enforcement-only advocates will say they are not opposed to foreigners coming here as long as they follow the rules and obey the law. They should take a number and wait their turn, we are told. This makes perfect sense until you discover that for most of those who want to come, legal admission is practically impossible due to an antiquated immigration system.

Some say, "How dare they come to this country illegally and despoil this nation of it's great wealth."

How dare they indeed! How is it that these people have 'arbitrarily' ended up on your doorstep and are breaking into your home.

Illegally crossing the border is criminal, but the policies of this country that have caused mass immigration are also criminal. US trade and military policies in Central and South America that have caused a devastating economic climate have led to this exodus.

The US has a long history of supporting oppressive oligarchies in Latin America, from Nixon in Uruguay, Reagan in El Salvador to Obama in Honduras. One area of the world where the U.S. government has most engaged in the use of torture is Latin America, and it has been an integral part of our foreign policy there. There is a steady history of right-wing groups overthrowing democratic governments and torturing citizens with the support of the United States. The poor people of these countries get the worst of it and become refugees adding to the numbers of immigrants heading to this country.

Then you have the policies of NAFTA (Clinton) and CAFTA (G.W. Bush). The consequences of these agreements have been devastating for the poor workers in Mexico and Central America while making billions for U.S. corporations and for the elite governments of those countries.

The government in Mexico signed NAFTA, but it was under the coercion of huge international business interests. This resulted in the devastation of Mexico's economy by giant corporations that flooded their market with cheaper products. A lot of that was artificially cheap corn, subsidized with our tax dollars, and imported to Mexico. A conservative estimate is that 1.3 million small farmers lost their livelihood due to this. That means they lost their ability to earn a living, feed their families, despoiled of their homes, and then you wonder why they ended up on the doorstep of your 'house'. It's ludicrous to deny our countries complicity in the flood of immigrants coming here.

We can shout that America is "the greatest nation ever born from blood on this planet", but that's a subjective statement. Unless you have lived in every other country in the world it's not objective. We can wrap ourselves in the flag, and blind patriotism that is more often thinly disguised arrogance, or we can be the great 'Christian' nation we proclaim ourselves to be and reform the immigration laws to make it possible for these people who have been disenfranchised by U.S. policy to enter the country legally.

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