Friday, October 6, 2006

The real purpose of "local" immigration laws

He was practically giddy as he started the lead-in to the news from Escondido California. Like a crazed Oberführer exhorting on his xenophobic minions in their quest for racial purity, Lou Dobbs gleefully announced that one more local community had taken up his crusade to rid the nation of those he deems unworthy of inclusion.

By a vote of 3-2 the city council of Escondido had voted to make it illegal for landlords to rent to undocumented immigrants.

Dobbs appeared so overjoyed, he looked as though he was about to break into a dance (a little jig at the Wolfsschanze perhaps). He smirked knowingly as the reporters discussed how the immigrants lived in such "overcrowded, (and) unsanitary conditions" the council had no choice but to "penalize property owners who rent to illegal aliens" in hopes for removing the scourge from their city.

As has been the case in all of the other instances where local governments have decided to pass their own versions of "immigration legislation," Escondido was painted as just "the latest American city to try to do the job the federal government will not do."

Yet, despite what Dobbs tells us, these local initiatives have little to do with immigration policy.

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No right thinking person could possible believe that trying to drive undocumented immigrants from Escondido CA, or Herndon VA, Suffolk County NY, Hazelton PA, Carpentersville IL, or Mesa AZ will effect in the slightest way the flow of immigrants into the country or change the overall immigration situation any more than the President's wall building project will.

Just as Bush's twelve foot high wall will only spur the sales of 13 foot ladders, these "crackdowns" on "illegal aliens" will only force immigrant populations to relocate over time to more friendly areas or towns somewhere else in the country. And in essence, that is the whole purpose of this kind of legislation in the first place … it's a form of localized ethnic cleansing. In some cases it's a way to return to time before diversity… in others, a way for newly arriving Anglo populations from other areas of the country to change the centuries old ethnic mix of a region. But in all cases it's all about race and ethnicity.

No one, not even Lou Dobbs in all his maniacal bigotry, could possible believe that those who have risked life and limb to make a better life are going to simply turn around and return to lives of abject poverty, leaving behind family and friends, simply because one town decides to target them.

But the residents of these towns already know that. All they really want to accomplish with this kind of legislation is to make "these people" go somewhere else – to the next town over, the next county, the next state… anywhere by their little town.

To understand their motivations, one must only listen to propaganda minister, Lou Dobbs, snarl about "Mexicans," or hear Pat Buchanan, talk about the death of the "White European Race."

Unlike an earlier incarnation of this kind of legislation in the form of the Jim Crow laws of the past, this current legislation is not intended to keep a people "in their place" but rather to force a people to find a new place… any place…as long as it's not where they are.

Yet, like those insidious laws of the past, these new anti-immigrant laws rely on the same kind of intimidation and coercion.

How else can one explain proposals like that in Mesa AZ which would allow police to use laws against loitering to check immigration status and then use newly granted powers to deport the undocumented? Or the proposition in Carpentersville IL to require schools to turn over records to see if "five children ... (are living) at the same home address, and (if) that happens to be a one-bedroom apartment" in order to target "illegal aliens"?

They are meant for one purpose alone; to intimidate ... but not just the undocumented. They are intended to coerce anyone who might come in regular contact with the undocumented or look like the undocumented, lives in poverty like the undocumented or speaks a foreign language like the undocumented, works with the undocumented, hires the undocumented, or supplies services to the undocumented. In essence these laws are intended to drive out all those who do not meet Lou Dobbs or Pat Buchanan's idea of what "real Americans" should look or act like.

To hide behind a mask of righteousness, claiming that these laws are enacted to "protect" Americas border, or American jobs, or save tax dollars, or protect our schools or whatever else needs protecting, is simply a lie.

These new laws are no different then the laws passed in another country, by another regime concerned about racial purity, nearly seventy years ago. Those laws also denied work, shelter, and freedom of movement and association to a group of people based upon their ethnic background. Those laws too spoke of a peoples "illegality." And just as today, those who orchestrated those laws spoke of an "invasion of their culture" by those who could never be assimilated into society.

As any student of history knows, the horrors that followed did not spring full blown overnight, they were gradual. Rights and privileges were taken away slowly, first the right to own a business, then the right to work, then the right to shelter, then the right of free movement and finally the right to life itself.

All one must do is listen to the vitriol spewed by those advancing the anti-immigration cause today to know that the line between those laws of the past and the current legislation is not so well defined that we can forget all the of the lessons learned from that terrible time.


janinsanfran said...

Really excellent Duke. I think those of us who are not in communities having an immigration panic have little idea how vicious this race hate can become when unleashed -- mostly in my opinion to advance the interests of the demagogues who use it. Think Pete Wilson. What's Dobbs' object? Confess I don't know.

ukcoder said...

We are conducting a survey on amnesty for illegal immigrants in the UK and the USA for the next 6 months at . We want to hear opinions from normal people - not political parties or think tanks.

Your opinions or feedback are much appreciated


Robert A. Kraft said...

The proposal to crack down on immigrants is still going strong in the dallas suburb of Farmers Branch:

Bob Kraft