Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The illusion of immigration reform

I'm going to share a secret: Exactly none of our elected officials in Washington want to do anything about immigration and exactly none of our elected officals in Washington plan to do anything about immigration.

Exhibit A: The Republicans are not going to offend their financial masters in Big Business. If the pool of cheap, uneducated, uninsured, un-demanding labor were to vanish, Big Business would have to pay decent wages, provide decent benifits, and pay taxes to employ legal citizens. And trust me, SOMEBODY will fill any and every job out there. The universe abhors a vacuum. And Big Business abhors anything that affects their profits. So the GOP isn't going to make any serious movement toward real reform.

Exhibit B: The Democrats are not going to offend potential minority voters. They believe it was the minorities that got them elected (because the wealthy are usually voting along GOP lines) so if the Democrats do anything to impede the flow of more and more foreign immigrants, then they'll offend their voter base and not get elected for another term. So the Democrats are not going to make any serious movement toward real reform.

Exhibit C: Perhaps I'm the only one who remembers this, but WE HAVE IMMIGRATION LAWS NOW! They aren't being enforced. WE HAVE IMMIGRATION OFFICERS NOW! They aren't being staffed properly. None of our elected officials are funding or supporting the policies and procedures we have in place right now. So why would they do anything differently in the future?

The secret? They're humoring the voters. They are going through the motions to make it appear as if they are seriously going to resolve the problem. They point fingers at the other side. They thump their chest and decry their plan to be the best for the nation. They cast blame when nobody does anything. But they are doing something, they are playing both sides against the middle. But like a gang of rats on an ungodly huge treadmill, for all their running and panting, they end up going nowhere.

If our elected officials were truly interested in immigration reform, we could fund and build the biggest and most heavily guarded border the world has ever seen. We could seed a mine-filled DMZ the likes of which would make the Koreans piss themselves. We could surveill every inch of it ever second of the day with modern security systems. We could conduct military training for every branch of the armed services on the border: snipers, air strikes, special forces, coastal fire support.

Across the top: "Abandon all hope yee who enter here!"

But, we don't. At least our elected officials don't. They put on their top hats, whip out their magic wand, and prestidigitate their flimsy illusion of immigration reform. As long as they keep promising and never deliver, we'll keep electing them in the hopes that one day the rabbit comes out of the hat. They know that. So they all, Democrat and Republican alike, perpetuate the political stage show, and we never question the secret of the magicians' tricks.

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