Tuesday, July 05, 2005

An open letter to anti-immigrant groups

This letter is aimed primarily at the Minutemen and S.O.S., but the content applies equally to any anti-immigrant group that has taken up vigilante like actions. I have grown weary of constant complaints from your groups that you are mischaracterized as racist simply because you are "trying to enforce the law." Let us put aside the fact that statements like Joe Turners' about "cultures that are inferior" are inherently racist. Let us put aside the fact that your activities have emboldened, encouraged, garnered praise from and even drawn participation from white supremacist groups. Let us suspend the understanding that scapegoating immigrants under an ideology that they somehow threaten the middle class is frighteningly reminiscent of basic fascist tenets. Lastly let us ignore the fact that while your memberships occasionally hint at targeting northern or other borders, your focus to date has been on one border and against one group of people.

Instead let us examine your assertion you are merely enforcing the law. More importantly let us explore the economic reasons behind your claim. Towards this end I suggest a simple and modest proposal that you may have overlooked in a fervor of nationalism. If you were to adopt this methodology, you could accomplish your stated goals while avoiding the correct and necessary labeling of racism stemming from you current activities. I suggest you marshal your membership and resources and take on the following tasks.

Your claim that undocumented immigrant labor "steals" jobs from able bodied "American" workers could simply be dealt with. Using your pools of enthusiastic membership you could find all these un/underemployed Americans and match them with these jobs. I am quite sure, following your logic, that there is an unending supply of Americans ready and willing to do this work. They merely need your help in locating it and maybe assistance with transportation. Your groups could easily handle this task. By doing this you accomplish several things. You eliminate the economic incentive for undocumented labor because all the positions will be filled by Americans. Who would be willing to break immigration laws when all incentive to do so would be gone? Secondly, you further demonstrate your patriotic nationalism and avoid being labeled as racists because you have opened employment to thousands of Americans who otherwise would have had their jobs "stolen" by immigrants.

Additionally, by eliminating all economic incentive for undocumented labor to come here, you address two major factors you cite for your current activities. Since all potential jobs currently held by undocumented labor would now be held by U.S. citizens, it is highly doubtful that many undocumented people would want to come here. This would deal with your complaint that undocumented immigrants utilize public services at the tax payer expense. While this conception proves untrue since undocumented labor contributes much more to the tax pool than it ever uses, it wouldn't mater since they wouldn't be here. This also takes care of your concerns that local communities are being turned into what the S.O.S. website terms "third world cesspools" (and you wonder why you are called racists). Surely communities of red blooded Americans working at the same wage scales as undocumented labor does now would be the epitome of what Mr. Turner calls "great American culture."

You could call the effort something like "American Labor for American Jobs." Think of the benefits that your efforts would reap. Instead of long nights in the desert with binoculars, Minutemen membership could witness the joy on the face of a fellow American when they are matched with a much desired job in California's fruit picking industry. Instead of long hours in the sun protesting a misunderstood phrase on a train station monument, S.O.S. members could hear the praises of Americans happily employed in Los Angeles garment sweatshops. Since Mr. Turner has already targeted a large home improvement chain for its loose association with day laborers, that would be a great place to start. Instead of ineffectual flag waving, why not show up with a group of able bodied Americans to take back the work from these job stealing day laborers? There are so many jobs that you could open up in the agricultural, textile, construction, service, and janitorial fields to your fellow "legal" American citizens, and it is certain that they would be eternally grateful for the opportunity.

Think about it. All of your concerns: stolen jobs, tax expenditures, over-utilization of public services, so called dilapidation of local communities, and immigration law enforcement would all be addressed in one fell swoop if you and your memberships were to undertake this task. Avoiding the labeling of racism, you might even become heros through eliminating what you state as the cause of so many social ills in this country. In light of this I call on you, in fact I defy you, to drop all your current activities and resolutely take up the program of action stated above. Prove that our characterization of your racism is patently false. Prove us wrong in our understanding that it is our economic system, not undocumented immigrants, that causes misery in our society. Demonstrate that you really are just concerned with the law through removing all incentive for people to break it. Now that you have an easy and foolproof solution to your concerns, anything less would be disingenuous. Anything less will continue to expose you for what you really are.


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