Monday, May 1, 2006

May Day

Today is May Day, an ancient pagan holiday celebrating the return of spring — hijacked in the 20th century by the Communists, changing its meaning (for any student of history, at least) to something perverse and evil. I’m sure this day was chosen with care for the national boycott organized by illegal immigration advocates. It can’t be an accident that this holiest day of socialism was picked for the day of the boycott. Probably a good part of that is the fact that this protest has been hijacked, to some extent, by the proponents of Aztlan and the notion that the American southwest was “stolen” from Mexico, and should be returned.

That’s but one of the reasons why this boycott provokes very mixed feelings in me. Another is that in general I support open immigration — but only for immigrants who genuinely want to assimilate into American society and culture. Many — perhaps most — of the illegal immigrants in the U.S. today have no intention of becoming U.S. citizens permanently, or of assimilating. They’re here to exploit an economic opportunity, after which they are going to return home. They are experts at working the system of freebie benefits our liberal government has put in place, they send billions of dollars home every year, and they refuse to become an integral part of American society.

And today they’re going to walk off the job, and refrain from buying anything.

Some fraction of the illegal immigrants — a minority, unfortunately — are the kind immigrants that I believe should be freely allowed into the United States. These are the folks who see America as the promised land, the ones who want to move here permanently and become Americans, the ones who see American citizenship as a highly desired objective. I would have no objection to those folks putting on a boycott, if they believed it would further some cause that affected them — that kind of protest is, after all, a very American thing to do. But I suspect that rather the opposite is true — that this boycott will actually harm their interests, by getting the majority of Americans more agitated about the notions of border control and illegal immigration. In other words, I’m expecting that there will be a blowback from this boycott — and the more effective the boycott is, the more powerful the blowback will be.

On the other hand, I believe those illegal immigrants who are here for exploitative reasons should be denied any kind of citizenship at all, and should be pitched out of the country. In my view, such people are not really “immigrants", and their presence here should be illegal — as should their employment — and these rules should be enforced. So certainly I do not believe that such people should have the right to protest in America. But I cannot blame them for this protest; their behavior is quite natural for someone hellbent on exploitation — this is just one more step in that progression.

I’ve received a couple of emails on my previous post that supports open immigration, from people wondering how I would propose identifying immigrants as opposed to exploiters. I don’t presuppose that this is an easy or simple thing to do, but I can certainly point to a few ideas how this might be done. One indicator would be the unwillingness to learn workable English, a basic Aerican history, and the workings of American democracy. Another would be immediate family remaining behind in the home country (e.g., a husband coming here to work, but leaving his wife and children behind in Mexico). Another might be how much money one sends home, as opposed to spends on building a life in America (though this one is fraught with difficulties, as of course there are circumstances where it would be quite appropriate for an immigrant to send a majority of his or her income back to loved ones at home — especially if the purpose was to bring them to America). The bottom line is that this discrimination between immigrants and exploiters requires some judgment, and I believe that would be a useful purpose for our “Immigration Service” to perform, as opposed to the largely useless function it serves today.

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