Monday, April 3, 2006

10% of the population of Mexico is in the US. Illegally.

I was just humming and buzzing along, the way I do, and it suddenly hit me, again. How absolutely surreal. Ten percent. At least ten percent -- maybe fifteen. Maybe more. How Kafkaesque. And even though nobody's going to accuse me of having a low opinion of myself with regard to clarity of thought, it cannot be that I'm the first to have noticed this. What is going on, here? Absolutely weird.

I was reluctant to get into this whole thing. I've said that from way back. Because there's no way to be gracious, really gracious, about it. It is ungracious just to notice the fact. Like smelling someone's intestinal gas. Yes, it stinks, but we politely pretend we didn't notice. But now I have noticed. I guess this gas thing just got to be someone's habit. Maybe it was the shamelessness of it. The in-your-face disrespect of it. The celebration of it. The not only am I entitled to vent my gas but you'd better call it bells and roses attitude. That's what it's like.

What fresh wind will clear the air? How many amnesties shall we try? If the government doesn't enforce the existing laws, why would they enforce any new laws? If stealing a diamond is a crime but keeping it is not, what becomes of the rule of law? We have to catch them in the act, but once we see they're here, they win? This is an obscenity against common sense and civil probity. As a matter of principle, how can there possibly be compromise on this issue? All enforcement of law has a human cost, takes a human toll. Shall this dissuade us from the clearly right course? What has America become, that it is so craven.

No, we do not round them all up and send them south. The idea is stupid, and no serious thinker could suggest such a thing. It is the utterance of the emotional moment, repented of when calm is regained. We arrest them when they make themselves apparent to the police through unlawful - additional unlawful conduct. We dry up the inducement to come, by enforcing existing employment laws. We announce a crackdown on employers of illegals, to give them time to get their house in order, and then we act, with meaningful fines and prison time. We publish and enforce the penalties for document fraud - a serious crime that is engaged in lightly, by this population.

Will prices rise? Yes, wages to lawful residents will rise, and the cost will be passed on to the consumer. If the guy who hands me my fries gets 7 bucks an hour rather than 5, I think I can absorb the extra dime it'll cost me. If the price of letuce doubles, well, gas prices have doubled, and we survive - maybe we'll economize by getting fuel efficient ... a wonderful outcome in itself. Will social stresses in Mexico increase, under the pressure of its returning citizens? Perhaps they will demand there, what they found here - an honest rather than corrupt government, an honorable rather than contemptable police force. But what I know is that we are not Mexico's spittoon. We do not want its effluvia, and do not need it. We are not its outhouse, to absorb its stench.

Of course we're talking about people, not garbage -- brave and industrious people, often. But a government owes allegiance to it citizens. Period. As individuals of conscience, we might do what we can to alleviate Mexican suffering. But it is not the obligation of American society to tend to Mexico's needs. This is the most basic and obvious tenet of the idea of a social compact. Does your heart bleed for the poor country folk down south? Go there and teach them. It is no one's place to invite them here, because it is no one's place to operate above the reasonable law. Would you leave water in the desert for them? This is charity, and a kindness. But if you take them by the hand and lead them from there to here, you are a criminal too. These facts are self-evident, and that there is a need to spell it out is ... is ... well, it's Kafkaesque.


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