I did not want to write this post. Mirriam finally made me do it. She didn’t twist my arm or anything, although I suspect if she were in California and she wanted to, I might let her.
Legal or not, immigration is unstoppable. It’s how almost all of us got here.
And, if you really think about it, almost none of us got here legally. At least, not if you’re white.
But as to stopping immigrants, Norm Pattis said it best:
Go ahead and buil[d] a new Hadrian’s wall, this one along the border to Mexico. My prediction is that people will still find a way into this country. All that we will have accomplished is spending lavishly on law enforcement. One of the prime forces making for historical change is the movement of peoples. You can’t stop history.
I listen to a lot of books in my car. My favorite subject is early American history. Particularly the kind that will help me understand the minds of those who founded this once-great nation. I don’t remember which one it was, but I recall recently a book I was listening to noting that many of our earliest Presidents, starting with George Washington and continuing on through (at least for the portion I was listening to) Andrew Jackson, all had to deal with the illegal immigration problem.
You see, the United States had treaties with various large Native American nations, or (more accurately) federations. Although by “Native” Americans, I cannot possibly mean “white people,” still, we’re not talking about small “tribes” of uncivilized savages here: we’re talking about huge numbers of tribes which had banded together.
As I recall, there were at least two distinct federations — one bordering the north and west of the then-nascent United States of America; another, larger one, west and south of us — and there was some indication that these two separate federations were willing to cooperate, if necessary, to stop the illegal white immigration into their lands. Between the former colonies, the Spanish, the British and the French, they’d learned quite a bit about how to fight a war.
They were prepared to fight one against us. It was something our first Presidents understood and feared.
Interestingly, the solution bandied about today is one that these earlier Presidents considered as well: sending troops to defend the borders. Only, of course, the troops would have been required to fire on white people, invading Native American lands.
Ultimately, though, it was not the concern about having to fire on white people that stopped the government from acting. It was a combination of factors including lack of money and that it was just too late. The number of troops required would have broken the bank; the numbers of “settlers” who had broken through the borders, looking for a better life, was already too great.
You might call it “Manifest Destiny.” Readily apparent and inexorable.
Ultimately, this Invasion of the Bounty Snatchers grabbed up everything from one coast to another and, having disposed of the Native Americans, even started a War with Mexico. The end result of President James K. Polk’s creative exercise of the concept of eminent domain was that Mexico accepted the Rio Grande as its northern border and gave us the territories of California and New Mexico (we’d already grabbed Texas — that’s what started the war) for $15 million.
Hey, it beats $24 worth of beads.
At any rate, having stolen them fair and square, the United States now “owned” these territories. And in September of 1849, California held its first constitutional convention in Monterey.
Oh, my, does anything bad ever come out of Monterey?
There was one problem, though.
A practical problem facing the delegates was the fact that all documents for consideration had to be translated into Spanish since approximately a third of the delegates could only read and speak Spanish. (Hon. Gregory M. Caskey, Judge (Ret.), California Search and Seizure (2010 ed.) p.2.)
Yeah. One-third. They didn’t speak English. Only we couldn’t really tell them that if they couldn’t learn English they should go back to their own country. They were in their own country. Or, at least, it was theirs before we stole it.
Fast forward to today. The moccasin, el zapato, the shoe is on the other foot. Americans — by which, from watching the news, we almost always mean “white people” — are none-too-happy about all these people streaming across our borders, looking for a better life. Like their predecessors — I’m talking about the white people — their greed and ignorance knows no bounds. Hell, I read these ignorant fucks writing Letters to the Editor of the Fresno Bee almost daily. It’s frankly disgusting that they’re unable to recognize that the problem with the law isn’t that it allegedly targets illegal aliens.
The problem is that there’s no way to tell, merely by looking, whether or not someone is an illegal alien! Nearly 40% of Californians, for example, are Hispanic, but a large number of them are here legally. Nationwide, there were 45 million Hispanic people, or 15% of the population in 2008. Again, a large number of those are here legally.
This, of course, doesn’t even touch the problem of illegal white immigrants. Shall we just have the police stop everyone and ask for papers? Should we require them to ask the question in German? I doubt that’s what we want.
So, inevitably, the rights of numerous U.S. citizens will have to be violated to find the fraction of the population — and, mind you, it is a fraction of our Hispanic population — that might be here illegally.
Even those who should know better, as Brian Tannebaum points out, have capitulated. After all, 66% of these people think Arizona done a gud thing. As stupid as some of these people may be, it’s possible that some of them might be smart enough to vote. So the politicians capitulate. This time it’s not because we don’t have the money for troops. Hell, there’s no shortage of troops. (That’s why we have a budget problem, by the way. It’s not “illegal aliens.” It’s too goddamn-many troops.)
So there’s a war on, of sorts. Us against them. These people streaming across our borders. The difference is that we spend most of our money these days on maintaining a standing army.
The problem is, as I’ve said, that the standing army we’ve built and maintain has no really lawful way — at least not under our Constitution — of finding out who is here legally and who is not.
So, what the hell? Who needs a Constitution anyway? I mean, after all, as just about any criminal defense lawyer can tell you, we weren’t really using it anyway.
Still, there is this one small problem.
You could call it “Manifest Destiny.” The same thing that caused us to wipe out the Native Americans and started the Mexican-American War. The problem is people looking for a better life. They’re coming here, hoping to find it. That is readily apparent.
It’s also inexorable.
Maybe we should try something different. Maybe we should try to learn to live together.
After all, la linea is just a line. I’d rather see people cross that one than the one Arizona has picked.