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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Immigration ‘crisis’ a fraud on voters

    Justyn DillinghamEditor-in-Chief
    Justyn Dillingham
    Editor-in-Chief

    Machine politics is always bipartisan,”” Sen. Robert La Follette famously said.

    What he meant by that is simple. He meant that while our two parties might make a great show of disagreeing on some things, they always agree on the truly important things. They may differ over when and how to deceive and betray the voters, but they never doubt that the voters must be deceived and betrayed.

    There is no better proof of this than the kerfluffle over immigration that has dominated our politics for the last two months.

    To behold the seemingly chaotic atmosphere in Washington, one would assume that genuine debate is occurring, and that our leaders are merely reacting to the wishes of the people.

    It isn’t so, for not one lone voice in Washington has risen up to state the perfectly obvious: that the immigration “”crisis”” is a fake issue that has been whipped up to scare voters.

    Let us examine the two major elements of the “”crisis.”” First there is the slow, steady stream of poor migrant workers drifting across the Southwest border. Then there are the estimated 12 million people residing in the United States who are not officially recognized as citizens.

    The deceitfulness of the “”crisis”” lies in two strategies. The first is convincing the electorate that the poor migrants are a deadly threat. The second is convincing the electorate that there is absolutely no difference between these immigrants and people who have been peaceably residing here for decades – even people who were born here whose parents happen to be illegal immigrants.

    The fact that this distinction is even made is a disgrace. Any resident born in the United States is a citizen, recognized or not. We were citizens of this republic before there was a government bureaucracy to open files on us.

    To convince millions of Americans that their lives are endangered by impoverished migrants who sleep in cardboard boxes is no easy task. It requires the full cooperation of every element of the Washington oligarchy. And everyone, even liberal heroes like Ted Kennedy, has fallen obediently into step.

    Even more appalling is the second half of the scheme, for it relies on the oldest political trick of all time: divide and conquer. It is all the easier to rule a people if they can be persuaded to fear and distrust one another.

    President Bush, presiding uneasily over the house-of-cards immigration bill, has been bleating desperately about his “”compassion”” for immigrants. Indeed, he’s so compassionate he’s thrown his support behind a viciously cruel and exploitative “”guest worker”” program that dangles the carrot of citizenship in front of 12 million residents while subjecting them to a tortuous ordeal.

    Would-be citizens must pay $5,000, work here for four years, and finally leave the country and wait for their appeal for citizenship to be heard before they can return. If the appeal is rejected, what of it? They’ve served their purpose.

    Of course, the oligarchs (as always) have a sensible economic pretext for their scheme. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a chief architect of the bill, put it this way: “”As South Carolinians get better educated and get better jobs, somebody’s got to do the chicken processing, somebody’s got to pick the lettuce from the field, somebody’s got to pour the tar.””

    Well, as a Tucson Citizen columnist put it with resounding understatement yesterday: “”The amount of low-skilled labor the country needs is grossly exaggerated.”” What the country does need, what our rulers long for, are servile “”workers”” who ask for nothing. If they are mistreated by their employers, grossly underpaid and discriminated against, who will they complain to? They aren’t citizens.

    The purpose of the guest-worker program is as obvious as it is appalling. It means to create a “”permanent underclass,”” in Rep. Raul Grijalva’s words, of servile and battered citizens who will never trouble their betters.

    What better proof of the obviousness of this plot than the fact that most Americans oppose it? A Monday CNN poll found that an overwhelming 47 percent of Americans opposed the bill. Every candidate who supports the bill has come under fire. In 12 years, Arizona Republican Party spokesman Brett Mecum told the Christian Science Monitor, he has “”never seen people try to walk away from the party, this irate over one single issue.””

    Commentator Linda Chavez, a strong supporter of the guest-worker program, this month blamed ordinary Americans for opposing the bill, accusing them of racism. Opponents of Bush’s sensible “”market-based”” immigration plan, she sneered, “”just don’t like Latinos.””

    It’s always convenient to blame the scheming of our leaders on the prejudices of voters. The truth is, Americans are right in the most general way: We know they are being misled and that the immigration plan is poisonous.

    The tragedy is that we cannot see all the way through the poison to its root in the undemocratic ambitions of our leaders. They, not immigrants who have lived side by side with us in our neighborhoods for years, are the enemies of the republic.

    Justyn Dillingham is the editor-in-chief of the Arizona Summer Wildcat and a junior majoring in political science and history. He can be reached at editor@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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