Thursday, May 18, 2006

Speaking up on the immigration debate

I've got a number of thoughts on immigration, but they are mostly framed opposition to the current extremism and hateful rhetoric that amounts to thinly veiled racism against Mexicans. As far as the core issues go, I openly admit that I am not informed enough to decide which series of compromises are fair and appropriate. But many conservatives aren't framing this issue in terms of compromises and they have taken a very hard line on this, going so far as to attack their dear leader on the one issue he's ever shown interest in considering compromise.

I understand concerns about excessive immigration burdening our health care systems and schools, many of which can barely function as it is. The closest analogue I can think of is the profoundly negative impact Wal-Mart has on its surrounding communities, especially in terms of pushing their uninsured and underinsured employees onto the public health care system. But they have also increased our nation's poverty levels and reliance on government assistance, and Wal-mart takes full advantage of part-time workers and a minimum wage that hasn't increased in 9 years. So perhaps the immigration debate should be more about foreign relations - why is Mexico not doing more to provide quality education and social programs when the country's income distribution is even more imbalanced than ours?

But I have yet to hear a conservative complain about Wal-Mart's negative impact on our country. Along with many other inconsistencies and hypocrisies in the current debate, these reasons make me feel that the immigration confrontation isn't about solving problems via well constructed compromises. It's about the right wing wanting to pick a fight which they hope they could actually win.

Update: This is pretty funny so I thought I'd lighten my post by adding this quote from PinkDome - "Can you imagine if a mass influx of gay Mexicans happened? Holy shit, the right's collective heads would explode." - SuperWow!

No comments: