Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Deporting 5 Million People Makes No Sense

You were brought to the U.S. as an infant. You grew up here. You speak no language other than English. You know no one in the country your parents left behind. You consider yourself an American. Yet, Republicans want you to "go back to Mexico or wherever you came from." This, my friends, isn't "compassionate conservatism," it's xenophobia.

But hey, punishing children for the "crimes" of their parents makes total sense, right?

Today, a federal judge suspended an executive order by President Obama that would have, among other things, made sure that someone who grew up in America could not be pulled from their home, locked in a cage, and shipped to a country they've never seen. It also made sure no child born in America (and therefore a citizen) would lose their parents to deportation. Obama's order was apparently wayyyy overstepping, according to Republicans, because hey, "once a wetback always a wetback," right?

It's not that Republicans haven't considered the economic impact of suddenly removing 5 million people from the country-- they believe that every single one of these people is a drain on our economy, and removing them will suddenly open up 5 million jobs for good, hardworking white folk.... er.. real Americans. There's just one problem with this economic analysis-- it's simple-minded and wrong.

The Center For American Progress points out, and I'm paraphrasing here, that no nation in the history of civilization has benefited from the sudden loss of 5 million people. Mainly because these 5 million people don't only take-- they give. Like every person ever, they spend money in addition to earning it. And the money that 5 million people spend has a ripple effect throughout the economy.

The Center made this handy infographic to show the economic difference between legalizing these undocumented workers and deporting them:

Even if you don't buy the Center's methodology, or believe them to be commie pinko lesbian freedom-haters, it doesn't take a liberal ideology to do a Google search and find out that uprooting 5 million people is a project that has only been undertaken by the Nazis, Stalin, Genghis Khan, and the most brutal despots of the Roman Empire (also, that thing we did to the Native Americans). While some Republicans may believe these are historical models that America should totally follow, most human beings would agree that there might be a better way of solving the problem of undocumented workers than simply shoving them into cages and removing them to places where many are likely to suffer.

After all, what makes us so special? Because we were born here? Whoop-de-fuckin-woo. You know who else was born here? Charles Manson. The Unabomber. Kim Kardashian. Being born here doesn't make you a good American or a positive contributor to our society. The biggest crime committed by the majority of these immigrants? WANTING TO WORK. Oh no! Oh no!!!!

Sure, they've taken our jobs. How is a real American supposed to get a dangerous, disgusting, degrading, minimum wage job that no one wants? The immigrants have taken them all--like they have since our country's inception. Back in 1776 we gave those kinds of jobs to slaves and indentured servants. Then that free labor dried up (thanks alot, Lincoln), and we turned to the influx of Irish, Italians and Jews that came to our shores from Europe. Then those people joined the middle class, and the next wave of immigrants filled those roles. THIS IS THE WAY ITS ALWAYS BEEN. The previous generation of immigrants moves up the ladder, the new immigrants work their way up from the bottom.

The only difference now is that the oligarchs in charge of America have decided they want to hold on to a greater percentage of America's money than any generation of upper class fatcats in our nation's history. As a result, the middle class is finding less and less money available to sustain a comfortable lifestyle. And the oligarchs, realizing that middle class voters may not like that, have looked around for a powerless group of people to blame... like those "damn Mexicans."

Of course, as more legal immigration occurs, "those damn Mexicans" are getting less and less powerless. Don't think the Republicans don't see this coming. Defenders of the fabulously wealthy for the last three decades (at least), they see their precious "white power" constituency shrinking as a percentage of the population. They see more and more brown and tan faces, and they realize the prospect of winning a national election is becoming increasingly doubtful. The only solution they have is to stem the tide--remove as many of "those people" as possible from the country. The undocumented workers are the low-hanging fruit, the easy sell-- they "don't belong here." But this is not rooted is sound economic or humanitarian policy. It's all about the fear that 5 million people could become legal... and vote for Democrats.

That's it. That's the only reason it makes sense to deport a group of people en masse.

By all means, deport those who commit crimes. Deport those who abuse government services. Deport the layabouts who aren't working, aren't contributing to the American economy. And sure, make it harder for future illegal immigrants to come here, by tightening border security and enforcing laws against employers who hire new undocumented workers. Do more to direct these desperate people toward legal pathways of immigration. Heck, you can even set a deadline at which this "amnesty" will no longer apply. This is all essential for maintaining security and healthy population growth. No one is advocating for opening the floodgates.

But for those who are already here? Who slipped the net long ago and have established themselves? They're not the enemy. Neither are the kids who grew up here, who have little ties to the homeland their parents fled many years before. All Obama did with his executive order was acknowledge that it's too late to get rid of these people without destroying our economy and causing a large-scale humanitarian crisis. This isn't overstepping. It's being realistic.

These people are no longer Mexicans, or whatever. They're Americans, whether the Republican Party likes it or not. Fearing their potential voting power is not a valid excuse for unconscionable cruelty.

And when you uproot families and separate parents from their children, what else can you call it?

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