25 December 2007

I Think We Crossed Wires Somewhere...

Tradition states that Martin Luther did a lot of thinking on the toilet. As a man who suffered from digestive problems, he, naturally, spent a lot of time there.

Well, I can't claim such unusual inspiration for this, but given that I have what I call ADS (Attention Deficit Shiny - as close as you can get to ADD without actually having ADD), I do get a lot of ideas in odd places. This one is from brushing my teeth.

I started to think of the movie Fun with Dick and Jane and the scene where Jim Carrey gets arrested by the Border Patrol. (If you think you're missing something, don't worry; you're not.)

A lot of very conservative people complain about immigration, or more specifically people illegally crossing the border from Mexico to the US (in the sense of fairness, there is some concern about the Canadian border, but very, very little). Some even go so far as to say that it is the largest threat our country faces.

Now don't get me wrong, I support immigration reform. But (yes, there is always a "but") not to the extent of deploying the National Guard or building a wall. A better-funded Border Patrol really would do the trick, if only people would get over their tax-phobia.

People say that something needs to be done - tighter border security and tighter screening processes for businesses that rely on unskilled or semiskilled labor (construction and farming come to mind) on the government's part.

But here's the rub - they claim the government is doing it's job. Because of this, we get organizations like the Minuteman Project (see my views on them here). The goal of the Minuteman Project is to alert Border Patrol officials to illegal crossings (though they often go beyond this). What I want to know is why they don't attempt to screen businesses as well?

Why is there no "Support Legal Labor" movement? A group of local businesses and individuals who sign a statement affirming that they will not higher undocumented workers? This is a much easier movement to coordinate than the Minuteman Project.

I have a theory on this. Only a theory, and not really supported by anything, so take it as you will. And I'm sure my greatest critic will say that I'm "buying everything they're selling" at my "liberal" university (I take it as a mark of pride that with as few readers as I have, I still manage to attract a critic). And oddly enough, I'm at odds with both liberals and conservatives about immigration - finally something they agree on. I suppose I should be pleased with this step towards unity. But anyway, on with my theory. I think it's that people are too cheap to actually care. Sure, they'll go on a camping trip with their friends to watch people walk through the desert. But God forbid they give up cheap construction and produce. Imagine the horror of our fast-food workers being paid above minimum wage.

Let's face it - there is no way to stop every single person who tries to cross the border illegally. But there is a way to get rid of the incentive, and oddly enough, it can be done without government involvement. But somehow, people decided it'd be better to take border patrol into their own hands...yeah. Right.

I find it funny (in a very disgusting, disturbing sort of way) that we are willing to, as private citizens, crack down on those crossing the border, but not those hiring them. Advocates of such radical reform as the wall and the deployment of the National Guard argue that illegal residents steal jobs. But what about the people giving them the jobs?

Just something to think about.

Rock on.