03
Apr
08

The Critics Rave

As promised, I will now respond to the comments for my post from a few days ago, which addressed illegal immigration. Charles had some sympathetic words for the undocumented, while Rogerg believed illegal aliens hurt American workers.

But it was Zeezil who really went to town on this subject. In fact, I suspect that s/he has cut and pasted this rant many times across the internet, because I refuse to believe this particular manifesto was typed up exclusively for the Fanatic.

In any case, Zeezil’s dizzying array of stats, quotes, and accusations are simply too numerous to analyze on a point-by-point basis. If you like, see his book-length comment for yourself. I will react to only a select few of Zeezil’s ideas that captured my attention.

S/he is correct that it is not inherently “racist, bigoted or xenophobic” to want to stem the tide of illegal immigration. No doubt, most of the advocates for a closed-door policy have none of these toxic attributes. People who do have these traits, of course, have an easy straw man in the illegal immigrant, but that is beside the point.

So we’ll give Zeezil that fairly non-controversial point. But I was struck by his/her exclamation that “illegal aliens, their facilitators and benefactors” are the true bigots. I don’t know what definition of “racist” Zeezil is using, but it’s bizarre to claim that anyone who proposes a path to citizenship for an illegal is being xenophobic. If so, it is the best reverse psychology ever. Similarly mystifying is the assertion that “political power is the real reason” some people are less inclined to kick out every undocumented worker. I find it hard to imagine a less influential political force than a ragtag coalition of bleeding-heart liberals and poverty-stricken individuals who can’t even vote. This is not exactly a major lobbying force.

In addition, Zeezil refers to the “children of illegals” costing us a lot of money. Regardless of whether or not this is true, we must parse that phrase for its more complicated meaning. The “children of illegals” can, in many cases, be called something else: citizens. This is because, of course, anyone born in the United States is automatically a citizen, regardless of parentage. There are movements underway to change this, and I’ll have something to say about that in a future post. But for the foreseeable future, it is the law of the land, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, no less.

Speaking of kids, Zeezil also brings up the tragedy in Minnesota, where an illegal immigrant crashed into a school bus and killed several children. This is undeniably horrifying. It is, however, also irrelevant to the main debate, unless no children have ever died in car accidents caused by U.S. citizens.

This anecdotal evidence, along with a casual mixing of percentage and whole-number stats (apples to oranges, as it were) is designed to show that illegals are to blame for, well, just about everything. This demonization is part of the problem I bemoaned in my original post.

The funny thing is that I’m not violently opposed to some of Zeezil’s points. I say as much in my initial post that immigration is a brutally complex problem that defies easy solution, and we will likely have to adopt a mixture of conservative and liberal ideas to resolve it. However, fear-mongering and questionable evidence are not going to help the situation. So I hope we can move the debate to a higher, more logic-based level.

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