Miles Apart on Immigration

Posted by Katherine | July 17, 2008 – 3:20 pm
Texas-Mexico border sign
On the Texas-Mexico border [Broken Piggy Bank / Flickr]

Nationally, immigration takes a backseat to a bunch of other issues in this election, but in border states that may not be the case. Here are two bloggers with Texas roots who feel passionately about it. Their perspectives couldn’t be much farther apart.

Twenty-four-year-old Matthew Webster has been teaching English and ESL in a high school in Brownsville, Texas, where many of the students are undocumented immigrants. He’s about to start law school at the University of Minnesota and hopes to focus on immigration law. Recently, he marvelled at Spain’s welcoming immigration policy (thanks, Ann Raber):

Spain not only attracts immigrants but also provides for them and their family’s assimilation. Immigrants are provided free health insurance, and in the six legalization programs since 1985, all working immigrants were eligible to become legalized citizens. […]

Spain’s reasons for their six legalization programs were, in part, to ensure that lawbreaking employers were not given a competitive edge. However, the major reason espoused by all government officials is social rather than economic. Jesús Caldera, who was labor minister during one of these legalization programs, stated in the New York Times yesterday that, “If you practice exclusion, you risk the future of your country. You risk terrorism, violence.”

From here in rural Minnesota, there is little I can do to actively oppose the border wall in la frontera, a border wall initially proposed to stop illegal immigration. But I can work to change public opinion, the prevailing nativist rhetoric, and ultimately the antiquated and criminalizing laws which produce illegal immigrants rather than facilitate legal migration. We all can.

TexasFred doesn’t buy one bit of the social or economic argument for immigration. He believes “the strain imposed on our infrastructure by the ILLEGALS is bleeding the taxpayers to death” and that “we have a right to protect our sovereignty, we have a duty to protect it.” He advocates militarizing the borders (thanks, Sue Salinger):

Use the [National] Guard, repel the invasion, by ANY mean necessary, I do NOT advocate rounding up and killing the ILLEGALS that are already here, but I DO advocate deporting them, ONCE and only ONCE, and if that means we have to have a ‘no mans land’ at the border, one that is mined and guarded by fully armed troops to stop them from coming back again,, then so be it, if you think it’s too harsh, then let’s hear what your solution to the continuing and repeated violations of our borders would be, and I can tell you right now, asking them nicely to leave and not come back isn’t going to work. […]

The sovereignty of this nation is at stake, the very survival of this nation, and it’s LEGAL citizens hang in the balance, this is NOT a time for political correctness or the lamentations of the feint of heart, America 1st, our survival 1st, and if you don’t fully believe that, in MY opinion you need to rethink your priorities as an American and look at just where your loyalties lie.

It’s hard to imagine Matthew and Fred in any conversation about this.

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