In a nation of immigrants, since the first landed on Plymouth Rock, each wave of new wannabe Americans were all too keen to slam the door behind them. The early natives probably weren’t happy with our forefathers trying to swindle and exterminate them from their land. The early immigrants came waving their bibles; these days, if your name is Jesus, they want to see your Green Card hoping to deport you.
I remember my early elementary school years in an ethnic Polish neighborhood in Upstate New York. Writing a newspaper column forty years later, I visited the long shuttered school building. The only Polish business names were on the signs of two funeral directors. The 19th and 20th Century immigrants had generally prospered and moved to nicer neighborhoods, to be replaced by newer migrants shopping at a bodega.
There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants. Evicting them all by being frog-marched to the border by some hokey, Bushmaster Accessory Barbie assault rifle fondling ‘militiamen’ is as impractical as Bishop Mitt “Mitt WHO?” Romney of Kolob’s scheme for “self deportation.” Mitt’s probably building crestfallen wifey Ann a big new white house to try to finally dry her flooding tear ducts. Probably won’t work.
We aren’t alone in trying to control who comes into our country. Booming European economies have to attract labor from more austere ones, The European Schengen states long ago took down their intracontinental border immigration checkpoints, but those seeking work still try to enter from every corner of the globe. They aren’t building any “dang fences”, as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) promised when he had an unexpected GOP primary contest against ex-Rep. J.D. “10 Dumbest Members of Congress” Hayworth (R-Huckster). The defunct East Germany fifty-odd years ago even tried selling the Berlin Wall to its’ sullen Trabant-driving inhabitants as keeping westerners out. Didn’t work. That barrier was torn down over twenty years ago. Germany absorbed the Osties, and not without pain, but they did it. Spaniard and Greek engineers are learning their umlauts in booming Germany.
We used to make the appearance of welcoming new blood. All immigrants were not treated equally. If you have a hot tech grad sheepskin, the technology lobby wants you, leaving displaced American workers from less popular industries to fade away. In kooky South Florida, if you came from Cuba, you were basically “home free” once you touched dry land. The Mariel boatlift debacle allowed Fidel Castro empty his prisons to send them to fill ours with undesirable criminals. Fidel’s not doing well in his 80s, but I imagine he had a good laugh at our expense.
If you weren’t Cuban, any attempt at solving the immigration problem was decried as “amnesty.” Never mind that Americans were all too ready to save money and boost profits by hiring those same “illegal immigrants.” GOP poster boy Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Daddy came here to tend bar, not flee Castro) has been finding the conservative third rail out the hard way, that xenophobes on his Righty extreme aren’t keen on realistic solutions.
Eleven million uninviteds aren’t going to go away in an Arizona remake of Casablanca’s “Round up the usual suspects” starring grandstanding Sheriff Joe “Pink Undies & Peanut Butter Sandwiches” Arpaio (R). To coax the undocumented out of the shadows will require a clear, reasonable, and achievable path to residence and citizenship. It’s gonna take more than Texas Rep. Debbie “Terror Babies” Riddle (R-Horsie Girl) wanting to exempt gardeners and some maids to tidy milady’s bidet.
If Republicans want to avoid losing a sizable and growing crucial Hispanic vote as they have been in the last couple of election cycles, they are going to have to come to the table with meaningful solutions, instead of burying their heads in the sand.