Sunday, October 19, 2003

Immigration Secrets

The crisis of illegal immigration will not go away by denial or more airport inspections of my birkenstock sandals. There are some not-so-secret agendas at work that touch both sides of the political spectrum. Let's focus on the crisis in the Southwest. Thousands are crossing over from Mexico each year. Here are some of the "secrets":

Conservative agribusiness and manufacturing owners like the present situation - in ensures low-cost labor and happy consumers.

Liberal political groups see present and potential voters beholden to their socioeconomic policies.

Radical groups are pandered to in Mexico and on US college campuses, dreaming of a future "bronze nation" and conveniently forgetting the oppression, slavery and human sacrifice of the Pre-Columbus era.

Some overzealous "patriots" want to seal the borders and create a Fortress America where the "good old days" (that never were) can be restored.

The "secret list" could go on for pages. What should we do?

The following questions will make no extremist happy, but perhaps the thoughtful among our nation can begin a movement toward 21st century sanity.

First, can we agree that the words "legal' and "illegal" need to matter, or the rule of law is in jeopardy? Should driver's licenses and significant benefits and opportunities be offered to only to legal residents, and not proffered for cheap votes?

Second, will we muster the wisdom to create a real guest worker program that regulates and releases people to come and work without fear and without all the same privileges as citizens?

Third, will we honestly confront history? Will the conservatives among us admit that The USA grew into a continental power through warfare against the Native Americans and Mexicans? Will the liberal consider that the way forward is not destroying the present borders, but creating mutual understanding, trade and cultural exchanges that allow the US, Indian nations and Mexico to cooperate without the loss of sovereignty?

The way forward requires moral courage. If we want to rid our hearts and land of prejudice and xenophobia, we must find guiding principles that will continue to allow the USA to be a beacon of hope.

Next time: The Bambino and Billy Goat Curses - How the Red Sox and Cubs can finally win.

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