Illegal Immigration: Blessing or Burden?
I am going to share with you a conversation:
Carmen is a Special Education teacher and she is a Democrat; a third generation American Latino. Noah, her husband is a business man. He is and he and his family has always been staunch Republican. Did I say she’s a Democrat and he is Republican? Yes. This happens. Ex-first lady Laura Bush was once a registered Democrat before marrying George W. Bush. But I digress because I want to make the point that we can work together to find a solution to the thorny problem of illegal immigration.
Why Mexicans come to America
“Why do Mexicans come to America illegally, Carmen?” Noah was looking up from an article he was reading, an eyebrow raised.
“To live better,” she said simply
“There are over eleven million illegal immigrants in America, they say that here, but how did this happen? That’s an aweful lot. They also say here that getting across the border is fraught with extreme danger. Why would anybody take that chance? The writer talks about the hot desert, the drug cartels, and now the terrorists.”
“What are you reading?” she asked.
“A story about a Mexican family who came here a long time ago. Five set out from Oaxaca, but only only three survived. Horrible. The mother was raped and killed. The father still has no idea what happened to his teenage girl?”
He narrowed his eyes and seeing this. she carefully put aside her sewing. “Most illegal immigrants came here over ten years ago, Noah, when the poverty in Mexico was beyond awful. It not that bad anymore.” She didn’t like this subject because her favorite cousin, Ana, was illegal and Noah had not been told. “And so this Mexican writer?”
“He hasn’t remarried, has two children, got himself legal like you, and he brought his parents out to care for his twin boys.’
” I still don’t know why they all come here illegally?”
She said slowly, “It is hard for someone like you to see just how bad it was in Mexico twelve years ago. You said Oaxaca, just horrible, terrible poverty in the South. Most of the early immigrants, they came from Oaxaca. There was no work there at all.”
“Still it would have been better to wait for a visa, no?”
“You are joking right? No time waiting for a visa, if they wait they probably dead. Noah, you have no idea the violence, the crime and corruption. It is the gangs. ” Her voice trailed off.
Like Trump says, “Bad Hombres?”
She snorted. She had no time for Trump.
“It got better, the crime and the poverty, didn’t it?”
“Factories came to Guanajuato, Yes. That was the Vincente Fox.”
“Is it getting bad there again?.”
“Those from down South have for a long time learned to live each day by day.” She was again thinking of Ana.
“We live on the same big continent, Carmen, Mexico has rich people, and natural resources. Why all the crime? Why the corruption? Why the poverty? Why does Enrique Peña Nieto not fix it?”
She snorted again. She didn’t like Nieto.
“It’s not a perfect world, Noah,” she said finally and he could feel the depth of her apathy. “Some things they just are.”
Crime, Drugs & Terrorists
Another discussion, a different day.
“Trump is not willing to accept things. He is trying to stop bad hombres coming into America.”
“Good luck to him,” she shrugged her pretty shoulders. How many presidents had she seen try to build that wall and fail. “He is not going to build that stupid wall, Noah.”
“When Trump decides something, he does it.”
“No, no, this thing, it is impossible! The school principal was just talking to the teachers in my school today making a very good point, we mustn’t make rules we can’t enforce.”
“You mean school rules?”
“He was talking about school, but I am talking about immigration. Do you think it is going to be possible to send eleven million people back across the border? An awful lot of people Noah. Mexico can’t take them in, that’s why they left.”
“At least we have to send the criminals back?”
“Ana is no criminal, they own their house. Her husband fixes cars. He works hard.”
“Ana is illegal?” She had let it slip.
“I didn’t know she was illegal?” said Noah. If she had told him he would have tried to help. This was the problem with immigration there were secrets, deep, dark family secrets. He continued lamely because he was thrown off, now this was close to home. “Crossing the border without papers it’s a crime. Why has she not gotten legal?”
“I don’t know.”
“They bought a house; she could have gotten her papers, I suppose she voted in the last election?”
“No, she was too scared.”
“But others did?”
“Of course. Obama promised to make them all legal.”
She could see she had touched a nerve so she said quickly, “It’s not just the Mexicans, we are not the biggest problem. Refugees are coming in from Somalia, from Syria, from Guatemala, from all over the world. It’s already hard to teach Latinos in English when it is not their mother-tongue, but you try teaching Arabs. I know. This is almost impossible. It is the words. You have to first teach them the words.”
“There are now refugees in your classes?”
“I am teaching three Arabs.”
“But you don’t speak their language.”
“What are they like?”
“”Very hard to teach. They have been taught to hate USA; they have been taught this in the home and also in the Mosques. One boy told me he hated us from the age of four.”
Noah was astounded but it made sense. She was trying to teach over that resistance and he was sure not much learning could happen.
She sighed deeply, “So you see Noah, we Latinos we are not the worst of it. We are not terrorists, not drug smugglers, not even rapists. Trump is not talking about us when he talks about the bad hombres.” Her voice had gone up another octave.
“Latinos need protected from these bad elements also, can you now see why a wall? ”
She sighed, tears still in her eyes. “Maybe.”
The way Noah saw it, the way most Republicans saw it, a president’s first job was to keep his people safe, but this time he wisely said nothing.
“So let him build his damn wall, but tell the people already here they can stay. We not the bad guys.”
Illegal Immigrants and Welfare
Yet another discussion on yet a different day.
“Noah, illegal immigrants are not taking away American jobs, no American wants the farm work.”
“True, but you have to look at the bigger picture. Illegal immigrants are soaking up our tax dollars, making it harder for us to help our own poor people, and our homeless Vets in trouble. Your sister Ana, is she getting welfare?” He regretted asking this as soon as the words were out of his mouth.
She looked down, “Yes they are on food stamps and get a housing subsidy.” Carmen continued quickly “Before 2008 and the banking crash, they were doing well. They even applied for the papers. Ana qualifies for DAPA because some of her children are born in the USA,”
“How many children?”
“Five, well with the new baby six.”
There it was. This was not the time to bring a child into the family with both Mother and Father about to get deported. Noah was sure that one of the reasons Mexico was poor was because of the larger families. Mexican GDP was almost equal to that of smaller countries like Australia or South Korea, but there was no comparison when you calculated it per capita. The average Mexican citizen earned less than ten thousand a year. Noah sighed. One thing Mexicans and Republicans agreed on was the no abortions. Didn’t help Mexicans.
“You should have told me, we could have helped Ana.”
She just shrugged again.
“As a nation we can’t afford this, America after Obama is now almost bankrupt. Illegal Immigration has become a burden. It is about the cost.”
“Come on Noah, a big wall, now what do you think that will cost and who do you think is going to pay for that?”
“I have been doing some research and found that money sent back to Mexico from legal and illegal Latinos is the second largest Mexican revenue after oil exports. Then there is also the foreign aid we give to Mexico. Mexico may not want to fund the wall but I think it is only fair that they do. “
“Maybe they just can’t”. She was pouting.
“Then they should say so. At least they should control their crime. . . ”
“A lot now coming from South of Mexico.”
He nodded for that was true.
She went on “I heard Trump now wants to send back not just the criminals, but also those like Ana on welfare? ”
“Back to your homeland. ”
“My homeland? I am American like you.”
They were spoiling for a fight; this was shaping up to be a civil war.
Illegal Immigration and Rule of Law
Another conversation on another day.
Once again Noah was reading the paper. “Trump is holding nations accountable. Be reasonable Carmen. It is just not Mexico, The middle class of America has been funding not only those on welfare in America but much of the rest of the world. Trump is saying the same thing to India, to China, to Europe, to Canada and to the Middle East. This is not racial. He is saying each person, each nation must pay their way. It was different when we were rich. Now our debt is close to overwhelming us. ”
“I don’t care!” But she did and he knew it.
“Given Mexico a lot of help over the years and the least they can do is pay half of the wall. Mexican lawlessness is spilling over into America. You know why we moved from East LA. Some Americans like Trump are saying “Enough now!” “
“You are making my people wrong.” She knew he was sensitive on this point and she was using it. He always said most arguments occurred when one tried to make oneself right by making others wrong.
“Latinos have come into America illegally and that violates rule of law,” he said flatly.
“So you break up families and send them back into danger and poverty?
“Don’t you see that is why it is safer here- we don’t tolerate “mob rule” or “might is right. Our constitution polices corruption. Mexico has one of the richest men in the world, Carlos Slim, they can do more,” he said lamely.
“I don’t know why Mexico is so dangerous and so poor. I don’t know why East LA is the same way. It’s not their fault.” She was angry. She was so beautiful when she was angry.
This was the crux of the problem. This was where they were different. It was Mexico’s problem and they wouldn’t solve it until they could see this. Ana’s problem was Ana’s problem and she would’t solve it until she could see it. Carmen was legal but had family not legal in America. He was willing to help her help her family because he felt for her and she was a good woman, his woman. Despite their big differences they were encapsulated in a cocoon of love, pretty much like America with Mexico, he thought. The love is always there just underneath. Surely they could reach a better solution. She saw the love in his eyes.
“You want to send them back into that awful hell-hole, ” she began crying.
He went to her. “No, I want to hire an immigration lawyer and make our whole family including Ana, legal. First though, I want to see Ana taking some responsibility for her own situation. Being illegal for twelve years is not OK.”
“I’ll go back myself to help them before I send them away.” but she didn’t mean it.
“They have to go back Carmen,” he said gently, “Then the good ones, they can come back legally. You don’t want them to start a new life in a country with a crime like that.”
“They were just looking for a better life.” She was crying again.
“Coming here illegally sets a precedent. The first thing they do in America is to break the law andwhat does that lead to? It leads to East LA.”
“Some of the kids I teach they have been here seventeen or more years, they think of themselves as American; they are American. The bad one’s that is easy, out they go.” Of course if half of her class went to Mexico this would put her job in jeopardy.
“Trump didn’t create this problem. He is just trying to do his job, to keep his people safe, and to enforce the law.”
“It is all about the money,” her black eyes flashed. She was so beautiful when she was angry.
Their marriage was more than just a contract, rule of law. They had a good sex life. It was going to come right.
Border Industries – the Solution
One month later in the evening over dinner.
She was an exceptional cook, he had come to love Mexican food. They had two good jobs, she with the government in special education.
Carmen was a good woman, she always sent money back to the home country, every month she sent money to her family in Mexico and he admired her for this caring. Democratic Latinos were strong on heart. Republicans understood the law and the economics of the situation.
Somewhere in the middle of this mess there had to be a solution where everybody wins.
She had been quiet during supper, thinking, and he knew something was coming. Now they were enjoying coffee, brewed strong. Finally she said, “OK It has to be done. It doesn’t have to be done immediately. It starts with the criminals and then those on the dole.” That’s what he loved about her, she could think things through
“Can we help Ana financially?”
She was looking directly at him and didn’t answer. “Noah, you know the physical Ed Teacher, I think he may have the solution?”
“Dirk?” The South African?” He is a legal immigrant isn’t he?”
“Yes cost him a bunch in legal fees but he became a citizen last week. That was how we got to be talking about this.”
“He has a solution?” He looked at her.
“Well it seems that way back in South Africa they solved a similar issue by creating separate zones of industry, they called them border industries. What we have to do, Dirk says, is to organize to put the illegals somewhere while we help them learn a trade and teach them about our heritage. Dirk thinks it can be done in a half-way station, a place that is and yet is not yet America, a kind of buffer zone between Mexico and America. We are talking about the good Mexican illegals, those got a job, paid taxes, supported their family and staid off the dole after coming in illegally. These are the people we want to bring back to America.”
“They would have a chance if they were sincere in asking for help.” She could have this, it was fair.
“How long could they stay in that border area?”
“Probably some years, Dirk says. Learning a trade would be the key factor. They could also learn the language, and study the Constitution. He says English is not a better language but it is the language of the country and it costs a lot to go bilingual like they did in South Africa. Illegals should stay in the buffer zone until they can prove they will be good American citizens; that they have accepted our culture, can speak the language and have let go of Mexico.”
“Or else they go home?”
“Yes or else they go home.”
“Republicans are concerned that Latinos don’t assimilate; the parent’s of the children you are teaching, how many speak English?”
“Most don’t speak English.”
“So this is a problem in education?” It was something she understood. Her expertise was in teaching Latinos how to speak English. “I sometimes think I need to teach the parents also but they are struggling to survive and don’t have time or incentive for adult education.”
“Do they have interest?”
“Just a few.” No, they don’t have strong interest,” she admitted.
“That would change in the buffer state or they would have to go back to Mexico.”
“Any welfare there, in these buffer zones?
“No only food and shelter and what they are able to earn. Some would be starting small businesses to learn how to do this right.”
“But they could get a chance; a chance at the American dream?”
“And that is all we really owe them. When helping people you have to help them to help themselves.”
There are many wonderful things in the Latino culture, the positive things like food and music and dancing that they would bring into the buffer zones, maybe even start a tourist industry? He was getting excited. He would go with her, dang he would go to the end of the earth for her.
He was content. His family was back on track. Now just to get the country sorted out so that Americans and Mexicans could all live happily together ever after
The issue of paying for the Trump Wall has been handled badly. If we are able to solve that, there is a bigger chance of finding peace.
Mexican President Pena Nieto has issued what amounts to be a declaration of war. He wants Mexico to use its consulates in every US state to help illegal immigrants get taxpayer-funded welfare. In essence he is taking NO RESPONSIBILITY. He has ordered ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS to reject assimilation into America in every way And in this way Mexico joins the Obama resistance.
This is a war Mexico cannot win, just in just the same way the silent coup is going to fail. Obama is on the wrong side of history, and he has no moral compass. What Nieto has ordered actually amounts to an invasion by a foreign country. It is a declaration of war.
Nieto is cutting off his nose to spite his face. In the last 10 years the GDP per capita (i.e. per person) literally doubled, so in a way things were getting better. That was until the drug war broke out and the 2008 economic crisis made things more complicated. Then along came Trump.
After Trump wipes out ISIS Mexico may well be where the new President focuses. Having so much poverty South of the Border is very dangerous to America.
With Mexico so dependent on Latinos sending money home, and the recipient of generous foreign aid from America, Trump holds all the Trump cards. If he chooses to put the squeeze on Mexico, the country fizzles and dies.
On the other hand if Nieto learns to work with Trump there is much above and beyond money, where America can help their neighbor down South.
It seems the choice is Mexico’s. They may wake up when Obama is out of the way.
Quote for the Week
Our nation stands at the crossroads of liberty. Crushing national debt, rampart illegal immigration, insane business regulations and staggering national unemployment are pushing our nation into unchartered territory.
| About the Author
Lynn Verhoeff (Grandma Thunder) has published two books, “Politics IOU” and “Magic Money” both on Kindle. The first is satirical about banking and the second, examines the conflict of our times, Globalism vs Patiotism.You can read more at fb Grandma Thunder – an Independent Voice or Blog/Grandma Thunder or Free Books by Grandma