Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It is time to shut the door on exploitation

I must level with my readers that as a practicing and churchgoing Catholic who is as active as I am physically able to be in the affairs of my parish (most notably as a Knight of Columbus) that I attend with many Hispanic people. Nearly all of the Hispanics that you see active in parish affairs are here legally-we know this because for many of them to be so active in the parish they pretty much have to be. The legals (at least the men) very often not only join the Knights but tend to become very active in the organization. This is because in Mexico, membership in the Knights of Columbus is very often the perview of the land-holding upper-class, the remnants of the Spanish aristocracy. For many of these immigrants, membership in the K of C is seen as a major status symbol. In our world, it merely is a signal that a man is probably a pretty good Catholic and if he is active, he is really involved in the Church. To them, it is still a symbol of wealth, power, and status-a misassumption we are trying but have thus far failed to correct.

It is the ones you see come to Mass but do not see at any other time, or do not see except on Holy Days are very often the illegals. They have enough fear of La Migra that they don't want their names associated with anything that gets publicized in the community and they especially do not want on the official parish roles. Nonetheless, I have encountered many people at church that I suspected were not here in a legal capacity, but I have no way to prove it.

I have no desire to descriminate against anyone because of their skin color or their ethnic origin. It is very easy for liberals to put the label of "racist" on to anyone who wants to enforce our immigration laws. I have always taken a great deal of offense at that because as a Catholic, the idea that I want to prevent other Catholics from settling here just because of their skin color is ludicrous. I am all for these people coming-legally. The problem when people come to the United States illegally is twofold:

1. The Mexican government does nothing to stop the tide of illegals because these are people that Mexico deems to be undesirable. It is a peculiar form of ethic cleansing that basically says "we do not want you here, so we will send you to the U.S. where you will work for what seems like a lot of money but is really a substandard wage-some would call it a slave wage. To be rid of you, we will tell you how to obtain social services in the U.S." These folks have lived as second-class citizens in Mexico, and are coming to the U.S. to live and/or work as essentially third-class citizens-people with no country. These people are largely of Native American ethnic origin, and believe me, the government officials in Mexico and other Latin American countries (who come from the Spanish/Castilian upper classes) would rather be rid of them. In failing to enforce our own immigration laws, the United States are complicit in this "ethnic cleansing by emigration."

2. When they come to the United States illegally and are not punished for violating the law, it teaches the new arrivals that in America the law is irrelevant, the police power can and should be ignored, and that obedience to lawful and constitutional authority is a matter of choice-a choice that, should one choose not to obey, one will suffer no adverse consequences for. In failing to enforce the laws we have already on the books, the federal government is sending immigrants the wrong message about America: That breaking the law is just fine in our country, and that anyone can come here-even a criminal.

Since the federal government chooses not to deal with the issue and our Republican President has charted a course which stands to make the problem worse, it is now up to States and localities to address the immigration crisis. That is why I support a series of bills in the Tennessee General Assembly that would make it a felony to knowingly hire an undocumented alien, allow the State of Tennessee to revoke the business licence of anyone who hires an undocumented alien, and force landlords and renters to verify the immigration status of tenants and prohibits the sale of land to illegals. There are also bills that make it a crime to transport an illegal alien into Tennessee, require public employers to verify immigration status, and prohibit foreign money transfers without proof of legal status.

It is time for the State to do its part to bring an end to a system that not only encourages people to break the law, but does something far worse: It creates a permanent underclass made up of people who are not citizens, and therefore do not have recourse to the Constitution, as a citizen does, to protect their rights. The present state of affairs creates a new slave class with the full blessing of the Chamber of Commerce. Immigrants must be made to abide by the law, but so must the people who exploit them inhumanely.

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At Tuesday, March 13, 2007 9:17:00 PM, Blogger DigiHairshirt said...


In the past, I have taken on bloggers (okay, one in particular who lives in a cave) who want the Catholic Church to punish the illegal aliens by denying them the Sacraments. Not cool, in my book. I applaud the call to enforce the law and the proposed bills in the General Assembly. Again, yet another reason why I wish - right now - I were on old Rocky Top.

However, I would disagree with your first point, that is, that the illegals here are deemed undesirable by the Mexican government. On the contrary, they are very much beloved by the Mexican government because they flood into America, work at substandard wages - AND SEND A GOOD PORTION OF THAT MONEY BACK TO FAMILY IN MEXICO. All the time sucking the social services of the united States. The New York Times in October 2006 reported a study where some $45 BILLION is sent from migrants to family in Latin America. Our major banks - B of A, Wells Fargo, have all established programs that make it very easy to send money.

So, it is not so much a way of ethnic cleansing as much as cheap labor - and labor which can earn more and are not adverse to living in squalor in the US.


At Tuesday, March 13, 2007 10:04:00 PM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

I am quite aware that many of these people send the money they earn back to Mexico and that the Mexican Government encourages this behavior. As you point out, when he campaigned for President of Mexico. he called the illegals "heroes."

That doesn't mean this is any less exploitation. Go to America, work in substandard (and sometimes subhuman) conditions, send the money back, hero!

Sacraments: Legal or illegal, no one should be denied the Sacraments of the Church-that is the right of every Catholic in the world wherever they may find themselves.

At Wednesday, March 14, 2007 9:43:00 AM, Blogger DigiHairshirt said...

Dave, I did not mean that it was not expolitation. The "hero worship" is based upon the contribution to Mexico's GNP. In that aspect, they are desirable (hmmmm, at what point do illegal migrant workers become a tradeable commodity, sorta like pork bellies?) Otherwise, in their native land, these people would be treated poorly.

This is interesting legislation that I will folow closely - thanks for bringing it to light!

At Wednesday, March 14, 2007 11:51:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

You really have to ponder, I think, whether they are not already a tradable commodity, or at least if they are not seen as a commodity instead of as human beings by the people who exploit them.


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