Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The immigration panic of 2008

While most of the country is focused on rising gas and food prices, lay-offs, foreclosures, declining home values, crime, and the presidential primaries, the war on immigrant workers continues.

In Iowa, with the nation's lowest unemployment rate and labor shortages that are restricting economic growth, hundreds of immigrant workers were recently arrested, criminally charged and deported.

A New York Times editorial notes;

Someday, the country will recognize the true cost of its war on illegal immigration. We don’t mean dollars, though those are being squandered by the billions. The true cost is to the national identity: the sense of who we are and what we value. It will hit us once the enforcement fever breaks, when we look at what has been done and no longer recognize the country that did it.

A nation of immigrants is holding another nation of immigrants in bondage, exploiting its labor while ignoring its suffering, condemning its lawlessness while sealing off a path to living lawfully. The evidence is all around that something pragmatic and welcoming at the American core has been eclipsed, or is slipping away.

An escalating campaign of raids in homes and workplaces has spread indiscriminate terror among millions of people who pose no threat. After the largest raid ever last month — at a meatpacking plant in Iowa — hundreds were swiftly force-fed through the legal system and sent to prison. Civil-rights lawyers complained, futilely, that workers had been steamrolled into giving up their rights, treated more as a presumptive criminal gang than as potentially exploited workers who deserved a fair hearing. The company that harnessed their desperation, like so many others, has faced no charges...

The restrictionist message is brutally simple — that illegal immigrants deserve no rights, mercy or hope. It refuses to recognize that illegality is not an identity; it is a status that can be mended by making reparations and resuming a lawful life. Unless the nation contains its enforcement compulsion, illegal immigrants will remain forever Them and never Us, subject to whatever abusive regimes the powers of the moment may devise.

Every time this country has singled out a group of newly arrived immigrants for unjust punishment, the shame has echoed through history. Think of the Chinese and Irish, Catholics and Americans of Japanese ancestry. Children someday will study the Great Immigration Panic of the early 2000s, which harmed countless lives, wasted billions of dollars and mocked the nation’s most deeply held values.


Anonymous said...

I have no problem with legals, it is the illegal people I have a problem with. Most of this country does too. You and your liberal wackos are the ones that do not

Michael Rosen said...

Perhaps a little history will help you get beyond name calling.

You are probably not aware that most people who you label illegal came to this country legally. They just stayed-like many of the earliest Europeans who were smuggled into the country against British Law that restricted immigration. Others were brought here as very young children. This is the only country they know.

Our Founding Fathers waged a revolution, in part, beacause Britain, King George in the Declaration of Independence, wouldn't allow people to freely immigrate.

The United States had no immigration laws at all until 1882 when we passed the Chinese Exclusion Act- a racist law that singled out one ethnic group for exclusion although the NO Nothing MOvement tried to ban Irish Catholics right before the Civil War.

It was only after WWI that the federal government finally began to define who and who could not immigrate. These laws established quotas for all except northern Europeans.

Rather then attack America's latest wave of immigrants which does nothing but drive them underground, we need comprehensive immigration reform that offers all law abiding people a path to citizenship. That would be good for the country and for those seeking citzenship.

Rather than calling people names, like wacko, why don't you study

Kyle said...


If they came in legally, but didn't leave when they were supposed to, doesn't that mean they're still here illegally? I have no problem with allowing people to freely migrate, but we are in a point in time that requires us to be certain that those coming into this country aren't here to break our laws or do us harm, or run over 6 year old girls and kill them after being deported and having their license revoked. But I suppose you think that guy came into the United States legally too. Get a grip. And, you are wacko. See you at UNA tonight...oh don't actually show up to help work on positive change, you just whine about the negative. Sorry, I forgot.

Anonymous said...

Your comment here is almost as rediculous as your blog. You talk about making positive change in the community, yet the only things you seem to be effective at is belittling the residents of the east side community, including Dr. Rosen. The thing I feel most sorry for is that the UWM student body has you as a representative. No wonder you don't allow people to comment on your own blog! but I guess that is more par for the course when it comes to you.