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Is the preoccupation with illegal immigration a WMD-weapon of mass distraction?

By       Message M. Davis     Permalink
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Illegal immigration, raging hoards of illegal aliens bent on destroying the American Dream: Ah, finally something Joe Sixpack can sink his teeth in

The mysterious workings of bundled securities, fractional banking, and world events may be beyond Joe Sixpack, but throw out the apocalyptic vision of hoards of millions of brown-skinned, Spanish speaking illegal aliens swarming up from Mexico like a herd of job snatching fire ants, and ole Joe might bestir himself from his 24 hour Nascar channel long enough to give the raging nativists on the telly or radio a piece of his mind. And, that is what certain folks are counting on: stirring up Joe and millions like him who see the economic threat posed by undocumented workers.

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Many of them wouldn’t do the job the so-called ‘illegals’ do, but that does not stop them from complaining about the presence of “the aliens.” Today, just as earlier waves of nativism were launched, this particular incarnation has arisen in a time of economic turmoil and uncertainty, when the fearful, frightened and threatened seek a scapegoat to gnaw on.

The nativists are restless and they often do not distinguish between illegal and legal immigration. A “furreigner” is a “furreigner” and they want all of ‘em gone. Supremacy has once more gained steam, with the usual ‘send them back to Africa’ crowd doing their thing—ironically these folk are descended from some of the people who were targeted by earlier waves of nativism, but let’s not let a little history get in the way of a good rant.

The nativists are on the prowl and their numbers are staggering. So is their level of organization and political savvy, as is evidenced by this piece from Alternet:

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The forces seeking to sharply reduce the number of immigrants coming to America won a stunning victory last June, when nativist anger at an "amnesty" for the undocumented scuttled a major bipartisan immigration reform package backed by President Bush. Many members of Congress were completely unprepared for the flood of angry E-mails, phone calls and faxes they received -- an inundation so massive that the phone system collapsed under the weight of more than 400,000 faxes. (Alternet)


A cynical person might posit that the President’s immigration plan was a brilliant move to distract the nation from its economic crisis by firing up the old nativist engine. By throwing blood in the water and giving the nativists something to chaw on, millions of people have been distracted from the massive cracks in the nation’s economic foundation.

Now, it is true that part of the problem is the fact that Americans are spending so much and so fast that we can’t save enough to provide economic stability for ourselves and our children. However, on the flip side is the fact that the economy is like a giant shark: it can not exist without the massive infusion of cash which American consumer addicts provide,

The American economy is in the unsustainable mode of eating its seed corn and has become a spending economy, not a saving or investment economy, and while the spending keeps the beast alive in the short term, it is the long term which is a major concern. What happens if we have little or no savings to tide us over? What happens when jobs peter out, when major medical problems keep us from working? What happens when catastrophe strikes?

Disaster, that’s what. Disaster because we no longer have the savings to tide us over during catastrophes.

Rising heating bills? Who can pay them? Landlord gone broke and you get evicted? Where are you going to get the money for a deposit? How can you move your stuff when you have no savings?

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Living beyond our means? Living in many American cities has become unsustainable. With rents in the worse parts of town at $500 a month and a ‘good apartment’ going for upwards of a grand, who can afford the deposits, the utility bills, and the living expenses and still manage to save a dime?

And you wonder why many of our fellow citizens foam at the mouth at the idea of raving masses of immigrants, legal or otherwise? People are frightened and the other side of fear is anger.

Millions of people are angry, fearful and are turning downright mean. And so it is that we see the upsurge in nativism, an uptick in racist activity, a rise in nationalism.

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Wanna be member of the anti-word police, author, columnist, activist and muckraker extraordinaire. Author of:

Land, Legacy and Lynching: Building the Future for Black America

Urban Asylum: Politics, Lunatics and the Refrigerator (more...)

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