Macro vs. Micro Perspectives on Illegal Aliens
Over at Too Conservative I got into another argument with Jonathan in which the initial problem was my own bad behavior - which is par for the course for all who know me - but has I think been distilled down to a disagreement over how the illegal immigration issue should be framed.
I'm going to re-post my entire response here with some additions, which I believe falls within the parameters of fair use.
Jonathan, ok point taken: This appears to be my M.O. so let's just say I get to impugn your motivations one or at most two times per message and I allow you to impugn mine twice that number of times, and we should get on famously.
Your argument, and the argument of the article you've linked to, has merit. For anyone considering the illegal immigration issue from a macro standpoint the whole picture must be taken into account. I, for instance, think NAFTA has been a disaster. U.S. companies are selling corn in Mexico cheaper than Mexicans can grow it, so Mexicans are having to come to the U.S. to work. See this excellent post by Stay Puft for a host of links on this topic.
Most importantly, I don't think any intelligent or compassionate person can delve into the issue without delving into the problems with the political institutions of Mexico and Latin America. And, boy, are there problems!
Does anyone actually believe the solution to such problems lies in mass migration? It is not like the migrants are all moving from desert wastelands. They are migrating from countries - Mexico being a stellar example - that should be completely self sufficient. Mexico's corruption, oligarchy and basic mismanagement go back hundreds of years. Bear in mind she won her independence within a generation of our nation doing so.
Considering natural resources and tourism alone, these countries producing the largest numbers of migrants should all be standing on their own two feet. Instead, they have a small, very wealthy and powerful ruling class and an ocean of serfs - a situation that has obtained since before the Spaniards arrived, incidentally, and in which the Spaniards simply filled the appropriate slots with their own folks.
Mass migration and remittances sent back to the home country ensure there will never be political reforms in any of those countries and the profiteering classes will continue to prosper at the expense of middle class Americans. This entire situation is ludicrous. If this fact were communicated better to the American people there would be a massive movement to end illegal immigration to the U.S. immediately.
But these macro considerations miss the point entirely. Just because some other country is screwed up does not mean people in such and such a section of Loudoun County, Virginia, should have to bear gross violations of existing zoning laws.
Just because our government is enabling the oligarchs of Mexico is no reason American construction workers should have to watch their jobs disappear because their employers decide to use illegal laborers and save a fortune in the process.
Real people have lost their livelihoods because trades are going to the illegals. Real people can no longer feel safe in their communities because their neighborhoods are no longer actually safe - their formerly single-family neighborhoods have become predominately either multi-family or simply boarding houses.
If you do not live in such a neighborhood, and are not an elderly person, single woman or family with young children, this can all be seen as a social experiment - a macroeconomic phenomenon.
In reality, the people who live here are simply waking up and saying "We have laws and regulations - which were put in place before the illegal alien problem was a blip on our radar - and these are all being violated on a mass scale."
I do not see why the supposedly compassionate party is not totally on board with the citizens who are asking why the rules in their neighborhoods have suddenly apparently changed.
It does not make a whit of sense. You can talk all you want about how there are problems with the theoretical "zero-sum game" but you are uncompassionately glossing over the problems citizens are experiencing.
The logic that says local regulations and community safety should be sacrificed on the altar of macroeconomic progress would also dictate that all of us should simply send our entire paychecks to the Mexican government every two weeks. It would be the humane thing to do, according to that logic.
In reality, I think Jonathan and many other liberals like him are insulated from the real problem and do not live in areas like Sterling Park. This gives them the luxury of viewing the problem from a macro perspective.
If they had to view it from a micro perspective, and were true to their own "liberal" principles, I have to think they would be standing with local citizens AGAINST the commercial interests who are profiting from illegal labor practices.
At least half of Help Save Loudoun's members are middle aged women who live in eastern Loudoun county. Most would not fit anyone's definition of extremist or bigot. But most are really angry.
"Betrayal" is too mild a word for what most of our members think the local and federal governments have done to them. And all this has happened at the behest of big businesses.
It amazes me the liberals are not on our side.
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