Saturday :: Apr 2, 2005

Starting The Second Mexican War?

by pessimist

Wherever he is in Etermity, Judge Roy Bean must be smilin' wide! Rumor has it that Judge Bean's judicial motto was "Hang 'em first, try 'em later." Something of a desperado himself, he was one of the harsest enforces of the law - as he saw fit to enforce it. Oversight and legalities be damned!

His descendents in the Southwest along the border would please him greatly, I'm sure:

Civilian posse starts 30-day patrol effort

In a town made legendary by 30 seconds of mayhem at the OK Corral, the Minuteman Project yesterday launched what organizers say will be a peaceful campaign to reinforce the Border Patrol and to seek public support for a clampdown on illegal immigration. In this part of Arizona, the border is marked primarily by a four-strand barbed wire fence that is frequently sliced by illegal immigrants who drive out in taxis from the Mexican border town of Naco.

Organizers insist there will be no attempt to detain possible illegal immigrants. They say volunteers who carry firearms are exercising a right guaranteed under Arizona law.

James Gilchrist, a director of the Minuteman Project, acknowledged he cannot guarantee that no troublemakers will infiltrate his group. But as he climbed up a stairwell for an impromptu news conference, he said he embraced the nonviolent credo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and he turned the criticism back on Washington. "All I can tell you is that our screening process is a lot better than the federal government's screening process for illegal aliens and terrorists who have killed Americans," he said.

This nobody isn't the only one taking Bu$hCo to task for their neglect of the US borders:

Television commentator Angela "Bay" Buchanan praised the Minutemen for sending a message that "we're not going to sit by and let America slip away" in a tide of illegal immigration.

"Mr. President, you have failed America. Mr. President, do your constitutional duty," said Buchanan, leader of Team America, a political action committee dedicated to immigration policy.

Conservatives like Bay Buchanan aren't the only ones protesting.

Outside a meeting hall in Tombstone, about a dozen protesters beat pots and pans while a troupe of Aztec-style dancers beat drums and spun rhythmically in the street. Other protesters carried signs reading, "No human is illegal" and "borders kill." Dave Mondragon, 23, of New Mexico hoisted a sign proclaiming, "You're the immigrant."

The Minuteman Project's most outspoken critic, University of California Riverside ethnic studies professor Armando Navarro, said he is concerned that rogue elements on either side of the controversy could whip up an incident as sudden as the dust devils that whirl across the desert floor. Navarro, a former Army officer and longtime political activist, said he is doing "everything possible" to tamp down the agitation among Latinos who see the Minutemen as guided more by racism than patriotism. He called the Minuteman campaign "a nativist reaction against us Latinos because we are becoming the new majority."

South Of The Border, Down Mexico Way

Mexico City television reporter Jose Martin Samano tried to capture the town's mood as he taped a stand-up report during a shootout at Helldorado Town, a tourist attraction where the good guy always wins in front of fake storefronts and saloons. "There are two shows taking place today in Tombstone, Ariz.," said Samano, of TV Azteca. "One uses fake bullets. The other is using real arms."

Acknowledging that much of the Mexican press has encouraged the distorted notion that the cazamigrantes are hunting immigrants like so many deer, he said: "The people of Mexico are very worried. . . . They think the Minutemen are real hunters, without pity."

"We see the potential for a powder keg situation developing over the next few weeks," Navarro said Thursday evening. He had been meeting with other activists in Agua Prieta, a Mexican border town that has boomed as a jumping-off point for illegal immigration in the decade since Operation Gatekeeper tightened the border at and near San Diego.

Miami Advice

Even in the dominion of Jebba the Butt, Miami newspapers - long-inured to the violent anti-Castro Cubano, are a bit concerned about the situation on the border:

Playing with fire on the border

The battle lines are forming for an unfortunate showdown at the U.S./Mexico border.

People protest when they feel that there is no other choice, when they feel pitted against a rock and a hard place.

A retired California accountant began this fiasco-in-the-making by organizing The Minuteman Project. James Gilchrist's goal was to bring needed attention to the cost of illegal immigration, the problem of migrants trekking across private land, the medical expenses they tally and fears of terrorists slipping in along with the Mexicans searching for work.

He says that he is not encouraging violence. But by recruiting people through the Internet using war terms, that may be exactly what he is courting. Gilchrist is especially interested in pilots with their own aircraft, law-enforcement and military veterans with reconnaissance backgrounds.

Gilchrist says that he has tried to strip the trigger-happy sorts out of his volunteers, some of whom will be armed. But hotheads can be hard to detect. And the pack journalism congregating at the border won't help. People on both sides will be tempted to play to the cameras like children acting out when guests arrive.

Remember, trapped animals bite. Both Gilchrist and Navarro at times fit this scenario. Gilchrist feels that he stands for the rights of North Americans. Navarro doesn't want the migrants to be scapegoats. Both men make valid points. But both are also playing incendiary roles in what could easily turn into a horrific international incident.

Interestingly, the horrific international incident didn't yet happen in Arizona. It's happened in New Mexico:

N.M. Man Arrested in Dragging Assault

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the dragging of a Hispanic man behind a vehicle, which left the victim with burn-like abrasions over half his body. John Pete Talamante was booked Friday on charges of kidnapping, aggravated battery and assault with intent to commit a violent felony.

The victim, 32-year-old Fausto Arellano, remained hospitalized in critical condition. He had been bound by the ankles and pulled by a rope for some 4,000 feet on Easter morning, according to police. Officers who traced the route of the dragging say the rope snapped, or Arellano broke free, and he crawled to the side of the road and collapsed.

The single father has two sons, ages 16 and 11. "This man is like Superman to his sons. He is their idol," said Pedro Andablo, Arellano's former brother-in-law.

Eurell T. Malone, owner of the M & M Trading Co., where Arellano has worked for 10 years, said the crime was senseless. "Everyone's asking, 'Why him? He was a kind and gentle man.'

It may be, as the local police chief believes, that this was something personal between the perpetrator and the victim. But somehow I doubt that:

"You have to be some kind of animal to drag a person behind a car," Malone said.

Just ask James Byrd about that. He knows. From experience.

Remember, trapped animals bite.

Bu$hCo policies, like those of other recent Republican regimes, haven't made things easier for American workers with immigrant amnesties like that signed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1986 [PDF] (possibly the motivator inspriring Arellano to come to the US in 1990) and the general provisions of NAFTA (something even Mexicans are now against) and GATT. American employer policies of offshoring work to nations like India, actively and deliberately aided and abetted by Bu$hCo exclusively to benefit their corporate contributors, and the steady reduction of the average wage since Bu$hCo stole power from the legitimate (if less than competant) Al Gore, combine to put a great deal of pressure upon the typical American worker.

It is understandable, if hardly acceptible or moral, for this displaced worker losing his way of life to seek redress through some kind of action. This insanely-desired action of retribution, promulgated in part by a culture that worships and glorifies violence as the only acceptible problem-solving behavior, would result in attacks upon those seen as 'causing' this erosion of economic easiness. This situation isn't much different from those whose religious, political, or social beliefs are threatened. 'Those who cause discord must be eradicated.'

But for all of the propaganda that illegals want to be working here in the US instead of making a living in their own countries, and that the US can't function without them, the Brookings Institute - hardly a bastion of liberalism - isn't so sure that adding more pressure to this situation is a wise idea:

Amnesty—the granting of formal legal status to those who live here illegally and are therefore subject to deportation—is being pushed by those who stand to benefit the most from it ...

To many illegal aliens, amnesty offers less than meets the eye. And to Americans anxious about the illegal influx into the country, it is more like a poke in the eye. This is clearly why the Bush administration, which initially grasped at the idea of amnesty, has recently begun to waffle on the issue and prefers talking in terms of a "guest worker" program. But even that program is likely to contain terms that will allow for the eventual legalization of some of the undocumented workers now in the country.

Amnesty may seem, on the surface, to be a reasonable measure, but what specific problems facing illegals does it redress? In fact, there is a considerable body of research indicating that the well-being of immigrants is less a function of their legal status than of the length of time they have been in the United States. So if amnesty doesn't benefit the illegals that significantly, what are the politics driving the issue?

The Bush administration's motives are the most transparent: the need for a president with weak foreign policy credentials to respond to the historic initiatives of his reform-oriented Mexican counterpart. What amnesty will do is provoke a backlash against immigrants, something that would definitely not help Bush. The danger of a backlash is all the more real given the almost certain consequence of an amnesty: more illegal immigration. Common sense suggests as much. So does our experience after amnesty was granted in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 and illegal immigration burgeoned. And if the economy continues to slow down, then the impact of such factors will be all the greater.

In the 1986 immigration law, amnesty was counter-balanced by sanctions against businesses that hire illegals, which unfortunately were never adequately enforced. Perhaps stiffer, more meaningful employer sanctions should be put on the table now. But some sort of reasonable demands should be placed on amnesty beneficiaries to reassure the American public that immigration is not out of control, and that those who have jumped the queue are not simply being rewarded. If we were really serious about our immigration problems, we would shelve amnesty, which sends the wrong signals to everyone ...

Right now, the deal that is looming is one between immigrant advocates and unions on the one hand, and employers—especially agricultural employers—on the other. The former get amnesty, the latter a "guest worker program," meaning fresh infusions of unskilled labor. Bush and Fox get to be statesmen.

But the American people get nothing, except the illusion that a serious public policy problem has been addressed.

Once people find this out, and that they have been persoanlly affected by this, they get angry and lash out - usually at the blameless. Such is the case with James Byrd and with Fausto Arellano - victims of an outrage that they had nothing to do with instigating while those who did escape retribution scot-free.

The real villains are those who play off disparate populations for their own gain - and let the devil take the hindmost. They recognize no borders - geopolitical or moral - only the accumulation of vast sums of an imaginary construct that represents 'value'. This construct was the subject of a great debate among philosophers decades ago, to which no satisfactory conclusion as to the meaning of 'value' was reached. Thus, these villains are destroying reality for the imaginary.

Isn't it a sad irony that a border has to be involved with the actions of those who don't respect them - or much of anything or anyone else.

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pessimist :: 11:10 AM :: Comments (25) :: Digg It!