Friday, January 27, 2017

Illegal Migration Is NOT Compassion

Lovely eight-year-old Neftaly had no idea she’d been delivered into the hands of her rapist by what American politicians call a more compassionate immigration policy. It wouldn’t have mattered much to her. Yet, Neftaly’s story is not unusual in Mexico, so it should matter a lot to Americans who support such policy. She was orphaned at age five, then various distant relatives grudgingly agreed to take her in - as long as she washed the dishes. She became more accustomed to fear and rejection than love. When an uncle she’d never met showed her a bedroom and told her to undress for bed, she tried once again to muster more hope than fear. Sadly, it would be many years after that night before she looked at the world with trust and hope again.

Shortly after Neftaly’s birth, dad had left Mexico for the U.S. He was a man who loved his family more with hugs and gifts than planning and discipline, which had put him in a desperate fix. He was lonely and miserable in Texas. So, he sent his wife a lot of letters … and bought his new girlfriend a lot of flowers. On returning to Mexico, he immediately gave his wife a new car and an HIV infection. Like most Latinos, he believed that heading north without papers or family was a far more realistic option than getting papers and taking your family. If word on the street were otherwise, Neftaly might’ve had a far-from-perfect but far-less-tragic childhood.

I met Neftaly recently as a hauntingly-beautiful but unexplainably-haunted student in the Mexican university where I’m a professor. Near my university are railroad tracks. Most days, I see passing trains that lug countless tanks of toxic agricultural chemicals, as filthy ragged migrants cling atop and between the cars. Trump wants to stop these migrants, because rust-belt voters don't want to compete with them for jobs in the marketplace. Obama encouraged these migrants, because impoverished Latinos indoctrinated to depend on government are reliable Democrat voters.

Worker migration and competition is good for global economic progress. (This rising tide eventually lifts most boats, but some workers have to retrain and/or relocate. The right to stay put in your hometown and local factory is neither constitutional nor god-given.) Illegal migration is devastating to the children left behind. However, neither Obama nor Trump has any passion for legal migration. They care about brown and rust-belt voters, not foreign children. Trump's anti-immigration bias and Obama's illegal-immigration preference are equally wrong-headed and probably wrong-hearted. Neither position is "racist" or "compassionate". Both positions are mostly political calculations designed to keep a party in power, not to build a better world. Obama was more dignified than Trump. Trump is far more proactive than Obama. Still, neither is the savior or the devil. Neither focuses much on the truly innocent victims of immigration policy.

Media claims that illegal immigration equals compassion require a willful blackout on the situation south of the border. A sizable number of my students were abandoned by fathers who hit the road north. Boys are undisciplined to a future-criminal extent, while most girls are so desperate for male attention that I cannot politely describe the type of men they fall for or the tender age at which they do so. Yet, the cost of illegal immigration here is out-of-sight-out-of-mind for most Americans and contrary to official media narrative. Only the deportation and separation of migrants from their new children in the north would be cruel. Fuck their brown rugrats back home.

Children are the priceless diamonds heaven scatters upon the earth to remind fallen people what they once were and should aspire to be again. While Americans bicker about legally culpable adults deserving amnesty or deportation, few are advocating the best solution to prevent the multitudes of children like Neftaly being separated from their parents in the first place by both securing the border and streamlining legal immigration for workers. That would be something an informed caring person could truly call compassion.

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