Thursday, January 29, 2009

Let's Say I Broke Into Your House- Bad Analogies for Immigration

I noticed the other day how prevalent the use of a particular analogy is among anti-immigrant folks. "Let's say I broke into your house" or "Would you let those immigrants live in your house?". Of course what they're getting at is that this country is like a house. And it's their/our house and the immigrants have broke in and insisted they have a right to stay.

I would love to hear a dialogue that goes something like this:
Anti-immigrant protester (AIP): How would you like it if I decided I wanted to live in your house?
Freedom of Movement Activist (FMA): Is this your house?
AIP: In a way, yes, this is my house.
FMA: Man, you must have thousands of dildos in your house. Why so many?

Humor aside, the analogy just doesn't work. That's why they have to ask, "Why can’t people see how ridiculous this is?!", in a message i found at to which the author also added, "If you agree, pass it on (in English)". Maybe i should email this out to my friends in Spanish just to be a jerk.

Anyway, obviously the analogy is used to make the audience feel invaded. Of course i wouldn't want random strangers in my house (this isn't the attitude of a few people i know), is the reaction. But this country is not a house. And it's not similar to a house, which is why most people don't feel that people are living in their house. They can, in many ways, be oblivious to most of the undocumented immigrants in this country.

The U.S. is not a house. It is land with man-made boundaries. It is, in fact, land taken by force (more than once if we're talking about the southwest). Thinking of this country as "ours" or "mine" like we do our houses (besides those of us who rent with other housemates) certainly serves to reinforce the white supremacist order, or at least nativism. But what makes someone feel that this country belong to them is just arrogance and stupid laws. Even most indigenous people believe that the land doesn't belong to them/us, they/we belong to the land. Of course most anti-immigrant folks don't care that this land was taken by force and that it doesn't belong to anyone even if it was acquired fairly.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Narco- and Human-Trafficking Violence and Cops' Hypocrisy

Below is an article about a contingency plan for if/when the drug trade related violence starts affecting the U.S. more. I say more because it apparently already is affecting the U.S., just not the people who matter. Instead undocumented immigrants are seeing the worst of it. I think immigrants' rights advocates are also quiet about it because they/we would have to admit that there are bad people from mexico. The government doesn't want to admit it because they want it to seem like things are under control. Plus they don't care that it's just hurting undocumented immigrants.

This is something i wrote in response to this article and particularly because Sheriff Joe went into Buckeye claiming he was trying to do something about the crime against immigrants there. I had been thinking a lot about how the violent crimes exist because of the illegal status of unauthorized immigration as well as the drug trade.

the article talks about the violence in border towns in mexico, but since it's also touching areas in the u.s. it also relates to the latest sheriff's sweeps.
it is so fucked up that the sheriff is justifying his sweep by talking about the violence people face due to human smuggling. it gets violent because it's illegal! if it wasn't illegal, if it wasn't so hard to cross the border and find work, if there wasn't a shit ton of money to make off vulnerable desperate people, there wouldn't be that violence involved. how dare they claim to care about this violence when they perpetuate it. not only do they allow it to happen, they do it themselves by terrorizing the immigrant communities, arresting people, putting them in detention centers, many of them run by private corporations for profit. of course when there's profit involved there's going to be bad conditions that cause health problems, violence, and death. the police and the detention centers are just as much to blame, if not more, for the violence that undocumented people face.

criminalizing people and activities makes it easier to paint certain types of people criminals. make it so the only way to make money is to get into the drug and/or human smuggling business, make it so people can be held for ransom with no hope for help from the police (except when the police wants to find them to throw them in detention centers and make themselves out as heroes), make it that profitable for a section of the population to get into organized crime and then allow it to reflect on everyone else in that population by stereotyping and scapegoating and use it as an excuse to terrorize everyone in that community.

if you really want to stop the violence, stop criminalizing immigrants. stop criminalizing drugs. stop criminalizing all people of color.

but we know they don't care about the violence because they are just as guilty. they kidnap people, kill people, make money off them.

(check out this video too: On the Edge - Part 6 of 10 - Narco-trafficking)

Feds have plan if Mexico drug violence spills over

If Mexican drug violence spills across the U.S. border, Homeland Security officials say they have a contingency plan to assist border areas that includes bringing in the military.
“It’s a common sense extension of our continued work with our state, local, and tribal partners in securing the southwest border,” DHS spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said Friday...
The plan includes federal homeland security agents helping local authorities and maybe even military assistance from the Department of Defense, possibly including aircraft, armored vehicles and special teams to go to areas overwhelmed with violence, authorities said...
In the last year, more than 5,000 people have been killed and police and military officials have become common targets for violent drug cartels who are fighting with each other and the government for control of lucrative drug and human smuggling routes across Mexico.
More than one-fifth of the deaths have occurred in Ciudad Juarez, the hardscrabble border city just across the Rio Grande from El Paso.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Complexity of the Border Patrol Agents' Sentence not so Complex

In December of '07, i wrote up a blog entry about border patrol agents, Ramos and Campeon getting prison sentences for shooting at an undocumented immigrant. I explained that this was a rather unusual turn of events since it sort of breaks the pattern as far as whose lives/dignity are more important in this society. Well, now we see that Bush commuted their sentences and so they will go free.

Here's the bit i wrote: The Complexity of the Border Patrol Agents' Sentence