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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Environment > Resistance at US/Mexico border heats up in anticipation of next month’s fence construction

Resistance at US/Mexico border heats up in anticipation of next month’s fence construction

LatinaLista — Today, all eyes are fixed on Washington DC and ears glued for the latest hint at what was discussed at a late-night meeting between Obama and Clinton but the real action is happening outside the Beltway — at the US/Mexico border.
Things are heating up and it promises to be a long, hot summer showdown between border residents and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
By now, the story is old.

Opponents of a border barrier gather on the Mexican side of the fence in San Diego as part of a binational protest to the construction of a border fence.
(Source: Proyecto Fronterizo)

DHS is determined to construct as much fencing as they can accomplish along the US/Mexico border while the Bush Administration is in office. They’ve been stymied because they underestimated the sophistication of our nation’s border residents when it came to organizing themselves against being railroaded to comply with an order that would rob them of familial and public lands for a project that is bound to be known throughout history as Bush’s Blunder.
Yet, like cactus flowers growing in a waterless desert, there are little signs that resistance is growing.


In a significant sign of binational opposition to the border fence, a special vigil along the southern border called “From Friendship to Hope” (Friendship Park in San Diego to Hope Park in South Texas) took place last weekend.

Young girl at binational border protest at Friendship Park passes candy to children on the Mexican side of the fence.
(Source: J. Holslin)

John Fanestil, executive director of the San Diego-based Foundation for Change was present and shared some notes about the event:

Laurie Lynn Silvan Nogaim, of Fundacion La Puerta, shared how odd it was for Mexican environmental advocates like her – who have so long envied their U.S. counterparts because of the U.S. government’s openness and transparency and commitment to environmental protection – to find themselves seeing the U.S. government abandon these historic commitments.
Testimonies were shared. One man was deported last December after living 35 years in Los Angeles. With all his family still in LA, he has decided to make the best of it in Tijuana. He has landed a job, but complained about the salary – six days a week, eight hours a day, take-home pay: $70 per week.
One Border Patrol agent greeted a group of participants on their way out, addressed them warmly and invited them on a tour of the border so he could explain the challenges they face and why he feels they need the border fence.
Some law enforcement officers spent the period of our vigil running the license plates of all the cars in the State Parks parking lot. One student’s vehicle with expired registration was towed. When the professor who had invited the student asked the officer if there was any way the student could be spared the inconvenience of having the car towed, the officer told him that the decision was already made. “It’s like shooting fish in a barrel,” he said.
Border Patrol presence at Friendship Park was very high – at least a dozen officers were surveying our gathering at one point – in marked contrast to the low-key presence that has been typical at our gatherings in years past.

These mild confrontations between the Border Patrol and residents are in all likelihood going to escalate into passive disobedience as the government physically starts to erect the fencing.
It’s being reported by The Rio Grande Guardian newspaper that some border residents opposed to the fence are planning acts of civil disobedience late next month when construction is scheduled to start.

“There are people ready to do civil disobedience, people who have experience in doing civil disobedience, who are not afraid to do that,” said No Border Wall coalition member Ann Cass.
“We are going to gear up our actions through July 27, that’s when they said they will start building the fence.”
Asked what civil disobedience is, Cass responded: “Civil disobedience is when you are willing to break a law and you know in your conscience that the law is a bad law and what they (the government) are doing is bad.”

Are recreations of what happened at Tiananmen Square 19 years ago too farfetched to be a reality in South Texas and in more spots along the border?
Hardly.
What this administration has been able to accomplish with this issue, versus all of its other failed policies, is unite diverse groups, who would never have before joined forces, to counter an enforcement policy that has nothing to do with national security as much as it has to do with exercising government control — not because it has to but simply because it can.

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Comment(30)

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 6, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    Let them commit civil disobediance. It will just awaken more law abiding Americans to the severity of this problem.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    June 6, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    You really think that the DHS is going to listen to a few border dwellers who apparently in their own selfish interests care little for the security of the nation as a whole? These people are like fleas on the back of a rhino and will simlarly be ignored. And our politicians won’t listen to the Mexican faction, as their interests are open borders and the ability to cross our border at will, without interference from ICE.
    We didn’t note any protests against the severe environmental damage caused by illegal aliens, so we may assume that it’s just a red herring that’s used for the sake of the convenience of ethnocentrist open borders tin foil hat types.

  • Avatar
    laura
    June 7, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Dear Marisa,
    this border fence/wall is part of how immigration is serving as an excuse for the government’s military-style control of people inside the United States. Though undocumented immigrants are touted as (and are suffering as) the target, having military-style government forces deploy inside the United States is directed against all – citizens and non-citizens, documented and not – who might not go along with thr ripoff of their communities by Bush’s friends.
    Blackwater in flooded New Orleans was just a start.
    No one explains this better than Roberto Lovato. Take a look:
    http://ofamerica.wordpress.com/2008/03/25/one-raid-at-a-time-how-immigrant-crackdowns-build-the-national-security-state/

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 7, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    I see no exercise of military style control by our government on our American citizens. My, my how the pro’s like to dramatize and lie.
    As for non-citizens here illegally our government is just enforcing our immigration laws just like any other country would.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 8, 2008 at 1:07 am

    This is the beginning of the government’s control on other citizens. Next it will be the racists. Maybe another non white race.
    Xenophobia and Anti-Gay Legislation Galore: What’s the Matter with Oklahoma?
    By Richard L. Fricker, Consortium News. Posted
    The Republican-dominated Oklahoma legislature is defining the frontier of xenophobic immigration laws, anti-Muslim bigotry, gay bashing and encouragement of gun-toting students — with Democratic legislators often too timid to resist.
    Rep. Randy Terrill, Republican chairman of the Revenue and Taxation Committee, has emerged as a hero of the “protect our borders” crowd by authoring a law, known as HB1804, that makes it a felony even to give an illegal immigrant a ride.
    You also can’t provide education, health care and many other services to undocumented immigrants, including infants. And, police are required to check the immigration status of anyone “suspected” of being in this country illegally.
    If you thought such a draconian measure might face stiff opposition — or at least a drawn-out political battle — you’d be wrong. The bill sailed through the Oklahoma House, 88-9, with 35 of the 44 Democrats joining the Republicans, and then passed the Senate on a 41-6 vote with two-thirds of the Democrats lining up with Republicans.
    After the law’s passage, its extreme — one might say un-Christian — features prompted virtual declarations of civil disobedience from the Southern Baptist Convention and the Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches, which announced they would not curtail aid to anyone.
    Terrill then attacked Roman Catholic Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa as “misguided,” accusing Catholics of opposing the law out of fear that it would curtail a growth in population and thus revenues for the church.
    Terrill followed up his legislative victory by floating a “son of 1804,” a bill that would forbid the issuance of birth certificates to a child if one parent was an illegal alien. That bill also sought confiscation of property for anyone caught violating HB1804.
    The property-confiscation idea, however, was deemed too radical by the Oklahoma business community, which saw it as a threat to corporate owners. So, the follow-up bill got sidetracked.
    Undeterred, Terrill proposed another anti-immigrant bill to make English the official language of Oklahoma.
    When that bill died on a procedural vote in the Senate, Terrill enlisted the Washington lobby group ProEnglish, whose specialty is robo-calling, to make constituency calls to state senators.
    One senator took umbrage and forwarded his calls to Terrill’s office. Furious at this “cowardly act,” Terrill crossed the rotunda threatening to “whip his ass.”
    Though Terrill’s pressure tactics failed to revive the bill, it is expected to become a hot-button election issue this fall.
    Meanwhile, the Oklahoma business community, which mostly sat on the sidelines as HB1804 was passed, is now having second thoughts, worrying that the new law has cut into the labor force and thus corporate profits.
    A significant number of Mexicans, both legal and illegal, have left the state to avoid harassment, while other laborers are living in fear.
    As Terrill and his supporters mounted legal assaults against non-English-speaking immigrants, Republican colleague Rep. Sally Kern focused on what she viewed as an even graver danger: gays and lesbians. In April, she went before a local GOP meeting and labeled that threat worse than the one from al-Qaeda:
    “Studies show that no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than, you know, a few decades. So it’s the death knell of this country. I honestly think it’s the biggest threat our nation has, even more than terrorism or Islam, which I think is a big threat. OK?
    “‘Cause what’s happening now is they are going after, in schools, 2-year-olds, and this stuff is deadly, and it’s spreading, and it will destroy our young people, and it will destroy this nation.”
    When her comments showed up on YouTube, Kern claimed her comments had been taken out of context and expressed outrage that they would be posted on the Internet. However, she referenced the Bible and refused to apologize.
    Despite complaints from around the country, Kern and Oklahoma’s other Republican leaders held fast behind her anti-gay positions. Reports from inside the GOP caucus described Kern receiving a standing ovation from the party faithful a couple of days after her statements were made public.
    Kern’s supporters also staged two rallies at the Capitol Building, with one drawing nearly 2,000 people.
    “I told the people when I was running for this office that I was a Christian candidate and that I believed we were in a cultural war for the very existence of our Judeo-Christian values,” Kern declared.
    In a similar vein, Republican Rep. Rex Duncan concentrated on the threat from Islam, rebuffing a gesture of multicultural goodwill when American Muslims on the Ethnic American Advisory Council sent each legislator a copy of the Quran in honor of Oklahoma’s centennial celebration.
    Duncan refused to accept his copy, saying, “Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology.” Seventeen other House Republicans joined Duncan in spurning copies of Islam’s holy book.
    However, Duncan’s rationale — decrying Islam as a uniquely violent religion — flew in the face of historical and Biblical evidence that implicated Jewish and Christian communities in horrendous violence against the innocent as well.
    For instance, the Old Testament’s Book of Numbers recounts Moses’ destruction of the Midians, including the slaughter of boys and the enslavement of girls. During the Crusades, Christian forces famously butchered the Muslim inhabitants of Jerusalem.
    Indeed, the history of Christianity — a religion based on the peaceful teachings of Jesus — has been remarkable in its bloodletting against non-Christians, from the Inquisition and anti-Jewish pogroms in Europe to the genocide against the “heathen” natives living in the New World and the barbarities against African slaves brought to the New World.
    Though several interfaith groups expressed dismay at Duncan’s denunciation of Islam, the Rev. Anthony Jordan, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, said he did not fault the legislators for their action repudiating the Quran.
    The Oklahoma legislature also responded to concerns about mass shootings on campuses by deliberating on a proposal advocated by extreme elements of the gun lobby, to permit all university students to carry guns to classes so they could defend themselves in case a mad gunman went on a rampage.
    However, the idea of turning colleges into a modern version of the Wild West died in a fit of sobriety.
    Still, the question remains: Why have these sorts of comments and such legislation gained traction in Oklahoma and other parts of the United States?
    Some political analysts suggest part of the reason is that Democrats so dread coming under attack from the evangelical Right that they stay silent or acquiesce to proposals that otherwise might be transformed into campaign attack ads against them.
    Election 2008 could be a moment when this surge of theocracy tinged with white racialism might finally be turned back. But, then again, enough Democrats may find it more appealing to nurse their grievances from the bruising Obama-Clinton race than to find some common ground.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 8, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Based on what we have learned about Obama himself and his 20 year association with a racist pastor and church, his remarks to White Pennsylvanians, his remarks about his White grandmother and his wife’s anti-American, anti-White remarks, I would say that it is “brown” racialism that we should be concerned about. Whites have come a long ways away from racism. When are “Browns” going to do the same?
    I say if one doesn’t like what this country stands for, it’s policies and laws, then get the hell out! Especially those who claim to have a home in another country! Adios!

  • Avatar
    Dee
    June 8, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Laura and Evelyn,
    I agree. This is the governments way of controlling our citizens. The fence, the sweeps, the destruction of our civil liberties via the Patriot Act. If the SAVE Act is passed, we will see more and more destruction of our civil liberties. The SAVE Act calls for increased number of “consultants” like Blackwater to patrol our borders. It calls for increased surveillance of our neighborhoods, such as the testing of the unmanned aircraft in Houston recently. These unmanned aircraft, built by Blackwater.
    Does anyone think it is a mere coincidenct that the Detention Centers-Private Prisons are owned by large GOP donors? Blackwater another large GOP donor. Agriprocessors, home of the largest worker sweep in American history, another large GOP donor. The owners are not in jail nor even charged. Only the workers.
    Our civil liberties are doomed unless our side gains solidarity and we all protest these acts!

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 8, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    “Whites have come a long way away from racism”
    Yes, and those that anchor themselves to racism will be dragged the rest of the way now that the White House will be a more diverse one.
    Now you want for Americans who have a home in another part of this American continent to leave?
    You will be forced to accept the word FREEDOM along with the words JUSTICE and EQUALITY. Our constution is filled with those words. If you cant accept them YOU should leave to a country like CHINA, where FREEDOM, JUSTICE and EQUALITY, dont exist.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 8, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    One suggested in here that racists weren’t Americans so I suggested those racists leave then and go to the homes they have in Mexico for example. You know the ones with the ponds and everything.
    Laws are what keeps freedom ringing. Without laws there would be chaos and no freedom.
    Justice should be served to ALL law breakers. It is the American way.
    Equality is granted up to a certain degree. It doesn’t include granting the same equal rights to illegal law breakers as it does to citizens.
    We don’t need diverseness in the White House per se. What we need is a president that will work for all Americans no matter what ethnicity he/she is. In this country the majority rules and so do our laws.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 9, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Heck if you have a home in Mexico go for it. Maybe if you live among the Mexicans and see how WRONG WRONG WRONG you are about them you can rid yourself of that offal curse of racism that burdens you.
    We don’t need diverseness in the White House per se. What we need is a president that will work for all Americans no matter what ethnicity he/she is. In this country the majority rules and so do our laws.
    You contradict yourself from the beginning of the first president all presidents have been white men, leaving out all people of color.

  • Avatar
    laura
    June 9, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Dee said, “Does anyone think it is a mere coincidenct that the Detention Centers-Private Prisons are owned by large GOP donors? Blackwater another large GOP donor. Agriprocessors, home of the largest worker sweep in American history, another large GOP donor. The owners are not in jail nor even charged. Only the workers.
    Our civil liberties are doomed unless our side gains solidarity and we all protest these acts!”
    Exactly! That is exactly what is happening!
    It is frightening and horrendous, but I see a connection between the crimes of Blackwater in Iraq, and what is being prepared for – and already being done to – our undocumented loved ones.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 9, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    NO, it will not be your way, it will be the American way. You will not be allowed to predict, change or choose who is covered by our constution.
    You will not be able to choose to what degree ALL people within the boundaries of the U.S. are protected. That has already been done.
    You will follow the rules of the constution or suffer the consequences of choosing racism and being unpatriotic.
    You will be dragged kicking and screaming or you can always go live in a country like China which would be more to your liking.
    The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights–and the blood shed to sanctify them–established our Republic. Only they define what it means to be an American. Therefore, patriotic Americans don’t just wear flags on their lapels. They swear allegiance to these founding principles, and solemnly promise to uphold, protect, and defend them.
    The Declaration begins, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Constitution and Bill of Rights reaffirm these distinctively American principles.
    There it is, in plain English. Every American knows from first grade that (1) it is self evident (2) that ALL of us have (3) God-given rights that (4) no one can sever from us for any reason. Although we can forfeit these rights by committing certain felony offenses, they cannot be arbitrarily taken away. This means that I have exactly the same right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness that any other American has, whether they agree or not.
    If you are a patriotic American, you don’t just give this lip service. You are sworn to uphold my rights just as I am sworn to uphold yours. Further, if you are a patriotic American, you have sworn your allegiance to the conviction that your religion does not trump mine. You have sworn to uphold, protect, and defend my rights as if they were your own. These rights include everyone within the borders of the U.S. regardless of their status.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 10, 2008 at 8:24 am

    I am not a racist and I am not the one who has a home in Mexico, so if the shoe fits….
    Where has any anti in here stated that they hate Mexicans, liar! We are opoposed to illegal immigration of any kind. It isn’t our fault that it is mostly Mexicans in violation of our immigration laws but that still doesn’t equated to hatred of them. Disgusting how the pro’s have to lie to make their cases.
    Again, for the deluded ones, our laws and Constitution do not grant the exact same rights to those illegally in our country as they do to citizens. If that were true, then we wouldn’t have immigration laws on the first place! If one doesn’t think that our government is following the Constitution, why don’t they bitch at our government instead of beating up on their fellow citizens? We neither wrote the Constitution nor do we have the right to interpret it the way WE want it interpreted. The 14th Amendment is being mis-interpreted but until the Supreme Court changes that, there is nothing we can do about it.
    It is a lie that employers aren’t being punished by fines and jail time for hiring illlegals. There are many cases out there where that has happened. There are others out there that are currently under investigation such as Agriprocessors. One does know how our criminal justice system works, don’t they? Accusations, investigations, gaining proof, arrests, trials, convictions and then fines and/or prison time occurs. Those things are the order in which our criminal justice system works.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Getting back to the prospect of having a person of color becoming president, for one thing Obama is HALF WHITE! Why would anyone push to make sure a minority becomes our president? What difference does that make? What we need is a president who serves ALL of the American people, not favor certain ethnic groups.
    How many “Anglos” or other non-Latinos hold office in Mexico? There are FAR MORE “minorities” at every level of government–local, state, and federal–than there are in Mexico! There are entire states and cities run by “minorities.” Oh, that’s right; Mexico allows very little “diversity” in their culture, so I guess we have the answer to that one.
    Also, one seems to be implying that a “white” president cannot justly represent “people of color” because he is white. That is racist! The other side of that coin is that a non-white president could not justly represent white Americans then if you want to play that game.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 10, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    You can spin your racism all you want but spinning will not change facts. As for your hate of Mexicans and Hispanics, that’s easy, It shows in most of your posts.
    You even hate white people who are patriotic and believe in upholding the rights afforded to all people (including Hispanics regardless of their status) by our constution.
    You use the rule of law ONLY when it benefits your racist agenda and reject it when it benefits Hispanic Immigrants. You are not fooling anyone, remember I am not the only one who has witnessed your racism. Others have called you on it too.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 10, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    It appears that a few in here need to look up the word “racist” in the dictionary. It won’t say it is someone who wants their country’s immigration laws enforced.
    It makes a lot more sense that a racist would be someone who thumbs their noses at their own country’s immigration laws in favor of their own ethnic kind rather than someone who upholds the laws of their country. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that little piece of logic.
    I don’t hate anyone. I may hate their views regardless of their skin color but I certainly don’t hate anyone. Just more made up lies by the ethnocentric racists themselves and because they are high fiving and agreeing with one another in here doesn’t make it so. Wow, a half dozen racists agreeing with one another. Oh, yeah that’s real credible!
    As I said, if you think our govenrment is violating the Constitution, then take it up with them not Americans who after reading it don’t see it that way. You are wrong though and that is why you can’t get away with your nonsense with our govenrnment so you lash out at your fellow Americans who don’t agree with you instead. Childish and disgusting!

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 10, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    You are correct, it is racist. Like I stated it’s time that others are also represented. It’s also time for more ladies to get out of the kitchen and into the oval office. For that I admire Clinton.
    The American people are also on the right tract, willing to vote for an African American or a women. The racism of the fifties isn’t popular anymore. You are a dying breed.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 11, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Speaking for myself I don’t have a problem with having a Black, Latino, or female president as long as they work for ALL the people and not cater to certain groups and respect the laws of this country.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 11, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    What makes you question or think they wont? Your racism?

  • Avatar
    Horace
    June 11, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Frank is not racist. He’s just trying to avoid the fractiousness that cause events like the Civil War, where southern and northern interests clashed to the point that our nation nearly fell apart. It’s apparent that illegal alien advocates do not mind bringing this nation to the brink for the sake of foreigners.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 11, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    The Civil War was caused by the racists in the south. They didnt want to give up their slaves.
    Today the first racists to kill a Hispanic because of hate is already doing time. If any of the idiots that play dress up in army garb starts shooting he or they will also end up in prison.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 12, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Don’t you just love the way the pro’s in here spin what one says, Horace? Did I say that I doubt that any minority who might become president WOULDN’T represent ALL Americans? NO! What I said is that I would vote for ANY candidate that will represent ALL Americans. I get accused of racism for something I never even said! What a hateful and childish piece of trash!

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 12, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Your ignorance is outstanding, keep up the good work! The backpeddling is also greatly appreciated, it must be embarrassing when your fingers type faster than your mind can think! LOL!
    Take notice world, this is the type of so called human driving the racist immigrant rhetoric.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 13, 2008 at 8:25 am

    No backpeddling just spinning of the anti’s posts in here as usual or a reading comprehension problem by a pro-illegal.
    Here, try spinning this AGAIN! I have no problem with a Black, Latino, a female or any other minority becoming president of our country just as long as they work for ALL Americans and don’t cater to a certain group and respect our laws.
    No where is my post did I imply that it couldn’t be done! In fact I know of a few minority congressmen that I would vote for if they chose to run for the presidency and I would have voted for Hillary if she had become the Democratic candidate and I am a registered Republican! I have no use for the “white guy”, McCain.

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 13, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Why do you question that a black, Latino, or a woman would not work for all Americans, when it is the White men who have been president and NOT worked for all people? The question is again. Is it because of your racism?

  • Avatar
    Frank
    June 13, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    Are you just plain stupid or can’t you read?????????
    I haven’t questioned the possibility that a Black, Latino or a female wouldn’t be able to be a president for ALL Americans. In fact I said three times now that I would vote for all of the above just as long as they would be that kind of president and respect our laws. There are many White candidates I wouldn’t vote for because I don’t think they would represent all Americans either. McCain is one of them! I also said three times now that I would have voted for Hillary if she had been the nominee. Geez, I have never seen anyone so reading challenged in my whole damn life!
    The only word that seems to be in your adolescent vocabulary is “racist or racism”. Grow up you childish piece of crap! You are absolutely disgusting!

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    June 16, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    “Speaking for myself I don’t have a problem with having a Black, Latino, or female president as long as they work for ALL the people and not cater to certain groups and respect the laws of this country”.
    Whether you accept it or not THIS statement is challenging the fact that you think these people would be capable of representing all people. Ask a linguist.
    Oh, by the way, your racism makes your name calling bounce off of me and stick to you. Racist are a piece of crap.

  • Avatar
    Horace
    June 20, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Let them in, Auturo. Not if I can help it.
    http://www.townhall.com/Columnists/IraMehlman/2008/06/20/the_free_market_and_us_immigration_policy
    The Free Market and U.S. Immigration Policy
    By Ira Mehlman
    “People don’t have much faith in government, especially the federal government…and who can blame them? The public looks to Washington and sees neither competence nor integrity in the people and institutions who are determining their fate.
    Into the vacuum have stepped the evangelists for a new god: the free market. In his new book, Let Them In:The Case for Open Borders, Wall Street Journal editorial board member, Jason Riley, argues that immigration policy ought to be set not by legislators and bureaucrats in Washington, but by the demands of the free market.
    Americans have been raised to believe that free market capitalism has been the source of our abundance – and there is certainly much truth in that belief, especially when you compare it to the economic disasters created by centralized command economies. But any virtue taken to an extreme ultimately becomes destructive.
    The free market, unregulated, unbridled, and divorced from any notion of public interest, is nothing more than the law of the jungle. At its best, American capitalism has never been a truly free market. Rather, the system has produced the greatest and most equitable prosperity when it has operated with the minimum regulation necessary to prevent it from devolving into an exercise in survival of the fittest.
    An immigration policy dictated solely by market forces, as Riley and the Wall Street Journal advocate, is a surrender of our right as free people to choose our own destiny. Rather than determining our own future through our elected representatives (no matter how poorly they represent us), Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders suggests that we cede that prerogative to some amorphous entity known as the free market.
    Under the Riley/Wall Street Journal plan, the free market will decide when we’ve had enough immigration. Citing the example of the cessation of large-scale migration from Puerto Rico in the early 1960s, when average wages in the territory reached a mere 35 percent of what they were in the U.S., Riley predicts that today’s flow, principally from Mexico, will abate once a magic “tipping point” is achieved.
    Riley is probably right, but that should be of little comfort to anyone who works for a living in this country. The end of Puerto Rican migration occurred because wages on the island rose to a level that convinced most people to stay put. Given the forces of globalism, the tipping point for Mexican workers is more likely to result from a decline in wages in this country, rather than substantially greater prosperity in Mexico.
    But even when that magic tipping point is realized vis-à-vis Mexico, there will still be dozens of countries where workers still feel it benefits them to work at even a depressed American wage. Thus, the free market model Riley proposes would see mass migration end only when we’ve reached an economic tipping point with every country on earth, or when America becomes so overpopulated that it ceases to be an attractive alternative to people around the world.
    One of the inherent flaws of the unbridled free market is that it is incapable of taking a long-term view of things. The unbridled free market said it was expedient to offer subprime mortgages to people who couldn’t afford the houses they were buying. It said it was more expedient to remain dependent on foreign oil than to develop alternative energy sources and invest on conservation.
    Market forces ought to be a factor, not the only factor in determining immigration, or any other policy. Immigration policies must be formulated with a sense of how they will affect us in the long-term, economically, socially and culturally. Moreover, they must be formulated by the American people and those who are accountable to us. The free market has no accountability and no responsibility to serve the greater good.
    This nation’s founders were dedicated to the revolutionary principle of self determination. They believed that a free people ought to be in charge their own destiny – a free people, not a free market. Policies that are forced upon us, whether by monarchs, dictators, or plutocrats amounts to tyranny. Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders is, in reality, the case for the tyranny of the marketplace that few Americans would be willing to accept.”

  • Avatar
    Evelyn
    July 3, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Ira Melman is associated with FAIR.
    Fair is an anti-immigrant hate group.
    Washington lobbying group’s mouthpiece named Ira Melman has decided folks in the Valley don’t know anything about conservation. That includes the employees of the Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of Interior, I guess.
    Today, conservationists, birding experts and tourism officials are alarmed at plans to put up a border security fence in and around an extensive network of refuges laid out on 80 miles of river frontage.
    They fear disruption of one of the border’s most successful habitat-restoration projects, involving 90,000 acres that are now home to a long list of wildlife — including endangered wildcats, snakes and plants, and hundreds of species of native birds dependent on the remaining slivers of South Texas.
    “Creating a walled-in zoo was not the original intention,” notes Carter Smith, the Texas director of the nonprofit Nature Conservancy, which helped establish a wildlife complex within the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The border fence, Smith says, “runs completely counter to decades of investment in the ecological health of the lands and water of the Rio Grande Valley.”
    The fence is a key component of the Secure Border Initiative, a $7.6 billion array of 700 miles of fencing, vehicle barriers, radar installations, lighting, video surveillance and thousands of additional Border Patrol agents aimed at stopping illegal immigration by 2011.
    Details of how that initiative would be implemented have surfaced in the past few weeks, including a memo from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that identified 153 miles of pedestrian fence, much of it in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Officials have since said the map is no longer accurate, and was a “starting point” for discussing locations.
    Fast-track concerns
    More recently, wildlife officials learned that the fence could impact the refuges much sooner, as the sites could be placed on the “fast track” because the property already is owned by the federal government and no condemnation proceedings are necessary.Alarmed Texas wildlife officials sent out e-mail alerting conservationists of the plans.
    “Homeland Security is fast tracking the border fence. Some 82 miles to be built in Texas’ lower three counties, 150 feet wide or more, with a (paved) road along it that they can travel 50 mph on,” reads e-mail from a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department official. “The FWS (Fish & Wildlife Service) refuge tracts will be first to go since they’re already federally owned. Condemnation will proceed apace for the rest.”
    Although environmentalists condemn the thought of a fence on habitat grounds, advocates for reduced immigration insist it is necessary.
    “These people who are worried about the environmental impact of the fence don’t seem terribly concerned about hundreds of thousands of people traipsing across wilderness lands, leaving tons of garbage behind,” said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “Suddenly they get concerned when there’s an effort to stop illegal immigration.”

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    Eldepryl
    October 2, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    And there is what some alternative? 😉

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