BY WILLIAM C. HENRY In case you missed it, Jim Boy has left the building. Recognizing that even if he departed there would still be ample Tea Partiers remaining to carry on the obstruction, Jimmy figured the time was ripe to try his hand at running one of the country’s most inglorious research outlets: the Heritage Foundation. While there is little question about his possessing all the illiberal qualities necessary to hold down such an enterprise’s presidency — after all, for nearly 15 years now he’s been one of the most salient national shills for any and all things anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-women, and just about anything else anti-equality you can think of — there are those, yours truly included, who sustain serious doubts about his moral qualifications to do so. Sarcasm aside, it is the peerless anti-immigrant ignorance and bigotry of DeMint and the Heritage Foundation that I’d like to shine a spotlight on here.
Earlier this month, the Heritage Foundation released an almost laughably ideologically-skewed study of the eventual costs, both financial and social, of the illegal immigrant “solution” currently under consideration in the U.S Senate. For a multitude of reasons — not the least of which has caused the study’s co-author to register at the unemployment office — it’s been oh-so-deservingly down hill for DeMint and the foundation ever since. Hell, no less than Jim’s own Republican party (including his former right wing Senate pals) and the respected conservative Cato Institute are bashing the report’s findings! Oh my! No haven for the resolutely bigoted! The essence of the study is a “hunch” (when you proffer conjectures based on suppositions derived from speculations, that’s the characterization you get) that the projected 50-year costs of amnesty for existing illegal immigrant households will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.3 trillion plus an overall dumbing down of the American population at large. My response? SO WHAT! Why? Because the study’s content is grotesquely exaggerated NONESENSE!
Enough of the anti-immigrant drivel! The question that everyone should be putting to Imperial Wizard DeMint and his “foundation” is: What do you propose to do about the situation? Cynicism without a solution in this regard is nothing more than sound and fury signifying squat. It’s but a rallying cry for the narrow-minded; a WASPish yearning for the “good old days.” Again I inquire, what the hell would you do? Would you simply leave illegal immigrants to twist in the wind forever? Would you risk the alienation of the entire civilized world, not to mention the near certain bankruptcy (how about a $300 billion dollar sequestration?!) of the nation, by forcibly deporting them? Or, as your previous standard bearer proposed, would you prefer that we simply make their lives so utterly miserable with discriminatory practices and laws as to leave them no choice but to self-deport? How about establishing vast ghettos or internment camps? There’s nothing silly about these questions Senor DeMint. They are the alternatives and you damn well know it.
Oh, by the way, after you’ve succeeded in removing them, pray tell who’s going to perform all the backbreaking, unlivable-wage, thankless jobs that your fellow Americans refuse to do? Who’s going to pick your fruits and vegetables, cut your sugar cane, pluck your chickens, dig your ditches, clear your overgrowth, wash your restaurant dishes, make your hotel beds, clean your offices and restrooms? And who’s going to make up for the untold billion$ in state and local taxes they’re paying? Who’s going to make up for all the tenants that fill the apartments and homes the rent from which sustains thousands of American landlords both big and small? Who’s going to make up for the lost billion$ these immigrants are paying into federal tax coffers including Social Security and Medicare? Finally, who among your self-righteous xenophobic community would like to be the first to divide an immigrant family? Perhaps you need to be reminded of a rather longstanding Constitutional right: If you were born here, you’re an American citizen. Thousands upon thousands of illegal immigrant families include legal American citizens. Anyway, as you’ve no doubt ascertained by now, the ignorant and the bigoted are usually quick with the carping but static with the solutions. Pesky inconvenient truths have always been their worst nightmares.
Trust me, we are not going to deport some 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants. The vast majority of Americans haven’t the will, and I’d like to believe, the moral inclination to do so. Obviously we can’t afford to expend the financial wherewithal necessary to complete such a task. Despite the best efforts of the DeMints and Heritages of the world, Congress will be forced to create a path to citizenship. The most crucial aspect will be the length of that path. And that determination will be guided entirely by the length of time the Republican party decides it wishes to remain a national political force. The encouraging part is that most of the Republicans who really count are finally coming to that realization. Through it all, I would hope that the perceptive words of Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa might appeal to higher levels of decency, compassion and plain old pragmatism than the obstructionists have exhibited up to now: “As I would learn later on, developed countries will always welcome the Einsteins of this world — those individuals whose talents are already recognized and deemed to have value. This welcome doesn’t usually extend to the poor and uneducated people seeking to enter the country. But the truth, supported by the facts of history and the richness of immigrant contribution to America’s distinction in the world, is that the most entrepreneurial, innovative, motivated citizen is the one who has been given an opportunity and wants to repay the debt.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fed up early stage septuagenarian who has actually been most of there and done most of that. Born and raised in the picturesque Pocono Mountains. Quite well educated. Very lucky to have been born into a well-schooled and somewhat prosperous family. Long divorced. One beautiful, brilliant daughter. Two far above average grandsons. Semi-retired (how does anyone manage to do it completely these days?) and fully-tired of bullshit. Uncle of the Editor-In-Chief.