Monday, April 24, 2017

Good Neighbors Make Low Fences

Regarding migration, which Samuel P. Huntington called "the central issue of our time," the Green Party takes a humanitarian, internationalist view. In the long run, the Green position is that North America should become more like the European Union with regard to border policies, rather than building walls on the U.S. southern border.

This week may be decisive as to whether Blowhard's promised wall will be built. He wants to get it into the bill that continues funding the government, but the 60% majority needed for its passage appears to be out of reach. He's even threatening to shut down the government for his pet project.

Photo by Michelle of  Cultivate Oxford
Spending oodles of tax dollars on a big wall to keep Latinos out would be a net negative. If Jared Diamond's observation that good international relations with neighboring countries is key to avoiding collapse, then we would probably be better off without a giant wall.  Good fences might make good neighbors in New England farm country, but they aren't too high to climb over, much less talk over. A border wall needn't be a bulwark.

We also do not want to be guilty of repelling climate refugees. Those in tropical and equatorial regions may be pushed in the direction of the poles as the earth warms. Somehow, we need to become reconciled to accepting millions more into our country, even if it reduces our overall standard of living, because the alternative is tantamount to genocide. Yet, reducing the incomes of international corporate elites in order to raise living standards for the working classes in the U.S. and Mexico would make this an easier choice. An excerpt from the Green Party platform's extensive dissection of the immigration issue weaves together several of its many complex threads:
The understandable concern about immigrant workers competing for jobs with current citizens cannot and should not be addressed by criminalizing undocumented immigration or punishing fellow victims of U.S. corporatist policies. Instead, we must reverse these policies. Among other things, we should repeal NAFTA, CAFTA, Fast Track and other corporate globalization policies. We must stop using our tax dollars to subsidize corporate agribusiness and to promote poverty in Latin America, and start using them to help reward environmentally responsible family farmers, encourage improved infrastructure and economic conditions in Latin America, and raise labor standards, at home and abroad. Here at home, we must also promote the policies, as outlined in the Economy and Workers' Rights sections of this Platform, that can help us achieve a full employment economy at a living wage, including strictly enforcing and expanding the rights of all workers to form unions.
The Blowhard administration is taking a more bronze and white view of the matter. Illegals - even those brought here as children - are seen as subject to deportation. The fact that ICE and CBP are prioritizing illegal aliens who behave criminally doesn't prevent them from sweeping up incidental non-criminals and dreamers in the process. They would like to arrest more, but they don't have the manpower to do so. That will not be the case once Blowhard's 15,000 new agents are deployed.

Such a hard line approach could backfire if enforcement agents lose their perspective on what sort of behaviors and attitudes by illegals warrant deportation. The criminal element does deserve deportation and there are also those who are guilty by association or by other indications that may be best determined by field agents. However, there is a slippery slope to deporting innocents, especially en masse, that management should be careful to avoid. The strategic goal for them should be to prevent the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico from deteriorating due to arbitrary deportations, because that would probably be much more damaging to the state of the union than admitting a few million impoverished foreigners into the U.S. A monolithic border wall would be even worse - symbolizing abandonment of any pretense of normal relations with our southern neighbor.

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