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Immigration reform sucks and not just because it reminds of "reform schools" that we know didn't work. Now, Jim Messina writes on behalf of Barack Obama and the newly formed Organizing for Action, seeking citizen support for a plan to:

- Continue to strengthen and secure our borders;
- Crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers;
- Establish a legal path to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are already here -- including children who were brought here through no fault of their own;
- And streamline legal immigration for those who are already playing by the rules.
because,
Solving this problem is not only essential to a strong economy and a thriving middle class, it's also the right thing to do.

The time to act is now.

The whole plan sucks and I'll tell you why.

Perambulation is a natural function for mobile organisms with legs. Therefor, migrating is what mobile creatures do. Whether they migrate in or out, here or there, to set up impediments is contrary to their nature and, in the case of humans, a violation of their rights. Of course, the U.S. has always been segregationist and exclusive. Doing it on a national scale is just grander than before. Why would Barack Obama curry the segregationist impulse? He doesn't know any better. People let in are rarely aware that it's at the expense of others shut out.

Making laws about who comes here and under what conditions they stay is an example of extraordinary hubris because it is an effort to extend the country's jurisdiction over people who aren't even here yet. Moreover, it's targeted at poor people, since people who fly in on jets and stay at fancy hotels can stay as long as they can pay.

Yes, lots of other countries have adopted exclusive and segregationist policies. But all that tells us is the impulse arises in all sorts of human breasts. Perhaps it goes with being greedy.

But, to get to the particulars:

Continue to strengthen and secure our borders;
--In other words, set up a prison for everyone. Borders are an artifice of man, a manifestation of his antagonism towards his own kind. After all, other creatures aren't going to be kept out by fences and guard towers.

Crack down on companies that hire undocumented workers;
--Since we do not require work permits of citizens, the requirement that people have documents is either un-constitutionally discriminatory or will justify everyone having to carry papers. You see how easily the mania to keep records gets transformed into an authoritarian system. You can call it "Real ID" and embed the information in plastic, but it's still "papers please." Franklin was wrong about people choosing security over liberty. When liberty is to be stripped, it's rarely a matter of choice. (The use of the word "crack" in this context is no better than with drugs -- substances aimed to render organisms insensitive).

Establish a legal path to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are already here -- including children who were brought here through no fault of their own;

--Citizenship is a bundle of obligations, not some sort of boon or reward. People who live in country for many years or even a generation without taking part in our civic affairs are free-loaders, whose contributions we are probably better off doing without. What is immoral, though obviously not illegal, is the habit of designating normal human behaviors, which inflict no injury on any other person, as criminal. Criminalizing behaviors we don't like is immoral and erodes the validity of the law. The law is supposed to promote justice by punishing inequity; not make inequity and dominion legal. But, to be fair, the rule of law in the U.S. has been doing the latter for a long time -- ever since the Constitution made slavery legal. Segregation is just a lesser, included offense. Although, shutting people out instead of keeping them confined is potentially more lethal since it restricts their access to resources they need to survive.

And streamline legal immigration for those who are already playing by the rules;


--Saying it over and over doesn't make it so. Migration, in or out, is not a proper subject of legislation. Indeed, mobility and migration are the essence of liberty. We can argue and persuade ourselves that humans only wander to escape hardship and famine and, if we feed them like cattle, they'll stay where we want them, but that doesn't change the fact that imprisoning our own kind, except as a punishment for injury, is a violation of their natural rights. Of course, the presumption that all men are created evil and it is the function of the state to render them obedient and compliant, provides the authoritarians with a plausible excuse. Presuming that everyone is bad makes them available to be abused at leisure.
If life were a game, "playing by the rules" would be justified. It's not and this invocation of rules is simply abusive.

Solving this problem is not only essential to a strong economy and a thriving middle class, it's also the right thing to do;

--Indeed, it would be right to abandon the segregationist impulse, instead of trying to extend it to the continental edge. Moreover, separating people into classes on the basis of material assets, whose acquisition is increasingly restricted by the imposition of private property designations -- i.e. legislated privilege and preference -- has no more validity than segregating humans on the basis of personal characteristics. Arbitrary exclusion, that's not related to the behavior of the individual, is wrong in a social species. Arguing that humans aren't social is possible, but contrary to fact. Using money to segregate is doubly immoral, because the true intent is disguised. It's possible, but it sure ain't right.

The time to act is now;
 -- Indeed, but the action that's required is to get rid of legal segregation. I won't say "once and for all," because that's apparently unrealistic. Antagonism towards their own kind surfaces in some human breasts and, when it does, exclusion looks like a kinder, gentler alternative -- especially to the cowards, whose aggressions are only kept in check by the possibility of getting hurt. But, the solution to the problem of aggressive humans is not human husbandry. It's the wolves that have to be restrained, not the pacific herd.

The good shepherd leads us to clear water, not to slaughter.

It may be worth noting that people who plan to fail can propose all sorts of outrageous programs because they can presume they won't work. In the political realm, that's the pattern which accounts for outrages being accomplished by people, who should know better, coming around and showing the "failures" how it's done. That's how it happened that Clinton/Gore put mothers to work and farmed out their children under the rubric of "welfare reform."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Having been a compliant immigrant child, (6+ / 0-)

    this is something I do know first-hand.

    Fortunately, I am now old enough, I can probably die without having to show my citizenship papers to prove who I am.
    I even have a birth certificate, 'cause the Germans, despite having their country bombed to smithereens, were really good at keeping their paper-work intact. The U.S., on the other hand, can't keep track and couldn't provide a duplicate of my citizenship papers, when my originals got burnt up.
    So how did I get certified? By taking an oath and having the spouse attest I am who I am.

    In the culture of obedience, the object is compliance. What I object to is compliance being coerced.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:32:55 AM PST

  •  Yep. The two-legged and the four-legged, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roseeriter, hannah, katiec

    the no-legged and the winged; have moved back and forth across this arbitrary line on a map for eons. It's a huge disruption to try to put an end to that.

    And we mustn't forget that most people do not want to move away permanently from their homes and families and friends. Some may have an innate wanderlust, but most do it from necessity. I'm sure most Mexicans, like most Americans would rather stay home.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:00:56 AM PST

  •  No human or groups of humans own anything on the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hannah

    planet; that includes one's children, home, land etc., etc.,

    There is no collective Freedom thingy!

    Just Be and Let it Be!

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones." "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:15:21 AM PST

    •  I do think some people have to own things (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      roseeriter, katiec

      in order to define themselves.
      We just shouldn't let their needs define everyone else's rights.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:34:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Being defined by things, labels, groups is the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hannah, katiec

        problem and will always be The Problem. Those are the things that Bind us...shackle us, chain us, control us, choke us and kill us in horrible ways...IMHO.

        Let Thy People Go!!

        "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones." "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

        by roseeriter on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:49:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, and if anyone questions 'my wisdom' ;) I (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hannah

          remember where I came from and accept that I am just a fellow time traveler....lol

          "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones." "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

          by roseeriter on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:55:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Pragmatism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, Rich in PA

    I see this as an exercise in problem-solving. The US is transitioning into a multi-ethnic society that looks like the rest of the world, but we're not all the way there yet, and as long as people fear being "overwhelmed" with immigrants from Latin America (or China or anywhere), the public policy must mitigate that fear while responding as humanely as possible to the reality that many people have built lives here and should not be forced to leave. Think of this as harm reduction instead of ultimate freedom.

    People have two legs and are capable of walking great distances.  The Romans knew this, which is why they legislated and enforced migration controls when it came to your rather warlike distant ancestors.  The right to move anywhere, at any time, usually ends up resulting in ethnic or sectarian conflict.  If you want to get philosophical about it, the main issue here is not about the freedom to walk across the good green earth, but whether groups have the right to control access to resources.  That's way too complicated an issue to get into right now.  But I'm not sure the Navajo would accept that anyone who wants to migrate to Monument Valley should be allowed to do so.  I'm not sure indigenous groups in the Amazon would agree that migrant gold miners and cattle ranchers have absolute freedom of motion.  In fact, the idea of absolute freedom of migration hasn't ever existed, except perhaps when the first people crossed the Bering Strait and entered an uninhabited continent.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 03:49:04 AM PST

    •  My father only ever gave me two pieces of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      roseeriter, katiec

      advice. One was "it's not the sleeping; it's the lying awake," and the other was "if you start crossing the street, keep moving."
      The latter, of course, is related to the fact that moving at a steady rate lets others anticipate how long it will take you to get out of their way.
      I think I was reminded of the first because the problem with miners in the Amazon isn't their transit, but their settling in to dig. Ditto for visitors to Monument Valley or any other place on earth. it's not the visit or the transit; it's the destruction of the earth.
      For that matter, our redefinition of resources is perverse. Resources, ideally, are things that can be used over and over again, indefinitely. The ex-men's behavior is not consistent. Excavators and extracters destroy before moving on to do it somewhere else again. Referring to humans as resources is no better. It just means that the exploitation of mother nature's cupboard includes other human beings by people who pervert use into abuse. Use is not inherently harmful. Abuse is.

      We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

      by hannah on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:05:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And the multi national corps and finance wizards (0+ / 0-)

      like that only their factories and money can fly free, while people are locked behind arbitrary borders.

      Don't think too much about how free trade requires free labor to be free to freely negotiate with the free capitalist.

      It would hurt people's heads.

      •  I think I understand (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hannah, Rich in PA, efrenzy

        because comprehensive immigration reform still places limits on migration, we should not do it.  We should hold out for the time when we have sufficient majorities within our own party to insist on completely open borders and  absolute freedom of movement.  We should insist on legislation that ensures that human mobility is as unrestrained as the mobility of capital.  

        Until that time, it's better not to reform the immigration system or figure out a way for undocumented people to obtain legal status.  The whole idea of legal status is an infringement on freedom anyway, and by playing along with these undocumented people who desire permanent residence or citizenship, we are merely perpetuating an unfair and inhumane system. If they are deported now, they will be able to come back once we manage to legislate completely open borders.

        OK, I think I get it.  Thanks!

        “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

        by ivorybill on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:36:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nah, I wasn't critiquing you per se, just the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ivorybill, efrenzy

          whole silly argument on the part of free trade fundamentalists who also are against open borders.

          Sorry, didn't mean for my comment to sound as thought it was including you.

          •  And I apologize for my excessive snarkiness (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            hannah, nchristine, katiec

            Bad habit, really...

            I absolutely agree that the immigration debate should not be driven by industry/agricultural needs for low-wage labor... rather, the objective should be to make the system more egalitarian and to allow more people the benefits of full social/economic inclusion.  That's why I really don't want this to include some sort of temporary guest worker program with insufficient rights and no pathway to citizenship.  If someone works here, lives here, contributes here, they should have the choice to integrate fully with equal rights.  

            “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

            by ivorybill on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:16:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  :) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hannah, katiec

    Lines on a piece of paper mean nothing to those trying to stay alive.

    People are now dying long slow miserable deaths in the Arizona Desert. And the real droughts haven't even really begun yet.

    What do people think is going to happen when the food and water stop being something we just go find with not thought to it?

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 04:26:40 AM PST

  •  Not a discussion worth having in these terms (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IT Professional

    The bill (not-yet-a-bill) might be OK or awful.  I'm open to the possibility that it's awful.  But the premise that people have the right to go wherever they want, whatever institutions say, is a non-starter.  We have a world composed of nation-states and the idea that they're obligated to surrender the most essential attribute of sovereignty, which is who should be able to come in from elsewhere, is just not going to have any traction nor should it.  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:15:57 AM PST

    •  "nor should it"? (0+ / 0-)

      You are clearly correct that the principles embraced in this diary are not likely to be acted upon by the leaders of our nation states.

      But if the world ran the way you wanted it to, people would not able to move to whatever country they pleased?

      "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

      by joey c on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 11:52:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  hello.read another hannah diary. a struggle. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hannah

    But worthwhile. We'll have to wait to see how horrible Congress wants to mangle these issues. Drones should not figure in.

    clime parches on. terms: ocean rise, weather re-patterning, storm pathology, drout-famine, acceptance of nature.

    by renzo capetti on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 07:34:45 AM PST

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