Friday, November 18, 2016

Petition I Oppose (As It Reached Me) (But Perhaps You...)

I totally oppose this petition that came in my e-mail...because it was generated by a computer program that mashed up petitions and city names. "Protect Undocumented Immigrants in Gate City"? Well, duh...

1. In my lifetime I've known very few "immigrants"--neither "undocumented"--who found it possible to earn a living in Gate City. (Of the two men, one was from Lee County, one from Wise County. The others were women who married male landowners, and the most exotic one of them came from England.) If a socioeconomic niche exists, about forty local people are probably competing for it already.

2. There are ways I want any neighborhood in which I live to be inclusive, and ways in which I want it to be exclusive.

(a) I like biodiversity, in et per se. Most young people are always going to want to marry and have children; they can only marry members of neighboring families for so many generations before everybody in town is related to everybody else. Gate City is close enough to that point that I'm ready to go all the way back to our Cherokee ancestors' position: send the young people out as a welcoming committee to meet any newcomers, even if they meet and decide to marry people with less desirable genes; better they should marry any kind of foreigners than inbreed with relatives.

(b) I like linguistic diversity, too. Every day I walk past that parked vehicle with the sticker saying "Welcome to America, now speak English or leave." I think that idea is as dead as that vehicle appears to be. I've always been grateful that I was exposed to enough Spanish to be able to make conversation in that language, which I read; I've always envied my brother's being exposed to that much conversational French, which I also read but don't really speak. We need to stop cheating our children out of the cognitive advantage of learning to speak more than one language well.

(c) But when it comes down to which people should live here...er um...that's a question of voluntary behavior that needs to be decided on an individual basis. Mere "documentation" does not make people good neighbors, but it's a start, because it shows willingness to support the rule of law. There are also questions of how well people do at keeping quiet, respecting boundaries, looking the other way if they don't like the (deliberate yuppie-repellent) look of the neighbors' property, keeping taxes low, competing with better-funded schools, maintaining houses and farms as distinct from living in slummy little apartment blocks, and voting for...fiscal conservatives, anyway, if not always Republicans. We have plenty of native-born welfare cheats and need no more.

3. There are people in cyberspace who consider this web site right-wing, but relative to Gate City standards I'm a flaming liberal. Especially on the topic of immigration...my husband legally immigrated to the U.S. from Canada, a good long time before I met him, but I'll admit he looked more exotic than most Canadians do. When my family could afford to entertain, it's widely known that we even hosted "legal resident aliens" who weren't even trying to immigrate. Well, my family have a certain reputation for physical courage and fortitude, which let's just say some people do not share. The TV-consuming sector in my home town listen to all the blather about how "illegal aliens" commit all kinds of crimes...e.g. last winter's debacle in Germany. Y'ought've seen the signs outside the polls on Election Day. A lot of people voted for Trump because they want him to crack down on immigration.

4. Unfortunately those pusillanimous people do have a point.

(a) I am not saying that everybody fleeing from hardships in other countries is by nature a bad person. The danger with Muslim immigrants is that in some countries, if they're allowed to become significant demographic sectors even in neighborhoods within some cities, they start agitating to declare their neighborhoods "Islamic communities" and enforce sharia law. That's not what Christians want, nor what I want, but it's a far cry from the fears some TV shows have been feeding people.

(b) But what are desperately poor young people going to do if they're allowed to immigrate to a community that already doesn't have enough jobs to keep even one-tenth of our own local home-grown talent able to stay here, work, and support their children? Yes, any landowner should be able to offer food and shelter to a few short-term "refugees"--but we can't offer them the kind of future young people want, need, and deserve. Has Greisa Martinez completely forgotten how it feels to be twenty years old, already? When you're twenty years old, no sooner do you get inside a house and outside a meal than you start thinking about marriage, "career," and children...your future. Your instincts tell you that you're supposed to have a future. A life sentence to merely food and shelter, for young people, is what we-as-a-society offer by way of punishment to violent criminals. We cannot realistically invite more young, poor people to "immigrate" to Gate City. Even if they were naturally inclined to be honest and hardworking, we would--as an unintended consequence--make them a "new mafia."

So this petition, like several "personalized" e-mails I've received via Move On, struck me as...hysterically clueless. This is so not relevant to me or my town.

I do not, of course, support "harassment" of immigrants. (Gate City's population respect the rule of law, and don't overtly "harass" immigrants. We just never pay anyone well, or make it possible for a business to pay anyone well, even if it's a local person.) I do support accurately informing immigrants...The evolution of an isolated population lacking immunity to several common diseases led to mass deaths from plagues in the seventeenth century. The result of those plagues was a "New World of Opportunity" for the surplus population of Europe and, to a lesser extent, Africa and Asia, in the nineteenth century.

Then in the twentieth century people--mostly English-speaking, and largely American, people--discovered so many wonderful ways to allow more humans to enjoy longer lives that the global human population has exploded. Even North America has slowly filled up, and no longer offers endless opportunities to anyone who wants to come here. In the small towns there is no honest economic opportunity for immigrants; in the cities there's not much more. We can still offer temporary "refugees" food and shelter, but unless people take steps to bring the birth rate into line with the modern world--or unless another plague creates more mass deaths--it's no longer possible for any nation on Earth to welcome "immigrants" the way my ancestors welcomed  "immigrants" during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

I think the whole idea of "documenting" and deporting immigrants, en masse, should be better understood as an economic indicator. North America can no longer offer immigrants anything better than any other part of the world can offer them. We can and should offer "safety" from violence, but not from deportations of any would-be immigrants who don't meet criteria for legal immigration that will inevitably rise higher every year.

If you are an illegal "immigrant" in the United States, I recommend, in pure good will, that you go home now. If going home really is suicide, there are still a few people who can afford to sponsor or adopt you. (I wish I were one of them; I'm not. And if I were to become able to sponsor an illegal "immigrant," the position has been filled.) There aren't as many as there once were. There will be fewer every year. If the embassy of your home country can't get you in, legally...there are other countries to which legal immigration is easier. They tend to be the countries with less human-friendly climates, but people do live there. So should you. Modern technology is making it much easier to live and work in arctic or tropical countries than it used to be. Just commit to producing one child or none in your lifetime, and you'll probably be fine.

If you are a U.S. citizen, is the idea of "sanctuary cities" relevant to you and your city? You decide. I'm in no position to dictate whether cities like San Francisco can afford to shelter, perhaps sponsor, masses of undocumented "immigrants." That's entirely up to the residents of those cities.

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Tell U.S. Mayors: Protect Undocumented Immigrants - Declare Your City a Sanctuary of Safety! #HereToStay

To be delivered to U.S. Mayors
Trump has said he will deport millions, and anti-immigrant harassment is already out of control. It is time to declare America’s cities as sanctuaries of safety and not allow local police to do the work of immigration agents. If your city is not already, declare it a sanctuary city. And if it is, commit to do everything in your power to maintain your sanctuary status and protect your undocumented residents from a Trump administration.
There are currently 81,862 signatures. NEW goal - We need 100,000 signatures!

PETITION BACKGROUND

Mayors across the country must stand with their undocumented immigrant residents in this moment of crisis.

Undocumented Immigrants like me are under attack: Donald Trump has already said that in the first 100 days of office he would cancel DACA, a program that provides undocumented youth with work permits and protection from deportation, and begin deporting 2 million undocumented immigrants. But we can change this if we pressure mayors to declare their cities as sanctuaries of safety.

In a sanctuary city, officials implement policies to restrict local police from turning immigrants over to federal immigration agents and declare in no uncertain terms that immigrants are welcome. Without them, undocumented immigrants like me and my family are left vulnerable to racial profiling, detention and deportation.

We salute the mayors of cities like Seattle, San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland who have been quick to stand with their undocumented residents. 
  • Welcome the immigrants as our grandparents and parents were welcomed immigrants.
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