Tuesday, February 21, 2017

¡Fuera de acá!

I hate to even admit this.


I'm not TOTALLY hating on the totally-expected roundup-the-wetbacks directive from the new Administration.

Yeah, yeah, I'm a Trumpkin. I want to Make America Great Again. Ugh. I know.

Bear with me for a moment, though.

Now. Don't get me wrong. This thing will suck for millions of people whose crime is trying to get a piece of the American Dream for themselves and their families. I hate that on a purely personal, I-don't-like-to-make-things-suck-for-innocent-people level. As a person, I hate it.

As a citizen, as someone who thinks about politics and governing...well, let's start with this; to be a stateless person, a non-citizen, in a foreign nation is not a good thing.

It's not good for the person, who has no civil rights, who is outside the protection of the civil law, and who is, therefore, hideously vulnerable to all sorts of malefactors.

And it's not good for the nation, that has this indigestible mass of non-citizens within it prey to crime and violence, exploited by employers and living in fear of taking part in the civil life of the community.

So. The bottom line really is; if you are a citizen of Mexico, or Ireland, or Bali...you belong in Mexico, Ireland, or Bali unless you are a legal resident or visitor of where-ever-it-is-you-are; in this case, the United States.

(In case you're interested, I wrote a loooooong post over at my other joint three years ago where I discussed what I see as the vast, almost insoluble complexity of this problem, which concluded with the following:
"The real issue - the one Which Dare Not Speak Its Name - is that the institutional poverty, misgovernance, and social maladjustment of most Latin American countries is so profound and so destructive that to address it would take every penny that the U.S. has spent on poorly planned foreign adventures and more. Much more.

So instead we get this idiotic argument that all we need to do is fence these little heatherns out and everything will be Good. God will once again be White and in His Heaven, the food will magically get harvested, processed, cooked and served by "Real Amurikans" (that is, legal citizens) who will suddenly, magically, want to work for the pittance we want to pay for these jobs to prevent our food, clothing and service costs from reflecting what it would cost to pay humans actually living wages to do these things."
But this post isn't about those things; it's about the Trump-promising-to-deport-the-beaners-and-going-ahead-and-doing-it.)

As opposed to the ban-the-raghead rule, which really was poorly thought out and complete geopolitical foolery, the idea that the United States should police its borders and return those who have entered the country illegally to their homelands is not, on its face, as freakishly boneheaded as most Trump stuff.


(...and you KNEW there'd be a but, here, right, because, well...Trump.)

Here's the problems I DO have with this.

First, I can see a gajillion ways that this is going to be a fucking total shitshow. American citizens will be grabbed up and deported by mistake. Sweeps will result in a seething mob of people shoved into FEMA trailers without any sort of organization or preparation. Screening will be a disaster. The optics - "jackbooted ICE agents handcuff adorable tiny Latino kiddies" - will make the Land of the Free look like the Land of the Assholes. People will get stranded in Mexico City airport with nowhere to go and no hope of relief.

I can see about a dozen ways this will be a smoking crater - it's Trump, for one thing, who seems to have a gift for employing people who couldn't run a child's birthday party - that will make the Iraq War look like VE Day.

Second, I can also see how this could turn into something far nastier and far worse, along the lines of the Japanese internment of 1942. There's always been a hell of a strong strain of race hate and xenophobia in America (as there is in about...well, pretty much everywhere humans live...) that could take this from a calmly conducted law enforcement process into a screaming ratissage against every person or group of people that every whacko wingnut hates and freaks out over (Hello? Alex Jones? Hello?).

And, finally, I think that, even if this isn't a dumpster fire, that the results will be at best underwhelming. The promised Day of Alien-Free Jubilee will turn out to be a quiet monotone of unpicked crops, uncleaned hotel rooms, unwiped asses, and uncooked meals.

The result of all this huge slug of spending - surely paid for by a tax hike, right? - will be, outside of personal hardship for those involved, a vast expanse of...very little.

What do you think?


  1. So Jim may be right that you are a Trumpette?

    1. On this issue...let's just call me "Trump-curious".


      This has always been a tough discussion for me. In principle I agree that the U.S., like any nation, should be populated predominantly by citizens. Having a relatively large non-citizen minority isn't good, either for the citizens, the non-citizens, or the country as a whole.

      That said...I think that

      1) the idea of spending a huge amount of time and money pursuing non-criminal, long-term non-citizens is likely to be a ridiculous waste of both. Far better to figure out a way to integrate those people into the public life of the nation, through a path to citizenship. And

      2) that the process of pursuing these people is likely to produce some very undesirable side-effects. It will require a fairly far-reaching and intrusive (and, worse, intrusive only to some people in our society; I don't really suspect that as a gray-haired Caucasian that an ICE agent is gonna stop me in Fred Meyer's parking lot to ask "Papieren, bitte!" but the hispanic-looking guy parked next to me..? That's the definition of "unequal justice"...) in a society that has already militarized and expended its "Law enforcement" establishment to a ridiculous degree.

      AND, as I mentioned above...I think that the end result, for all the human misery, cost, and social disruption, will be a huge nothingburger...other than finding out in small, unpleasant ways just how many things that we take for granted our economy depends on forcing non-citizens to do low-wage tasks we don't want to pay living wages for...

    2. "...militarized and expAnded its "Law enforcement" establishment to a ridiculous degree."

      Makes a difference, that "a"...

  2. Canada is already seeing an influx of refugees from the USA. Crossing a field in mid-February in North Dakota can be perilous if you are not equipped. We had one fellow cross the border who subsequently lost his fingers. He claims that it is better to be in Canada without fingers than to be in danger in the USA.

    Needless to say, there is an active debate here on how to deal with the situation. Small towns in Manitoba or Quebec don't really have the resources to deal with a sudden flux of refugees.

  3. And when I say "nastier and far worse" this (http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/alabama-considers-prison-labor-replac) is the kind of thing I'm talking about. Let's rent inmate chain-gangs to farmers who have lost immigrant stoop-labor! What could go wrong?!

  4. I should add that:

    1) My guess is that this will quietly peter out when Big Ag starts silently screaming in the Trumpkins' ears. Until then it will cause a great deal of misery, though.

    2) Another reason I hate this personally is that it's not really being done for the reasons I listed as "good reasons not to have a significant number of non-citizens semipermanently residing in your country" but for stupid, mean, racist "I HAAAAAATE having to press one for English!!!!" reasons.

    It's one thing to do an assholish thing for good reasons. To do it just to be an asshole? That's...well, being an asshole.

    1. Hmmm.

      Actually, I thought that he floundered around a lot in that one. His insights into Brooks are spot-on; the little bastard would sooner die a thousand flaming deaths than admit "Yep, Bush and Cheney fucked that poodle and there I was handing them the lube; I was stupid and wrong and will now go and shut the fuck up."

      But I think he's pretty far off when he tries to rope in Trump as the far side of the "Washington Rules" crowd. He does the same thing a lot of other columnists do, which is try to attribute some sort of consistent ideological position to Trump when, in fact, the grifter is just doing what grifters do; he's sliming and sliding and blowing out clouds of word-ink to confuse the marks and continue the grift.

      Trump will happily - as he was asked today by his head of CENTCOM - throw GIs at Syria and Iraq. He will gleefully bomb the shit out of places where scary brown people live. The "embarrassments of Iraq" are meaningless to him. He has the instincts of a good con man; he knows what his marks want to hear, and that's "kick their ass and take their gas". He is absolutely unintimidated by the disasters of the Bush Wars; he's the Smartest Guy In The Room and he's all about winning, so HIS wars will be won.

      I am a big Bachevich fan, but I think here he falls into the trap that it's easy to fall into with the Tangerine Toddler; he attributes actual thinking to the little bastard, when he's no more actually thinking about Middle East policy than he thinks about where the next pussy is coming from. It appears, he grabs it...that's it. Just happens.


    2. I believe that you are badly misunderstimating Trump and his band. I agree that he is not bound by traditional public mores and I also agree that he is a shameless self promoter, but that does not equate to stupidity.

  5. His statements on various issues suggest that Trump is either remarkably dim or so ignorant as to be functionally indistinguishable from exceptional stupidity.

    Now...that said, being stupid does not preclude having certain skills. Trump IS a gifted conman and grifter. That requires a level of "shrewdity", the one-dimensional form of intelligence focused on short term acquisition. Many criminals, quite ignorant in all other respects, possess this sort of intelligence.

    But his public record demonstrates clearly that Trump lacks any semblance of the sort of ability to develop and hold onto the ideological position Bachevich attributes to him.