Is it Time to Deport the State of Arizona from The United States?

      One of the other blogs I participate on is a local one in our local county.  There is lots of local politics on the blog, of little interest outside of our little county in California.  Except that our Congressman, Tom McClintock, is a national figure.  He is the guy who stood up in on the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington to complain when President Felipe Calderon of Mexico told the US that they had a lot of really stupid immigration laws which do not do a lot to regulate immigraton one way or the other.  This was not necessarily politic of Calderon even if it was the truth, but so goes it.   replied in kind, plus some, by advising Calderon to get in line in order to get a US green card, presumably by waiting umpteen years at the US Embassy in Mexico City where such things are sometimes issued.

      I didn’t like McClintock’s speech on the House floor because it was cheap demagoguery (and yes I am one of the hundreds of thousands who watched it). Immigration reform is a major problem in the United states, in large part created by the United States fascination with cheap labor, and the inability of the United States to come up with an administratively simple guest worker visa for the last fifty years or so. Oh, and then there is lack of US American interest in deporting the people who mow our lawns, staff our restaurants and sweat shops, and re-roof my house.  For that matter many illegal immigrants make donations via fake social security numbers which they will never collect, so their money goes straight to today’s retirees.  Yeah, this is obviously a real simple problem which can be addressed by Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law gone national, as guys like my Congressman seem to believe.  But then since McClintock seems to like demagogic ranting better then the hard slog of solving real difficult problems like immigration, let me make a suggestion.

       Let’s deport Arizona.  Yep, we can cut them loose, and be done with a whole bunch of problems.  After all, Arizona wanted to go in the past—they seceded in 1861 and joined the Confederacy in order to preserve slavery, even though they didn’t have any slaves.  Then when the rest of the states finally let them in the Union in 1912, they said no thanks, because we want to wait to join on the date on which they seceded to join the Confederacy and fought to keep the slaves they never owned (this is a true story—look it up in Wikipedia).  And then what did Arizona do once they were graciously admitted to the Union, despite the bad manners?  They stole a whole bunch of Colorado River water after California appropriated it from Mexico fair and square. In the 1990s they were the last state to make Martin Luther King’s birthday a holiday, which kind of goes with their old fascination with the Confederacy thing.   Now in 2010 they pass an immigration law which is obviously unconstitutional under the equal protection, and search and seizure provisions of the US Constitution.  What can I say?  Typical Arizona.

       That’s Arizona for you.  Is it any surprise that we continue to get really stupid legislation from them like their immigration bill, or the bill banning school teachers with accents like California’s Governor, Arnold Schwarzenneger?  I say, let’s enforce the United States’ laws, and send Arizona back to where it came from.  Which I think is Mexico, by the way.  Do you think President Calderon might take Arizona back?  Maybe he can take time out of the decades long wait at the US Embassy for his US visa to consider this proposition.  It’s a win-win.  We get rid of Arizona, and Calderon doesn’t have to wait in line any longer for a visa to visit Tucson.  

      So now Congressman McClintock and I are even.  We have both had our demagogic rant.  Are we any closer to dealing with the problem of immigration and labor in the United States?

7 thoughts on “Is it Time to Deport the State of Arizona from The United States?

  1. Have you been to Arizona? There are very complex political economic processes happening there. Let’s be fair and informed. Do you live in a border state?

  2. Yes, I live in California, and my brother lives in…Arizona right now. So did my grandparents for thirty years. For that matter, my great grandparents lived there briefly in the 1940s before being swindled over a really silly gold mine deal.

    I think that we are agreed that there are complex issues involved with immigration reform. My main beef is with the simplification of immigration reform by the people who proposed the Arizona laws in the first place, and who apparently believe such laws will address problems resulting from 50 years of sloppy immigration and labor law. Much of this simplification come from guys like my Congressman, Tom McClintock. My point in writing this rant is that those of us with another opinion about immigration can come up with equally absurd solutions to immigration issues–thus the idea to send Arizona back to Mexico.

    Now, as a Californian, I do have a real beef with Arizona over the water they took from the Colorado River to water saguaro cactus in Phoenix…

  3. California is a strange state to many Texans, for very concrete reasons. For example, you can go to San Diego, be close enough to the border to see it, and be standing in a majority “white” neighborhood. How is that possible? It’s such a segregated state. A bunch of walls also went up in California to stop the flow of illegals to border cities, and funneled them into the Arizona desert. This created a real political economic issue for the state, which was ignored by people who were largely insulated from the problem, through restrictive zoning.
    So an obviously cultural materialist issue became an ideational one. Arizonan’s became defacto racist scum. If we look at the history of the issue, we can see that this isn’t an ideational issue. Multi-generational Mexican Americans in Arizona support the legislation for the most part, which does nothing more than make an illegal act illegal in the state.
    Being a student of persuasive cultural discourse I see protests in this situation in the same light as I saw the protests against health care reform. In both cases the interests of a minority group are being transferred to a wider audience with the use of symbols and emotionally loaded language.

    I think that’s what bothers me, the dishonesty of the debate. I really hate it when people do this. I wish people would just be honest and let people make an informed decision. I have yet to hear anyone, not a single person, publicly admit what they mean when they say “holistic immigration reform.” They say our policy is broken, but hundreds of thousands of people come in legally; more than all most of the nations of the world combined. I’ve been through the process and it’s not complicated.

    Basically, advocates are arguing for an open border policy, but they are only doing so for a specific group of people. There can be strong arguments made for an open border system, but they aren’t doing that. It’s dishonest.

  4. Rick:
    Good points. I am not for an open-border policy, but would be in favor of a couple of measures which would make other uncomfortable. Any holistic reform needs to include creation of a transparent guest worker program which also recognizes that some will stay for legitimate reasons, development of a national identity card system, enforcement of employer laws, and establishment of offices which are readily accessible to all throughout the country. For an example, see Germany and the EU where there are effective systems of registration and i.d. cards for everyone. This is all has a lot of start-up costs, but in the long run works well, and permits better enforcement of fair employment laws.
    Then there is of course the problem of those already here. Some form of cheap legalization (i.e. amnesty) is needed. The problem created now is something like prohibition. Sometimes a law is unwieldly and unenforceable, and you have to start over with a new tack.

    I know that the left and libertarian right won’t like the idea of national registration. And much of the right wing will hate it.

    So it is back to you!

  5. “creation of a transparent guest worker program”

    I’m exhausted, so I’ll make it short. This already exists. It’s actually pretty easy for an employer to declare that they have had a job open for a certain period of time and haven’t filled it. People that sign up and get a temporary work VISA. I’ve worked on cotton farms with migrant laborers from Mexico and lived with them in work trailers. If someone left or got injured, there was literally someone on a bus coming to fill in for him the next day. Outside of the military which was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, this work was pretty evil. Everything was up to code though, we were paid minimum wage, and if we got hurt they took us to the hospital with workers comp., we got FICA out of our checks, etc… This is an issue of exploitation as much as anything.
    There have also already been many amnesty programs, and they have done nothing to alleviate the issue.
    The issue is that there has been zero enforcement of laws past the 50 mile check points. There were over 1,300,000 new citizens last year, and more had permanent or temporary VISAs. That more people than all the other wealthy nations on earth combined.

  6. Hey Tony,

    I have been meaning to comment on this one for a while…sorry for lagging. This whole discussion is really important, and it’s getting heated on all sides. Did you hear about the list of 1300 people that was published in Utah? Look into that story–that is exactly the kind of thing that we dont’ want to see, IMO.

    The problem is that people in AZ and elsewhere have to find a way to start separating the different issues that they are dealing with. Yes, illegal immigration is one issue, and it certainly comes with a lot of complications and problems. And THEN the whole narcotraficante thing is another issue. All too often people conflate the two, and want to deal with ALL immigration as if everyone who is crossing the border is armed with an AR-15.

    So there is the issue with labor migration, and there is the issue with drug runners (and Americans have to start realizing that this particular problem is not just some import from Columbia and Mexico…a large part of the problem here as well).

    Anyway, I’m glad you’re writing about this. I’d like to see more and more coming from various anthropology folks, since I definitely think this is a place where we can add something to the public discussion.

  7. Tony, I gotta apologize for the fact that I just now looked at the second link you posted, and watched the CSPAN video of Mclintoch. I think he’s being incredibly over zealous and very a-historical in his approach to assimilation. He’s basically ignoring the very well understood rule of 3 generations in assimilation. He’s assuming wrongly that people come to the US mainly for reasons other than economic, and forcing them to give up all ties to their previous lives in cruel.
    I personally know how hard this transition can be. I grew up on the Texas border in a bilingual home, and with family on both sides of the border. I’m now at the upper age limit of having kids with my wife, and she’s really pushing the issue, so we’ll probably be having kids soon. I think it’s kids that really create conflict in people. I know for me the idea of having kids creates an anxiety of what their identity will be. My wife is Japanese, so I don’t want my kids to be disconnected from the 3 cultures of their family. I want to make sure they speak English, Spanish and Japanese, which I only one one couple that’s been able to pull off.
    My sister’s having a hell of a time getting her kids to learn Spanish in Houston. I know that I’ll have to move to where ever I can get a more stable career, which is probably not going to be on the Texas border, or Japan.

    BTW, I originally had to move from the border, because the cheap labor market drives down wages, and it’s really hard to get a decent, non-government job. That goes back to my original point of how this debate is ultimately economic in nature, but I can see how identity politics has hijacked it.

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