Apr 282010
Authors: Wade McManus

Along the U.S.-Mexican border, the illegal immigration debate continues. A recent Arizona law has inflamed passions of people, and rightly so. This new law permits local and state police officers to stop individuals on the grounds of suspicion of being an illegal immigrant. This is their effort to dampen the flow.

The number of illegal immigrants crossing the Mexico border is a problem, one that affects all legal American citizens. I absolutely believe that there has to be something done to correct this problem to protect Americans from the consequences of such large and unchecked flow of immigrants.

With that said, the strategy that Arizona has adopted is not the solution, nor will it effectively deny access into America. The law passed was not a sincere effort to stop illegal immigration, but a political ploy to give the appearance that they’re doing something about the problem.

Many people from my camp disagree with, if not despise, the actions of Arizona on the grounds of racial profiling. This is not my stance. I recognize the value and effectiveness of profiling within the criminal justice system.

Racial profiling is only wrong when race is the sole distinction made by a police officer, and is not the reason I oppose this law.

The law passed by Arizona only addresses a symptom of the underlying problem and not the problem itself. Any action taken retroactively or after the immigrants have already arrived is futile.

To simply believe that we can corral illegal immigrants and send them home is foolish. First, we would need a 24-hour bus service, departing every 30 seconds, to make dent in the problem (yes, unsubstantiated, but you get my point). Second, they are likely to return just to face that same bus ride later. This is not the solution.

Those who propose building a wall the entire length of the border are even more naïve. It does not take too much thought to find the flaws in this plan.

The only true solution to the problem of excessive illegal immigration is to eliminate the desire, nay, the need to illegally cross the border.

Despite what American xenophobes believe, Mexican immigrants do not wish to leave their homes, communities and country to join the American lifestyle. They do not wish to overcome our nation and bring the Hispanic culture to dominance. They do not wish to spit in our face by speaking Spanish, “stealing” our jobs and refusing to assimilate.

These are all unfortunate realities of the dire situation in which they were dealt.

These people leave their homes and communities because they see no other viable option. They see their local economies undermined by free trade agreements, multinational corporations and a corrupt government. Many are forced to the northern Maquiladoras for work, not by gun point, but by issues of subsistence.

When they arrive to work, they are faced with dangerous and degrading jobs for little money at all. Meanwhile, they are fully aware that working for the same companies on the American side of the border provides better labor standards and a subsidence living.

Is it any wonder they would risk life and limb and discrimination for a lifestyle that will at least keep them and their families alive and well?
This is the issue we have to address. To solve our problems, we must solve theirs. This should not be out of charity but of responsibility. We Americans, and our corporations and trade agreements, are largely responsible for the problems Mexicans face, and so it is our responsibility to cooperate in realizing a solution.

Talks of fences, concentration camps and mass deportations are an insincere remedy for the problem. Realistically, it is an attempt to hide our own role in this problem that we have created for them and ourselves.

Wade McManus is a senior political science major. His column appears on Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:21 pm

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