Who are the real illegals?
January 19, 2016
OPINION by JIM GRIFFIN
There’s been a massive amount of talk and blathering lately about so-called “illegal” immigrants, undocumented aliens, “anchor babies” and so on thanks to Donald Trump and the rest of the ultra right wing chorus of ignorant, hate filled harpies. What’s the truth? Who and what are really “illegal?”
The truth is that right here in California, as well as Nevada, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas, the real “illegals” are anyone who is not of Mexican heritage — Anglos like myself and most of you.
How outrageous and ridiculous, right? Wrong. The truth is that in 1846 the United States Government, deep into its “manifest destiny” crusade (the idea that the United States had some kind of God given right to expand from the Atlantic to the Pacific – – no matter who else was already there), set up a phony confrontation with Mexican forces over a small strip of disputed land.
This was whipped up, under a careful and devious plan, to be (look like — in the press) an unprovoked attack on “peaceful” American forces. So an “illegal” war was declared on Mexico — the Mexican American War.
The United States “won” and forced at gunpoint a “treaty” with Mexico that ceded the above territories in 1847. All of a sudden people who had one minute been citizens of their own country, Mexico, became “aliens” without legal status in what were now new territories of the United States. Much repression, many expulsions and land seizures, and much forced “returning to Mexico” took place against the Mexican citizens in what had been Northern Mexico.
An Imperial land grab, a theft, pure and simple. And don’t even try to say it was “OK” because the United States did it and then complain when Russia or somebody else does it today.
Think of all the natural resources in those now western states. Think what an economic and cultural blow this all was to Mexico, how destabilizing.
Think of all the historic ramifications. Add to this the many manipulative and rigged “trade” set ups that subsidized American agriculture and ruined millions of Mexican small farmers (corn farmers especially), driving them into big Mexican cities looking for non-existent jobs, and you have an idea why so many Mexicans are desperate to come over the border to find work, mostly extremely hard manual labor paying little.
They are lured here by greedy ranchers, agribusinesses and factory/industry owners who brazenly break the law to do so but are almost never prosecuted, and certainly not beaten, threatened, and thrown into holding cages like the would be workers are when caught by U.S. border agents. Then too is the fact that the application process for legal work visas into the United States is amazingly slow, cumbersome — and very expensive for these extremely poor people.
Of course, after almost 169 years it would be a massive effort to undo the institutionalized injustice of stealing half of a neighbor country. But a settlement of some decent kind should and could be made between Mexico and the United States — if the political will was there.
In the meantime, at the very least, we must arrive at a just and non repressive system of expedited work visas, including legal residency with full legal rights and workers’ rights, along with various paths to U.S. citizenship and a system of pooled social security systems for both Americans living and working in Mexico and Mexicans living and working in the United States.
Most importantly, we must end the discrimination, racism, and dehumanizing stereotypes against Latinos and Latinas — especially the label “illegal.”
So the next time the racist, ultra nationalist, big lie artists start spewing their poison about “illegals”, think about the above history and about who and what are and were really “illegal.”
Do you have legal papers for being in what should still be Northern Mexico? I don’t, and neither do you. Sobering, no?