Immigration and that god-damn border fence

He had the uneasy manner of a man who is not among his own kind, and who has not seen enough of the world to feel that all people are in some sense his own kind.
~Willa Cather

It’s unusual to see an issue that members of both the Sierra Club and the NRA can get behind. Remember CAPS? Too bad they aren’t the only ones. All I can really say is “wtf?” The language used makes it seem like people are just randomly popping into existence the moment they cross the US border. It’s like people don’t exist (ecologically or otherwise) unless they live in America or something. Out of sight, out of mind.

Shall I count the privilege? One, the world does not begin and end at the US border. Two, these are people we’re talking about. Human beings. People with needs, people who hurt and hunger and hope. Three, environmental activism is a luxury that some people cannot afford. Four, who the hell are we to deny someone else the luxury of the American lifestyle? “Oh, it’s ecologically damaging so we don’t want you to live like this even though we do!” Hypocritical. So in addition to the misanthropy naturally rampant in environmentalism, we also have people blatantly, loudly, and ignorantly displaying their (white, affluent, and/or educated) privilege. Nothing new, but worth mentioning nevertheless.

Okay, so people are moving from one arbitrarily-defined patch of dirt to another. Naturally, if they move from one aforementioned patch of dirt where the carbon footprint is low (due mostly to poverty, we can assume) to one where the carbon footprint is high (due to affluence), the carbon footprint of our hypothetical dirt-patch mover is going to rise. That’s not an issue with the movers, that’s an issue with the arbitrarily-defined patch of dirt and the people who set such resource-hogging systems into place (again with the tendency toward white, affluent, and/or educated). That’s called “scapegoating.”

America is not a self-sufficient nation. We are not our own little bubble. We rely on the other nations in the world just as we are all forced to share the same air and the same water and the same damn nutrients. Their problem, as we are discovering, is our problem. The immigration from South and Latin America will not stop until the factors that are causing the immigration cease. The US cannot sit by and twiddle its thumbs and bitch about “wetbacks” or whatever other derogatory term they use for people from Not-America. That will not stop immigration. In fact, not one solution will stop immigration. If the US was serious (or remotely intelligent) we would be concentrating on trying to build up the countries in question rather than funding fences and (gas-guzzling!) trucks with which to futilely attempt to contain and control an arbitrary line in the dirt of my home state.

Yes, some of them are smuggling drugs and weapons and what not. Yes, some of them are on welfare. The majority of them, however, are not. Quit making a mountain out of a molehill. And trust me, they are not taking jobs away from ‘Mericans. If that were true, the unemployment rate in Texas would be much higher than it is. (Shall we mention that whites (typically the ones using this argument) still have first-choice in job opportunities?) We don’t have an unwashed horde of not-white not-‘Mericans invading our country. We have a bunch of disadvantaged people looking for jobs and opportunities. If the US did not offer these things, or if they were available in their own countries, these people would not be coming here. They do not leave their families and homes to come to another country and risk deportation and possible death for shits and giggles.

People aren’t animals. It is simply wrong to treat and consider human beings as populations to be managed. If I, a wildlife biologist, who spent five years studying how and why to manage populations of organisms, can make this distinction, then why can’t the rest of the environmentalists?

Furthermore. You, fence. Yes, you. And you, too. I spent an hour and a half long class period listening to an ocelot biologist bitching about you. Not only are you likely ineffective, but you block wildlife corridors, create edge effects, and fracture and disrupt habitat, all in some of the most diverse and critical habitat in Texas. In short, you suck, fence. And I’m pretty sure the people driving those patrol cars aren’t watching for wildlife crossing the road in front of them, so add direct wildlife deaths to that list.

Comprehensive immigration reform does not mean more fences and more patrol cars (again, I draw your attention to the irony of environmentalists being in favor of immigration control that further enlarges the country’s carbon footprint). Comprehensive immigration reform should be finding out what the hell the problem is and trying to figure out how to fix it. Easy? Fuck no. But it would work a hell of a lot better than putting an ineffective, misanthropic, and privileged band-aid on it.

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One Response to “Immigration and that god-damn border fence”

  1. Humane argument….and I agree

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