This is an old blog posting but in solidarity with the writers’ strike, I’m posting a rerun. And I’ve just been too busy / lazy to think of something new, besides, it’s so relevant given the igorance my countrymen have displayed about this issue. It’s embarrassing. Stop it. Read.
What should be done? Legions of illegal immigrants cross the border between the United States and Mexico. Once in their new land, they form their own communities, build their own churches and insist on the right to speak their own language.
What if? In a decade or two, these illegal aliens create their own government, establish their own army and start a war against the nation whose laws they’ve broken.
“They should be crushed and deported back to their own country!”
Isn’t that what you’d say? Most Americans would say that, or something harsher, based on the hysteria shown in recent weeks about immigration.
But I’m not talking about the year 2006. Let’s go back to 1830 when Texas (Tejas) was part of Mexico. Moses Austin and his son, Stephen, began helping families migrate from the United States into the Mexican region of Tejas. Much of this immigration was legal, but as time wore on, many more illegal immigrants entered Tejas from the United States than entered legally. As the illegal Americans in Tejas grew in number, they became dissatisfied with the government of Mexico. (who wouldn’t?) Eventually the American-Mexicans rebelled against the national government in Mexico City and after a series of battles were victorious.
For 9 years, Tejas, now Texas, was its own country, known as the Republic of Texas. In 1845, however, Texas became the 28th state, a slave state in the good old USA. Mexico, naturally, didn’t like this annexation, and a year later we fought the Mexican-American War. Not only did the USA win this war, we took the land that would become the states of Arizona, New Mexico and the “Big Enchilada,” California.
THE POINT IS: None of this was “legal.” Congressman Abraham Lincoln was instrumental in passing a bill in the House of Representatives calling the Mexican-American War “a war unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States.” (sound familiar?) General Grant, who fought in the war and later became President called the conflict an evil war that brought God’s punishment in the form of the American Civil War. “The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times.”
Many right-leaning Americans condemned President Bush’s plan to legalize workers already here, calling it “amnesty” for lawbreakers. But much of the western United States is “illegal” and technically Americans who live there are there illegally because it rightfully belongs to Mexico, under any standard of international law. So-called “illegal” immigration from Mexico into the United States is the rightful justification of artificial and historically inaccurate boundaries.
Does the mere passage of time right a past wrong? Any fundamentalist would certainly say “NO!” Ralph Waldo Emerson rejected war “as a means of achieving America’s destiny,” but he accepted that “most of the great results of history are brought about by discreditable means.”
The problem is that the knee-jerk, closed-minded right-wingers are being typically inconsistent. If you claim that the 160 years since we illegally waged the Mexican-American War and stole the West have made up for any misdeeds on our part, then to be consistent, at some point you must – absolutely must – admit that Mexican citizens who’ve entered this country without going through the bureaucratic nightmare of immigration processing deserve some form of legitimacy. Please, right wingers, don’t take 160 years to give them what they rightfully deserve.