Who Hijacked Our Country

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Minuteman Project

By now, we’ve all heard about the courage and dedication of this band of vigilante rednecks who have “volunteered” to patrol for illegal aliens at the Arizona/Mexico border. These “Minutemen” (as they’re calling themselves) are mostly armed — some of them are white supremacists — and are facing down those big bad “Greenbacks” (as George W. once called them) trying to sneak across the border.

I realize illegal immigration is a serious matter, and I don’t have any simple answers to the problem. And that’s just the point. It’s a complex issue involving the U.S. and many other countries (not just Mexico). And many powerful people are publicly outraged by illegal immigration while privately benefiting from all that cheap labor.

Lawmakers and the Border Patrol don’t have any easy answers; what do Jim Bob and his 14 cousins know that the government doesn’t?

Now, having a bunch of armed vigilante “volunteers” streaming down to the border is an accident, or a tragedy, just waiting to happen. And aside from that — “Courage”? Right, these desperate, poverty-stricken Mexicans sneaking over the border can be pretty terrifying, especially if there are only 200 of you and most of you are armed.

The only thing more courageous I can think of are those brave, dedicated fetus-worshippers who stand outside abortion clinics so they can harass those wicked girls from the bad side of town. Ooooohhh!! Careful, she has a purse and she’s not afraid to use it, and there are only 50 of us.

And on top of that, some of these Minuteman volunteers are accidentally setting off the Border Patrol’s sensors and causing false alarms for the Border Patrol to respond to. Duuhh!! This reminds me of that sign at some garages: Labor — $30 an hour; $40 an hour if you watch; $50 an hour if you help.


Blogger Jet said...

This sounds like a thinly veiled, patriotic tag for racism.

Not everybody is so two faced. At my job, roughly 3/4 of the employess are Mexican. We provide ESOL on site, 401K and health, assistance with gov't forms and have helped several negotiate the purchase of a home. All these helps benefit my employer, but there's no reason why working in this country can't be a win-win. We need these employees, who work tirelessly at dirty and laborious jobs. They need decent wages and the opportunity to raise their families into an improved lifestyle.

Why we romanticize our immigrant ancestors and denigrate the current ones is beyond me. I see daily how well it can work. This clearly tells me that these minutemen have no real agenda other that the wholesale harrassment and abuse of people of color. They wouldn't last one day doing the work our Mexican employees take pride in accomplishing, who look at their personal big picture and see they are reaching their goals.

We don't need racists patrolling our borders; we don't need them in any capacity whatsoever.

April 6, 2005 at 4:55 AM  
Blogger srt said...

Well said Tom! The myths that are perpetrated about illegal aliens are just a cover for racism and these guys are in the front lines. If people want a more secure border they should question why Bush removed some 1800 border agents from the budget!

April 6, 2005 at 7:32 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jet: Very good comment. This should be a win-win. They're here to work; we should pay them decent wages. And like you say, they're doing the jobs no American will touch. Where I used to live there was a poultry processing plant nearby. It was virtually all immigrants; no Minuteman would last 2 hours there.

It just seems like if these Minutemen have this much free time, why don't they do something helpful instead of just pretending they're border guards. Some of them even have T-shirts saying "I guarded the border." Whooopee.

SRT: I didn't know about the 1800 border guard positions being eliminated by Bush, but it figures. If the Powers That Be wanted illegal immigrants kept out, they'd be kept out. Too many people benefit from all these desperate people who will work for less. Agribusiness in California (and probably a lot of other places) would grind to a halt if the government actually succeeded in deporting all illegal immigrants.

April 6, 2005 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Brother Kenya said...

Actually, I think California would grind to a hault if illegal workers disappeared. The restaurant industry alone, and thus tourism in large part, would collapse.

The Minutemen are just another incarnation of the pathetic militia movement - buncha fat white guys with shitty self-esteem.

April 6, 2005 at 11:04 AM  
Blogger Mags said...

You know, I've been struggling with a term that would succinctly describe these "militiamen," and I think you nailed it: "vigilante rednecks." These guys never quite got over playing Cowboys & Indians or whatever improvised shoot-em-up game you can think of.

And I agree with Brother Kenya: Our economy - especially in California - depends largely on a big population of undocumented workers. Obviously if there were no market for this sort of laborer, maybe we wouldn't have this big of an immigration problem. But God forbid that Whitey can't get a decent table at a restaurant because the place is so understaffed they don't have anyone to bus their tables or wash their dishes; God forbid Whitey has to mow his own lawn because he has no gardener; God forbid Whitey can't get the carne asada burrito she's craving because there's no one here to make it. You know what I'm saying.

And I totally agree with Jet. As a daughter of immigrants (I was born in the US), I am seriously offended at the vilification of Mexican and Latin Americans trying to come into this country to make a better life for themselves. My parents did it. I wouldn't be born if they hadn't. This is racism, through and through. America - most people seem to forget - was built on the immigrant experience. This country was FOUNDED by immigrants. Just frustrating.

April 6, 2005 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Brother Kenya: I think you're right. California would grind to a halt without illegal workers. And I wouldn't doubt it that some of those militia people that were all over the headlines in the mid '90s are now "Minutemen." Anything to avoid growing up.

Mags: You've got it -- if they couldn't find jobs here, they wouldn't keep pouring over the border. The people who yell the loudest about illegal immigrants would be yelling the loudest if the gardener didn't show up one day, or if service was slow at their favorite restaurant because of understaffing.

And there's definitely racism involved, which is ironic. Everyone who isn't a full-blooded American Indian is descended from immigrants.

April 6, 2005 at 12:55 PM  
Blogger Craig R. Harmon said...

What Jim Bob knows, that you apparently do not, is that the more people watching the border, the fewer illegals will make it across the border.

And jet, if you don't like racists guarding our border, get your ass into the immigration department and take up your post. That way, when you are caught helping criminals to pour across our border, we can throw your ass in prison, too.

srt, every last minute-man is pissed that Bush has abandoned his responsibility to defend our borders.

thhofpa22, the influx of millions of undocumented workers depresses the market and reduces the amount of money that bona fide Americans can earn. And the minutemen are doing something useful. The last I heard they were responsible for reporting some 1,400 illegals attempting to cross our border.

Brother Kenya, I think you're wrong here...the Minutemen are the brave members of the Iraqi "resistance". That's what Micky Moore said and he wouldn't lie.

April 6, 2005 at 10:36 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Craig R. Harmon: Hmmm, I can't immediately place which tribe the name Harmon is native to. I'm gonna guess you're not a Native American and hence are descended from immigrants. Come on, it's obvious that poor Latinos risk their lives to sneak across the border because they'll probably find a job here. The only way to change this would be to bring the minimum wage way, way up so that Americans would fill all the jobs available (if the labor force could even fill all the openings). And then conservatives like you would be yelling about "Socialism" and "government meddling in the marketplace."

Our immigration "problem" is a byproduct of global market forces. Conservatives might yelp about immigrants, but if we managed to keep all illegals out of the country (without jacking the minimum wage way up), these same conservatives would be sreaming about the lousy help at all the restaurants and hotels/motels, and much higher food prices.

And as previous comments (mine and others) have stated, if these "Minutemen" have so much free time, they could do something more useful than playing Tough Guy Border Patrol. One of the links in my post stated that some of these Minutemen are bringing home T-shirts saying "I guarded the border." When you've done volunteer work, did you wear a T-shirt bragging about what you did?

April 7, 2005 at 12:47 AM  
Blogger Ken Grandlund said...

I have written two essays regarding the border


and immigration policy


so I won't go into great detail here. (Read the essays if you are innterested.) However, it should be good to note that these people, these Minutemen, are only expressing frustration at the governments inability (read incompetance) to secure our borders and promote real economic advancements in poorer countries.

To call attention to a real problem that has been ignored for so long is not something to be sneered at.

April 7, 2005 at 1:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ken: Illegal immigration is definitely a problem, and I'm sure lots of the Minutemen are well-intentioned. But in a situation like this it's just too easy for racists and xenophobes to jump on the bandwagon.

April 7, 2005 at 7:03 PM  
Blogger The Biased Reporter said...

Good point. I'm perplexed to hear the right wing condemn these immigrants as if their ancestors were native to this country. Also, I'm also perplexed as to why Bush hasn't condemned these vigilanties.

April 9, 2005 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Kristal: This puts Bush in sort of a bind. His Big Business supporters want the cheap labor provided by illegal immigrants, but his "everyday people" supporters want the border sealed. It's too bad someone in the Democratic party isn't shrewd enough to put Bush in the spotlight and make him take a stand for or against illegal immigration.

April 9, 2005 at 1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of us may remember in the 70's when the KKK used to patrol the Borders for the same reason.

What I never hear is that it takes money to fund illegal immmagration. That means everyone from the business man to the rich guy who hires maids, cooks, caddies and nannies.

IF we are truly interested in getting rid of illegal immigration - treat it like illegal drugs and put heavy jail terms on the consumer - those who can afford to buy them.


April 9, 2005 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: If the government really wanted to get rid of illegal immigration, that's what they'd do. Our "elected" officials have to make noises about "those illegal workers," but they wouldn't dare back it up because their wealthy donors are benefitting from illegal workers. The workers are caught in the middle. They come here knowing there's probably a job for them, and then everyone hates them for being here.

April 10, 2005 at 12:35 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home