It seems like we've been talking about immigration since... well, almost forever, and I guess that's true. It's the nature of the beast, so to speak. We are tribal creatures and have been probably since before we climbed down from the trees. We go through some processes where we decide who belongs in our tribe and what our tribe looks like, what it eats, what kind of music we like, etc. If you don't meet our criteria, you're not welcome in our tribe. There is some leeway. If you're the right color but listen to weird music, we might let you stay. Or if you eat bizarre stuff but look like us and talk like us, you'll probably get to hang out on the fringes of our tribe. For now, that seems to be how we humans decide who we like.
I'm white, and if a Swede slipped into our neighborhood, and as long as they didn't speak, and I didn't catch them eating pickled herring, I'd never know they weren't from my tribe. If you decide to move to the Middle East, and as long as you have slightly dark skin, a beard (for men, obviously), and dressed according to the norms of the country you decided to migrate to and kept your mouth shut and didn't walk around with a can of Bud Light in your hand, you might go unnoticed. See what I mean? That's the way it has always been around the world, not just in the United States.
Back to the issue of immigration. We have our knickers in a knot at the moment over the Haitians who have gathered on our border to escape the horrors of living in Haiti. Some John-Wayne wannabe in the immigration ranks decided to mount some big hairy white guys on horses and try to terrorize the immigrants and chase them back into Mexico or wherever - I don't think they gave a shit as long as they went away. It never ceases to amaze me that these boneheads don't realize everyone, including immigrants, has smartphones and social media accounts; did they really think no one would notice them treating human beings like cattle on a drive to market?
I think there is a solution to the immigration issue right under our noses, and we do not see it. The answer is called The United States of America. There's a particular dichotomy in the name of our country; much of the time, we seem anything but united, but we have kept it working for almost a quarter of a millennium through world wars, civil wars, economic downturns, and internal strife. I, for one, think we're onto something.
Yes, it's tough at times, but I remember reading an adage attributed to the Italian culture that seems to be between a shit and a sweat much of the time. The saying went something like, "When something is too easy to attain, we don't appreciate it, but when it's a struggle and difficult, the achievement is a much greater reward."
We have migration up the ass inside the United States. We have millions of people migrating from one state to the other at will. There are no border guards, although we might wish at times that we did have given the character and conduct of some of the migrants from places like Florida or Georgia (just picking on two of the many - don't feel special). We move from state to state with ease with virtually no restrictions, and it seems to work. Wanna know why? Because we have the marvelous document called a Constitution that allows each state to act like a complete jerk at times, but we still have these overarching laws that ensure a degree of sanity across all states and borders.
What if we work with some countries to develop a kind of constitution that governs how we interact between nations. A document that still allows individual freedoms and dominion - like our state's rights - but has this overarching set of principles that will enable us to migrate freely in search of jobs, starting new businesses, etc.?
There is something that few people have probably heard about called the Organization of American States. Keep in mind that everything from the Arctic to the Antarctic in our hemisphere is considered to be the Americas, and within that are the various autonomous countries or states. I think this organization tries primarily to do what the United Nations tries to do for the world, but with 35 countries in the OAS, it's a little like herding cats.
Looking at just the U.S. immigration issue, what if we picked a country - I might start with Mexico, but maybe a smaller one would work - and we start working on a "constitution" of cooperation, or call it what you want. The idea would be to reach an agreement on a range of issues that would make us partners with them the way our internal states work together... sort of. Sure, there would be differences and pissing contests just like we have between our states today on issues like voting, a woman's right to choose, and equality for all. No agreement is ever perfect; that's why we use terms like 'continuous improvement.'
What if we could put together a cooperative constitution with, say, El Salvador, where we have free trade, free migration, a whole bag of rights, and promises as we have in our Constitution. We are treating them almost like a "partner state" or any acceptable name to both parties. If it works in terms of improved economies, the standard of living, managed migration, et al., other countries would be lining up to do the same thing.
I'm talking about one giant and complicated undertakings - it's trying to organize or maybe reorganize the OAS. Perhaps, since that entity already exists, we could start working with one country in the OAS to build the 'model' for cooperation between more countries. I know that the bullshit approach we've been taking for centuries in this country has not worked all that well. It's time to re-engineer immigration.
One last thing. For those who will start crying wolf and saying that there will be this avalanche of migrants coming to the U.S. because they are poor, I'd ask why that isn't happening here. In Washington State, we have a pretty booming economy, one of the hottest ones in the nation, and have had for some time. Let's look at Seattle first:
Now, let's look at Kentucky, land of the turtlesque Mitch McConnell, whose draconian policies screw his constituents daily. Here's Kentucky's demographics for income.
So, put a sock in the argument about all the poor people, etc. wanting to take over the U.S. That kind of talk is nothing more than a smokescreen; it's racism in sheep's clothing. Immigration is a solvable problem or at least a manageable one; it is tough to be sure, but with the vision, collective determination, and desire to make it right, we can change the picture.
Discussing life, politics, and philosophy in the language of the bar.