Wednesday, June 02, 2010
soldiering on the edge
What is it with this immigration stuff?
I am beginning to think almost everyone has completely lost their senses about the issue.
Not that American politics is running over with logic these days. No matter the issue, people have positions. Interests. If you are looking for logic, you might ask to borrow Diogenes's lamp -- and a quart of oil.
For two decades, the federal government has allowed its immigration laws to lie fallow -- especially as they apply to Mexico.
Arizona's attempt to grasp the nettles in that unplowed field has caused a bit of commotion. For the moment, as Forrest Gump would say: That is all I have to say about that.
The latest bit of immigration performance art involves the military. The National Guards to be specific.
For several months, there have been rumors that President Obama was going to commit American troops in some form to assist the Mexican government's war on the drug cartels. Almost as if President Wilson was sending the Army after Pancho Villa.
Fortunately, the rumors were wrong.
But the actual plan is not much better.
1,200 National Guard troops are about to join colleagues now serving on the border with Mexico. In California, New Mexico, Texas, and -- of course -- Arizona.
The purported purpose is to help close the border to unauthorized immigration.
It is hard not see see the move for what it is. Politics. And both political parties are upping the ante -- with little possibility of any real solution in the near future.
John McCain -- in his own tough primary fight -- claims 6,000 troops are necessary.
Just wait. Someone will call the bluff and suggest sending troops across the border.
But the politics this week will suffice.
You would think a major deployment of troops to the border would be announced from the White House. Not so.
The honor of a public announcement went to Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. Her district is on the border.
That is interesting enough. But there is something more interesting about Representative Giffords. She is involved in a very tough re-election race. And the White House would like her to be re-elected. So, she brings home the military bacon.
This has been advertised as the opening gambit of negotiations on immigration reform. Republicans will not talk about a revised guest worker program until the borders are secure. The president has offered the National Guard troops as a first step.
The problem is that 1,200 troops will do little to cut off the flow of illegal immigrants. And, as long as the flow continues, there will be no reform.
It took 20 years and a century or two of history to get the United States in its current problem with immigration policy. A few troops accompanied by congressional histrionics will not solve it.
I just wish we could start talking logically with one another -- and get on with it.
Of course, logic in election years is a commodity as rare as -- well, logic in election years.