enforcement through attrition: a success story

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The restrictionist strategy of enforcement through attrition claimed another hardworking taxpayer last week.  A Brooklyn woman finally gave up her fight to stay in this country.  Already past retirement age, she works long nighttime shifts caring for disabled people.  Her employers and patients have nothing but praise for her.  But the stress of long years of trying to resolve her immigration status, after a string of mistakes committed by USCIS (including at one point sending her a welcome notice signaling the start of permanent resident status, then denying the case without informing her), finally led her to abandon her quest to stay in the country.  Nativists everywhere, rejoice--the low-wage ambitions of another softspoken terrorist grandma have been thwarted!

The combination of burdensome and incomprehensible rules, unjustifiably high fees (e.g., $340 for a work permit, often baselessly or mistakenly denied by USCIS, and $585 to appeal the decision--over $1,000 for a bare-bones DIY green card application), race-based decisionmaking cloaked in administrative discretion, and extraordinarily punitive enforcement measures have created a climate of hate and fear.  This situation didn't arise organically, nor is it an inevitable consequence of natural social and economic forces, as restrictionists would have us believe.  It is the carefully planned result of years of conservative organizing and legislative action, spearheaded since 1999 by the nativist caucus in the House.   

The arbitrary, unpredictable legal framework now in place bears little relation to "rule of law" as traditionally conceived.  Migrant advocates should feel confident to think bigger.  Nibbling at the edges of this massive failure of a policy will not deflate the insatiable demands of the hard-core restrictionists.  These are the people we're talking about: 

"America is being destroyed from within by a modern version of Genghis Khan's army," the Emigration Party of Nevada, listed by the SPLC as a hate group, said. The group's leader, Don Pauly, wants to send government "sniper teams" to the border and forcibly sterilize Mexican women after a first child.

"If the Jew government waits, and hell breaks out here in the USA, our citizens will not be asking to see any documentation," added Michael Blevins, the Florida state leader of the neo-Nazi American National Socialist Workers Party. "They will go after anyone they think an illegal alien based on race first."

Ceding ground by adopting "get tough" rhetoric is the political equivalent of the off-balance fade-away jumpshot--it is inherently utilized from a position of weakness and rarely achieves its intended effect.  This approach didn't work with the War in Iraq or the GWOTG (Global War on Terrorist Grandmas) and it certainly won't work with immigration.  Migrant advocates should recognize the political realities of migrant-favorable voters and a blustering, shallow restrictionist movement and push for real reform: introducing meaningful due process guarantees in immigration proceedings, decriminalizing immigration offenses, reviewing unduly punitive immigration consequences for relatively minor crimes, collaborating with sending countries, cleaning up corruption and racism in immigration agencies, and adopting a globalist, humanizing paradigm that allows people the same rights and freedoms that capital currently enjoys. 

This approach involves multiple prongs: legislative, administrative/executive, judicial, (new) media outreach, and community organizing.  And yes, conscientious civil disobedience.  It should involve recognition by mainstream progressives that this is a modern civil rights struggle, in many ways inseparable from civil rights movements past and continuing.  Lots of people are doing essential work on many of these fronts already.  Let's tie these strands together and blow this up to change the world the way civil rights activists did in generations past.  


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3 Comments

kyledeb said:

Like the demonic equivalent of Neverland fairies, I feel like a nativist dies everytime you write one of your posts yave. Not only are the beacons of truth but they are written with imagery that burns into my mind: images of terrorist grandmas and fadaway jumpshots.

la mestiza said:

I totally agree. This will be the new civil rights movement.

kyledeb Author Profile Page said:

It's more than a civil rights movement. It's a human rights movement. It's a global movement. Thanks for stopping by, la mestiza!

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by David Bennion published on March 12, 2008 12:10 AM.

U.S. Deportations Resulting In Better Organized Gangs was the previous entry in this blog.

Why Listen To the Voters?: Pro-migrant Round-up is the next entry in this blog.

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