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One side of the story

The Dustin Inman Society was featured on NPR this week.  This grassroots group advocates securing America's borders and enforcing deportation "in such a way that creates an inhospitable climate so that illegal immigrants will leave, and employers won't hire them," said president of the group, D.A. King.  You can hear more or the interview here.

If you go to the Inman Society's website, you can read more about their views and their mission.  They are "dedicated to educating the public and our elected officials on the consequences of illegal immigration, our un-secured borders and the breakdown of the rule of law in our Republic."

The most interesting thing to me about the society is the reason that they got started.  Mr. King explains their beginnings in an interview with Business Week in 2006: "It's named after my friend's son. Dustin Inman was in the back seat of the family car in the year 2000 on Father's Day weekend, on his way to go fishing in the mountains with his dad and his mom. An illegal alien, who happened to be from Mexico, who held a valid North Carolina driver's license...ran into the back of his car stopped at a light at more than 70 miles per hour. [He] killed Dustin, put both of his parents in a coma -- neither of whom were able to go to his funeral, their only son -- and then put his mom, Kathy, in a wheelchair for the rest of her life." 


jocktamson said:

Why are people so desperate to come here? There are three main reasons: 1) the disparity between the standards of living in the two adjoining countries, 2) the failure of successive Mexican governments to address this disparity adequately (for reasons of ideology and poor application of resources (the PRI has a big responsibility here), and 3) the demand for cheap labor in the agriculture and construction sectors in this country.

How can this desperation be relieved? If people are no longer so desperate to improve their lot, they may actually prefer to stay at home. Wouldn’t you, in the same circumstances?

Fixing these problems is beyond the power of the U.S. Congress. It cannot decree an improvement in Mexican living standards, and it cannot make the Mexican government do what should have been done long ago. Until the general standard of living in Mexico improves (and it is very much in our interest to assist in this, as a respectful friend), the flow of workers to the north will continue – does it not make sense to regulate this, with some form of registration, however loose?  Temporary visas will not work, because once people are established here, they won’t go back home unless they have some guarantee that they will be able to return here later on, so they will just remain here when their temporary visas expire.

For some, the alternative is to create a kind of iron curtain, with high walls, barbed wire and armed patrols, to build deportation camps in this country for those found without papers, and to require everyone to carry ID. Is that the kind of country we want to live in? There is much talk of punishment and retribution (always a favorite solution in Texas), but we need a more constructive approach to an agonizing human problem.


# July 7, 2007 12:41 PM

JamesW said:

If the disparity between the standards of living between the US and Mexico were minimized and there was no immigration from Mexico, where would America get its cheap labor source?  Would helping Mexican improve their standard of living include helping them get health care in their own country?  Would it include helping Mexico improve their schools for their children?  This solution seems to be the same as providing those benefits here, and we wouldn't even get the cheap landscaping.  


# July 8, 2007 10:34 AM

jocktamson said:

Fair point, JamesW. My arguments so far have been based on the assumption that we need to stop or at least control immigration, rather than let the present situation continue, although it does benefit the US much more than Mexico, as you imply.

Yes, if immigration is reduced, there will be a shortage of cheap labor here, but there's no shortage of people telling us that poor Americans are lining up for these jobs (if only they paid a little better). Personally, I'm not entirely convinced of this. I suppose, as a trial, we could try encouraging our vacationing high school students to do landscaping and construction work instead of going to camp, doing sports, taking dance classes, or (hush my mouth) volunteering at the library.


# July 8, 2007 11:36 AM
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