Friday, July 27, 2007

"She Had It Comin"

Last week, the trolls over at the TucsonCitizen message board were feeling particularly fiesty; especially with respect to the human rights crisis that exists along la frontera. Regarding a Guatemalteca woman's body being recovered from the blistering, arid desert, one such troll spat forth:
She had it comin'. Not only for violating out soverignty but for irresponsibly endangering the life of a 10-year-old child she deserved to die. Good riddance.
Comments such as these play well to a populace that lives their lives in search of a target on the lower rungs of society. It is a fear and loathing that is nothing new for the United States.

This particular strain is nasty, though, because instead of the scary hordes of invaders being Catholic Irish, German, etc etc etc that at least had the decency to cross an ocean to get here, these modern day economic refugees are lazily trotting across 120 degree waterless wastelands. It makes them more dangerous (supposedly) because they are violating the Good Neighbor Rule.

Imagine the outrage if I were to suggest that these people had it coming too
Worse yet was the knowledge that at any moment disaster could strike in the form of fire, shipwreck or epidemic. On a wooden ship, lighted candles and open cooking fires were a constant hazard. It was not unusual for more than 100 people to die of shipboard fires in a single year. Shipwrecks, too, took their toll. In the terrible winter of 1853-54, 200 German immigrants drowned when their ship was driven onto the New Jersey shore, and 480 emigrants and their ship out of Glasgow disappeared altogether.

or, perhaps, that these victims of human trafficking networks had/have zero sympathy from me, a law abiding citizen?
Another large but unknown number arrived in Liverpool with their tickets or their fares only and were completely unprepared for even slight setbacks. The routine delays in sailing dates were especially dangerous for these and accounted for the thousands caught in the gauntlet of official and criminal coercion from which few emerged unscathed and many totally penniless. Many were also vulnerable to the devious practices of the freelance banditti who infested the lower levels of the emigrant trade, being as unused to complicated transactions as they were to schedules or lodging houses. These easily fell afoul of money changers, offering to "dollar" their English coin into American currency of less or no value, or of lodging-house keepers who might keep a family "on the cuff" for food and shelter and strip them bare when payment came due, by force if threats failed.

Coyotes of the past - and they say prostitution is the oldest profession...

So what can be done in this modern day age of digital databases and unmanned drones patrolling our borders to avoid the exploitation of new arrivals? Well, for starters, let's ditch any idiotic ideas to launch telephone hotlines
Since it began Friday, the hotline has received about 300 messages, which include tips about family and friends, employment, day laborers, drop houses and crank calls. Officials are analyzing the tips, Arpaio said, and officials have not acted on any of the calls.

"There's nothing unconstitutional about putting up a hotline," Arpaio said, pointing out that U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have similar hotlines.

Sheriff Joe "My Pink Boxers are Secksy" Arpaio is correct that it's constitutional - but does it foster true justice? Racial profiling is rampant in this country, just look at prison statistics or the latest rundown of ethnicities of workers rounded up by ICE. These hardliners like to pretend that "things are different now" and not comparable to prior waves of immigration. True to form, however, they inadvertently fall into the same role as inquisitors past.

The 1882 exclusion act also placed new requirements on Chinese who had already entered the country. If they left the United States, they had to obtain certifications to re-enter. Congress, moreover, refused State and Federal courts the right to grant citizenship to Chinese resident aliens, although these courts could still deport them.

When the exclusion act expired in 1892, Congress extended it for 10 years in the form of the Geary Act. This extension, made permanent in 1902, added restrictions by requiring each Chinese resident to register and obtain a certificate of residence. Without a certificate, she or he faced deportation.

"She had it comin'" - the sentiment echoed through the ages that have been aimed at the ears of every group of Other imaginable. It was inhumane then, and it remains so today.

Stop the hate

Crossposted at Booman Tribune

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