Every Action Causes a Reactionby Karl W Hoffman on Aug. 31, 2010, under Border Issues
How we as a society progressed though the governmental/humanitarian/mafia/hate group maze of the border debacle with only the sensationalism of a hungry media and few manipulative groups is a horrendous injustice, not only to the American and the Mexican people, but global cultures inspired by the dreams of a democracy that we as a nation have portrayed to the world.
ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton announced a new and more lenient policy. The agency will soon drop deportation proceedings against those now eligible under the new guidelines affecting thousands of illegal immigrants who have no criminal conviction and who married or are related to a U.S. citizen or a legal resident that has filed a petition for them. The head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has instructed the agency’s legal office to stop the deportation proceedings of foreign nationals who may now be eligible for a green card.
How did we get here? The United States Government is really quite predictable. Driven by the voters and politicians it does take its time, (a long time) and policies and laws usually lean toward civil rights and humanitarian solutions. But some times when the actions of the people become so entrenched in their own quagmire, decisions must be made and actions taken.
In seeking solutions, maybe we can analyze how we got to this point and where it will inevitably end up. This would save a lot of energy and wasted time, and by working together, we could equitably, legally and humanitarianly, solve the border an immigration problems. Just a thought.
After 9-11 this country changed. Once the shock of the world trade center attacks transformed into anger and paranoia the demand for action became our governments answer to reelection. Then the witch-hunt would begin. Airport Security and black lists, Cell phone tracking devices, new personal identity requirements, the lists of liberties and freedoms being compromised grew longer and harsher as the constitution eroded way in the name of freedom.
It was only a matter of time before the newly formed Home Land Security would be getting around to immigration and the need for reform. Actually this in itself was about due, except from the start, goals and results became clouded and a situation developed by tightening of border security as a reaction not a plan, becoming a runway train involving millions of families and two countries. A playground developed for politicians, government contracts, human rights organizations, hate groups and organized crime putting innocent people in danger and disrupting an entire ethic culture affixed to the economic balance, within the United States and in Mexico while creating such severe collateral damage the effects will be felt throughout this century.
After the defeat of the immigration reform bill a plan did emerge. Knowing that there was very little time, the Bush Administration sent the immigration debacle in an interesting direction. Carefully crafting border security policy and selecting wall locations, technology and manpower, the bulk of illegal immigration and drug smuggling was funneled through Arizona. The plan was not intended to use the harsh terrain of the Northern Sonoran desert as a deterrent or a barrier, as some groups are claiming. I don’t believe that even the most perverse of politicians wanted to see a rise of migrant deaths in the desert. That is just not good for the business of politics. So why Arizona?
Of the four US states that border Mexico the demographics of Arizona are very different. California, New Mexico and Texas all have a long intertwining history of multicultural existence. Arizona’s border area is made up primarily of retirement communities with a large population of conservative Midwesterners and long established ranching communities, all with a strong Republican presence.
As border security tightened more seasonal migrant workers who were used to going back and forth to work where unable to return to their families so of course the families began to migrate north. Along with this funneling strategy crime along the Arizona border also escalated. As Midwesterners started to experience a sudden growth in local Hispanic communities that was quite obvious in small rural towns, concerns began to escalate. Wintering in Arizona they would bring home with them reports of increased border crime and the drug wars in Mexico sensationalized by the media and further fueled by activist campaigning for open borders and demonstrations for the rights of illegal immigrants. Uneducated to the real issues and only seeing that a line in the sand was being drawn, mainstream conservative America became terrified. This opened the doors for anti immigration groups and stepped up the pace of border and immigration rights activists and now we have a real mess.
After almost 6 years of covering both sides of the border, it breaks my heart to see these sides formed with such anger, desperation and name calling from both sides. One group by their own actions forces their agenda on another group causing reactions and new agendas in retaliation for perceived survival. We are all familiar with SB1070 and the boycott so let it be said that it certainly doesn’t help matters to have irrational political opportunist like Governor Jan Brewer and Representative Roul Grijalva acting so irresponsibly. Our leaders are supposed to lead the people to solutions not fight each other like the bullies of the playground so every one is punished. Where are the great world leaders of the people we learned about in our history classes, who were thoughtful, diplomatic and open to compromise regardless of political or international lines for the safety and prosperity of all people? Sadly in contemporary society, so many have become nothing more than attention grabbing bickerers driven by the win at all costs mentality.
So let us all take a deep breath and then focus on positive actions, understanding each other’s views and support reasonable leaders, then maybe we can avoid negative reactions and begin to find solutions to the border and immigration issues that we all can live with.
Karl W Hoffman
Documentary Film Producer