The New Yorker on Self-Deportation


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The Republican Presidential campaign has been a bruising race to the bottom on illegal immigration, with seemingly every humane or realistic suggestion provoking a pile-on. Even the mild-mannered Jon Huntsman called Rick Perry “treasonous” for noting that the border with Mexico cannot simply be fenced. Poor Perry: his problem seemed to be a Texan’s familiarity with the actual border—its vastness, its complexity, the billions of dollars it will cost to maintain the hundreds of miles of fence already built (still covering less than a third of the border’s length), and the pointlessness of building more in ever-tougher terrain. Perry’s realism, and the glimmer of compassion he was willing to show—“If you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought here by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart”—played a significant role in his fall from grace. And so he, too, joined the race to the bottom, seeking the endorsement of America’s most notorious anti-illegal-immigration warrior, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and bringing him out on the campaign trail in Iowa.

Now, with the focus of the campaign shifting to Arpaio’s home state of Arizona, a center of anti-illegal-immigration feeling, the issue’s bound to resurface. It seems to unhinge some politicians. Remember Herman Cain’s electrified border fence? It was going to be twenty feet high, with barbed wire on top and enough voltage to kill a human being. Cain later said he was joking. Actually, a lot of the Republican Presidential contenders’ proposals on the issue would be funny if they weren’t so bizarre or disturbing or both. When Mitt Romney was asked how he would handle illegal immigrants living in the United States, he said, “Well, the answer is self-deportation.” Newt Gingrich has suggested that the deportation question should be decided by neighborhood review boards, which would evaluate the quality of an undocumented individual’s community ties. Rick Santorum, normally second to no straight man in defense of the traditional family, has advocated breaking up families that contain illegal immigrants, as millions of families do. Santorum, belittling Gingrich’s expressed concern for grandmothers who are longtime residents, offered a novel legal theory. “You can’t be here for twenty years and commit only one illegal act,” he told a group in Iowa. “Because everything you’re doing while you’re here is against the law.” (If you can’t get your mind around that concept, you’re in good company. Lacking residence papers is a civil violation, not a crime.) Everyone in the field condemned Perry for making a college education too accessible to undocumented young people in his state—he was “soft on immigration.” Perry retaliated with charges that Romney had made health care too accessible to illegal immigrants in Massachusetts.

And that fence: a mighty one, even if not electrified, has become a must. Will Romney build one the entire length of the border? Yes? Then Gingrich will build two.

Gentlemen, are these Christian sentiments? Do they even attract votes? According to Gallup, a substantial majority of Americans favor, even in this time of high unemployment, a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants—what Romney and company deride as “amnesty” at every turn. The hot pursuit of the Republican primary “base” can carry a man not only many miles from the political center but also far from the teachings, certainly on the subject of immigration, of his own church.

Going that far can also carry a man, such as Romney, into the realm of self-parody. His self-deportation idea is both deadly serious and an old joke. The phrase was apparently coined in 1994 by two Chicano satirists, Lalo Alcaraz and Esteban Zul, for the purpose of mocking an anti-immigrant California ballot initiative. Alcaraz played, brilliantly, a “militant self-deportationist” and right-wing Latino called Daniel D. Portado, and he stayed in character even while being interviewed on TV. A new group, Patriots for Self-Deportation, recently launched a Web site urging Americans to investigate their family trees for illegal immigrants and “anchor babies” and then, if they find anything suspicious, to do the right thing and self-deport. The site is now filling up with anguished testimonials from conscience-stricken young white people heading off to Italy and Poland to atone for their ancestors’ misdeeds. (Portado has sent the new self-deporters a hotly worded cease-and-desist letter.) Meanwhile, irony-free anti-immigrant groups are also laying claim to the phrase, defining it as a synonym for “attrition through enforcement,” which is the strategy behind harsh new laws in Alabama and, yes, Arizona. The aim of those laws is to make life so difficult for illegal immigrants that they will pull up stakes and leave. And that is precisely what Romney meant. His chief adviser on immigration issues, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was the draft author of both the Arizona and the Alabama laws.

Romney has already gone too far for some of his supporters. Jacob Montijilo Monty, a Houston attorney and Latino Republican activist, wrote a searing column for the Las Vegas Sun last Friday. Monty, once a donor to Romney’s campaign, accused the candidate of “heckl[ing] Hispanics with nativist rhetoric.” Romney’s enthusiasm for self-deportation had been the last straw.

Exactly what kind of conditions would be required before tens of millions of undocumented persons would agree to ‘self-deport’? How hostile would the cultural climate have to be for millions of men, women and children to flee from it? And what about the rest of us, governor? What about my children, who are as proud of their American citizenship, history and heritage as your five fine sons? Would they be forced to grow up in the environment of hateful suspicion that ‘self-deportation’ would require? Like a battered spouse who stays silent in the vain hope that things will somehow change, I made excuses for Romney, crossed my fingers and, until now, kept my lips sealed—and among other Hispanic Republicans, I’ve not been alone. No mas. I want to file charges.

This sort of disaffection could doom a candidate in the general election. Latinos are both the largest and the fastest-growing minority in the country, and their vote will be crucial in several battleground states. Jeb Bush, who knows something himself about persuading Latinos to vote Republican—he won a majority of Latino votes in Florida in 2002—wrote recently, in the Washington Post, “In the fifteen states that are likely to decide who controls the White House and the Senate in 2013, Hispanic voters will represent the margin of victory.” Romney, or whoever wins the Republican nomination, probably plans, per tradition, to tack back toward the political center on a range of issues, including immigration, during the general-election campaign. That may not work, however, on this issue, with these voters. Politically liberal or conservative, people know when they have been scapegoated and insulted. Barack Obama has not delivered on his campaign promise to push hard for comprehensive immigration reform, even after Latinos helped lift him to victory in 2008. But at least everyone knows he was kidding when he talked about putting moats full of alligators on our southern border.

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“Are You an Anchor Baby, Too?” — Andrew Sullivan

William Finnegan explains how self-deportation both is and isn’t a joke:

A new group, Patriots for Self-Deportation, recently launched a Web site urging Americans to investigate their family trees for illegal immigrants and “anchor babies” and then, if they find anything suspicious, to do the right thing and self-deport. The site is now filling up with anguished testimonials from conscience-stricken young white people heading off to Italy and Poland to atone for their ancestors’ misdeeds. …

Meanwhile, irony-free anti-immigrant groups are also laying claim to the phrase, defining it as a synonym for “attrition through enforcement,” which is the strategy behind harsh new laws in Alabama and, yes, Arizona.

The aim of those laws is to make life so difficult for illegal immigrants that they will pull up stakes and leave. And that is precisely what Romney meant. His chief adviser on immigration issues, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, was the draft author of both the Arizona and the Alabama laws.

A recent episode of “This American Life” explored how the Alabama law has impacted the state. Reporter Jack Hitt interviewed Carolina, who overstayed her visa from Costa Rica:

Jack Hitt: Carolina had just had a birthday when we met. And her mother back home had wired her some money to buy a gift, a money gram she could pick up at Walmart, not a government office, but a private business. So no problem. She’d done this many, many times in the nearly seven years she’s lived in Alabama. Before the law, all she had to do was show ID and type in the secret PIN number her mother had sent her. But this time…

Carolina: They did not give me the money. They just refused to give me the money, because I cannot prove to the girl that I was legal. And I don’t know why I have to prove her that.

Jack Hitt: Again, this is not part of the law.

ACTION ALERT: ALIPAC fights legislation to protect immigrants in CO, KS

ALIPAC contacted us this morning to encourage the Patriots for Self-Deportation to fight legislation that would support immigrants in Colorado and Kansas; they also asked us to call legislators in New Mexico last week. It’s clear that  many states are going to try to pass their own legislation before the Supreme Court rules on the legality of Arizona and Alabama’s new laws.

Will YOU take action?

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: ALIPAC Alerts <>
Date: Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 2:20 PM
Subject: Illegal Immigration Invasion Supporters Push Amnesty in 2 States
To: ALIPAC Alerts Subscriber <>

(Mailing list information, including how to remove yourself, is located at the end of this message.)

Friends of ALIPAC,

Not enough of you are checking our homepage at often enough so we are sending you this email to get you organized fast. State bills are springing up everywhere and very soon what passes and fails will set the trend for 2012!

Will the trend be on the side of American defenders like us or will we have to endure illegal alien invasion supporters winning battles in YOUR STATE and protecting their people by eventually giving them all that you have? If any of you reading this do not understand that or understand what is at stake here, you need to do some more research and studying.

Where ALIPACers go Americans win time and time again! Our 2012 federal candidate operations are being pushed back to send you this so PLEASE MOVE!


Step 1: Stop in-state tuition for illegal aliens in Colorado before it passes the finish line. ALIPAC has stopped in-state tuition in CO before, let’s do it again. Unfortunately, the Democrats in the CO Senate have passed this bill and they only need 1 Republican vote in the House to make in-state tuition for illegals the law of the land in Colorado!

Read and Understand and share this article that many of you have missed on our homepage

In-state tuition for illegal immigrants close to passage in Colorado!…do-senate-169/

Step 2: Craft your own version of ALIPAC’s strategic message and use the lawmaker contact list at the link we provide to call as many members of the CO House as possible as quickly as possible.

“I am calling/writing to ask you to oppose in-state tuition for illegal aliens since national polls show that 81% of Americans oppose such bills. In-state tuition for illegal aliens forces Colorado taxpayers to pay to replace their own kids in the limited seats in college with illegal immigrants. In-state tuition for illegals will only encourage more illegal immigration into CO and all of America. Please stand with the Americans who you were elected to serve and not with the illegal immigrant invasion supporters! We are working to organize in Colorado to inform voters which CO lawmakers support the invasion and which ones will stand with Americans on Election Day 2012!”

Colorado General Assembly

(Remember to use ALIPAC’s proven strategies of focusing on calls followed by written reinforcements and to personalize each message individually and avoid less effective bulk emails or non personalized communications)


WARNING: Some Illegal Immigration invasion supporters in the Kansas legislature are moving to pass a form of state level AMNESTY FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS joining Utah which is currently the only state to do so.

Stop Amnesty in Kansas by getting on the phones with ALIPAC supporters from every state.

Step 1: Read and understand and share this article.
AMNESTY WARNING: Debate starts in Kansas Legislature on illegal immigration

Step 2: Craft your own distinct version of ALIPAC’s strategic message.

“Dear ______: I am calling/writing today to ask you to oppose this state level Amnesty for illegal aliens in Kansas. Please oppose and stop the Amnesty House Bill 2712. A huge majority of your legal American constituents oppose this bill which is supported by fringe business and religious leaders looking to profit from the illegal alien invasion of America. Kansas voters are going to be shocked when they find out which Kansas lawmakers are supporting Amnesty and the illegal alien invasion of America on Election Day 2012. We will be working hard to inform them of which lawmakers support HB 2712. Please do the right thing and stand with your American constituents against Amnesty bill 2712.”

Kansas Lawmakers (Focus on House first)
Legislators | Kansas State Legislature

Please put in as much time as possible on these state campaigns. If you run out of things to do or you have failed to take action to stop licenses for illegal aliens in New Mexico then visit our past email alert to put in the work that must be done to stop and reverse the illegal immigration INVASION of America.

New Mexico effort…
National Battle Against Illegal Immigration Hinges on New Mexico Today: Take Action

We are also happy to see that those we helped in Arizona to pass SB 1070 are now defending and arguing before the Supreme Court for more bills like this which constitute DEFENSE FROM INVASION!

If the Supreme Court rules our way on this, we will get enforcement legislation up in many states, we just have to protect our bills early in the year.


Do you live in Colorado, New Mexico, or Kansas and are happy that ALIPAC activists from across America are converging on your state to help you fight illegal aliens and their supporters? Then please visit our SECURE online donations page to donate by credit card, Paypal, or mail today otherwise we may not be there to do this in the future.

You may unsubscribe anytime you like, but we encourage you not to walk away from the thousands of us fighting to defend American from this illegal immigrant invasion that will eventually have dire consequences for all Americans. We hope you will continue to receive our email alerts and to take action to support our efforts to stop and reverse illegal immigration.
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Toots Sweet Self-Deporting

Mr. Toots Sweet has contacted us saying he’s self-deporting next year. We’re not sure where you’re going to, Mr. Sweet, but best of luck to you! Keep us infromed!


A voice of Actual Americans.

It’s all about “the rule of law…”


Don’t Call it Xenophobia and Don’t Call it Racism

[This post was originaly written on September 28th, when ICE was conducting raids on employers of illegal immigrants.]

Fox news is covering the recent ICE raids on McDonalds (and other companies I think), and the accusations by Hispanic community leaders (who decides who a “community leader” is anyway?) that these raids are somehow “racist.’

I can sympathize with the plight of an immigrant who is in this country seeking a better life and seeking to provide for his/her family. Having lived in 3 different Central American countries as a missionary, so I can also sympathize with the plight of Latin Americans who are not able to provide for their families. I certainly can sympathize with the hardship created by corrupt governments in Latin America. BUT…and this is a MAJOR BUT…every action has consequences. Entering our country illegally has legal consequences, including deportation. This is standard. It may not have been enforced in the past, but not so anymore. Why is this suddenly a surprise? Everyone knows it was bound to happen eventually, and every illegal immigrant knows that this is always a possibility.

Now it is, and thank goodness some of our government officials are starting to do something about it. If you are here illegally, consider the price. This is not a race issue — it is a simple “rule of law” issue.

Is there racism out there — sure! I’ve seen it and experienced it myself. But considering the reasonable public outcry by a vast majority of citizens — those who our government serves — it is only logical that our government agencies (ICE) would start doing their job (they should have been doing for along time…). I wouldn’t call that racism. I would call it the restoration of the rule of law.

My advice: If you are an illegal immigrant in the US, start planning a way to go back home. Get some savings, and work up a business plan to start a small business back home. I realize life in the US is so much better than in Latin America, but until citizens — until Hondurans, Costa Ricans, Nicaraguans, Guatemalans, Mexicans, and others do something — start protesting and pressuring THEIR governments to open up their markets, and provide business-friendly economies — nothing is going to change. But here in the US, we still have to have a country of laws. This is, after all, what makes our economy so strong, so effective and so productive.

Ultimately, if the United States allow illegal immigrants to freely falsify identity papers, social security IDs and tax documents, this would weaken the integrity and trust we place in our systems–the very economy they are benefiting from.

I’m sorry…I really ambut that’s how it has to be. I don’t hate immigrants–my father is one. I don’t fear Hispanics — I am one and I am friends with many Hispanics or Latinos. This has nothing to do with it.

So, don’t call it xenophobia and don’t call it racism. No one is buying that around here…

Passport Stamp

Thanks Claire G. for passing this along! It’s exactly what the Real America needs: Patriots taking a hard look in the mirror, past their so-called “citizenship,” past their “right” to be here, and going back to the real land of their family’s Baby Zero!

Self-Deportation Interview with Edward D. Smith

Thanks, Edward Daniel Smith for supporting our Patriotic Cause!