CANDIDATES ON THE BORDER
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.
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.
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.
Thanks, Edward Daniel Smith for supporting our Patriotic Cause!
Patriots: We have just received a Cease and Desist notice from Radical right wing Mexican-American activist Daniel D. Portado, founder of HALTO (Hispanics Against Liberal Takeover), citing his exclusive copyright on the term Self-Deportation. “Daniel D. Portado invented Self Deportation in 1994,” he wrote, “when your hip accessories were wet diapers and a chupon!” We are not sure what a “chuppon” is (is it like a Clap-On/Clap-Off?), but Mr. D. Portado seems very serious indeed. Although his concept of Self Deportation applied, like Mitt Romney’s, to Hispanic immigrants only, he is outraged, saying: “Mojados take everything, but not Daniel’s wonderful ideas. SELF-DEPORTATION is mine! Now DEPORT YOURSELF!”
Luckily for us, that’s the idea.
Here’s an excerpt of a 1996 episode of This American Life that featured Mr. D. Portado:
Man:Hey, Pedro. Go back to Mexico, stop taking our jobs, and stop looking at my daughter!
We were written up in a Spanish news outlet HERE. Any Patriots who speak Spanish care to comment? We know we haven’t gotten many Hispanish patriots to join us yet, but just in case.
En el tema migratorio siempre hay algo nuevo, sorprendente o simplemente patético. Ahora surgió por internet un movimiento en pro de la autodeportación. Se trata de Patriots for Self-Deportation, en el cual se invita a todos aquellos descendientes de inmigrantes, sin importar si son de dónde hayan venido o si son de tercera o cuarta generación, a que hagan patria y se autodeporten si descubren que alguno de sus ancestros llegó al país indocumentado. El movimiento es patrocinado por un tal Alex Key que recientemente descrubrió que su bisabuelo vino ilegalmente a Estados Unidos desde Polonia. Ante semejante hallazgo, el sujeto dice que ahora se deportará a Polonia y que iniciará el trámite para obtener la ciudadanía estadounidense. No cabe duda que no sabe ni lo que dice. Vea el video:
¿Ya vio el video? Bueno, Ahora comparta con nosotros su oponión. Lo mejor de su propuesta son los comentarios de algunos que apenas se enteran que entre los indocumentados también hay europeos.
Y el detalle es que no está sólo. Mitt Romney, aspirante presidencial republicano a la Casa Blanca,cree que los indocumentados harán fila para su plan de autodeportación. Tras 18 debates entre los aspirantes a la candidatura presidencial republicana, Romney ha salido con la solución más risible e inviable para la inmigración ilegal: la “autodeportación”. Esa idea surgió la noche del lunes durante el primero de dos debates que los candidatos republicanos tendrán en Florida de cara a las primarias del próximo 31 de enero, y de inmediato suscitó una andanada de reacciones en las redes sociales en internet.
Pasando a cosas más serias, partidarios y detractores de la polémica ley antiinmigrante de Arizonaestán enfrentados de nuevo luego que legisladores demócratas dijeran que trabajan para anular la medida. La iniciativa es por parte del senador demócrata Steve Gallardo, quien propondrá anular la ley por que divide y daña la reputación del estado. Qué bueno, pero eso lo hubieran hecho antes.
En el mismo sentido trabajan los demócratas de Georgia, que también buscarán revocar la ley antiinmigrante de ese estado. La tarea no será fácil, pues la Asamblea General es dominada por los republicanos, pero no hay peor lucha que la que no se hace. La iniciativa es de los representantes Pedro Marín y Lynmore James.
Interesante el análisis presentado por Carlos Harrison sobre el voto cubanoamericano de Florida. Apoyado en otras fuentes, el texto dice que otros grupos de sudamericanos o los cubanoamericanos más jóvenes tienden a votar por los demócratas, dependiendo del tema. Sin embargo, considera que la tradición terminará por imponerse y que Florida votará por Mitt Romney en las primarias del 31 de enero. ¿Será que sí?
Otra propuesta que llama la atención es la hecha por el senador demócrata Charles Schumer, quien este martes pidió al Departamento de Seguridad Nacional que permita trabajar durante un año a los inmigrantes cuyos procesos de deportación terminen anulados durante una revisión nacional de deportaciones que comenzó en diciembre. Veremos qué pasa.
Y bueno, qué más se puede decir de Mitt Romney y su inflexible postura sobre inmigración. De cualquier forma, si le interesa, aquí le dejo dos puntos de vista sobre el que hasta hace poco era el favorito a ganar la nominación republicana a la presidencia de EEUU. Una es de Maribel Hastings, y la otra es de Rafael Prieto Zartha.
Our Movement was written up in Canada’s National Post. Do they truly understand us?
Kelly McParland: Tea Party ‘patriots’ urge Americans to deport themselves
Kelly McParland Jan 25, 2012 – 12:29 PM ET | Last Updated: Jan 25, 2012 6:36 PM ET
Alex Kaye is feeling guilty about the fact his great-grandfather, also named Alex, immigrated illegally from Poland to work in a Chicago packing plant. He suspects great-grandfather Alex snuck in through Canada to avoid a literacy test (evidently we didn’t care about literacy back them), and he feels it is “kind of shameful” that all the other Kayes (who weren’t named Kaye at the time, being Polish) have been living in the U.S. on false pretenses ever since.
So, next July 4 he’s “self-deporting” himself back to Poland, where he intends to hang out for a while, and then re-apply to immigrate “the right way.”
You can watch Alex explain himself on his YouTube video, where he comes across a bit like a U.S. version of Hugh Grant, all mannerly and apologetic. Alex is being championed by a group that calls itself Patriots for Self-Deportation, which — if it’s not an elaborate hoax — is hoping the idea catches on, though mainly with newly arrived Mexicans rather than fourth- or fifth- generation Poles with identity problems. On Monday the group got a boost when Republican candidate Mitt Romney declared his support for self-deportation as a means of slowing illegal immigration.
Like the Patriots, Romney is mainly hoping some of the millions of Mexicans in the country illegally will skedaddle back across the Rio Grande, all on their own initiative. To give them a push, states like Arizona and Alabama have been introducing punitive laws that seek to make life as miserable as possible for illegals. Mr. Romney’s idea isn’t quite as harsh: legal workers would be issued cards, subject to a national verification system, to show to employers. People without cards couldn’t get jobs, so eventually would get so hard up they’d kick themselves out. (If, of course, they don’t turn to crime, drugs or go to work for unscrupulous employers, which a lot do now anyway.)
The Patriots — which says it’s a “growing force within the Tea Party — were quite pleased at Mr. Romney’s support. They have a web site set up to help answer questions, like “How can I know if ancestors of mine came here legally?”, “If I suspect that an ancestor should never have received citizenship, am I morally obliged to do something about it?” and “If several of my ancestors came over illegally, how do I decide which country of origin to return to?”
“America belongs to REAL Americans,” it says, and everyone else should get lost, pronto.
Predictably, there’s been some blowback, presumably from less patriotic Americans. Several pointed out that, as Alex was born in the U.S., he’s legally an American citizen and it doesn’t matter what his great-grandpa did. Some native Americans have suggested that everyone going back to the Mayflower is there without their approval, and want to know when they’ll be leaving. There’s also the small matter of whether Poland has been asked whether it wants a few million Americans showing up suddenly because someone they never met didn’t fill out Form 32-C before landing at Ellis Island at the turn of the last century. Who knows, there might be a few from Ireland and Italy who weren’t exactly punctillious about their paperwork as well.
Alex hasn’t been getting a lot of sympathy. “What about your great-grandfather’s great-grandfather? Are you sure he was legal in Poland?” someone commented on his YouTube video. A guy named Lewis is worried that his ancestors came from the “Austro-Hungarian Empire” and he’d have to deport himself to a country that didn’t exist any more. The same problem could arise for other Poles like Alex: which “Poland” do they deport themselves to, given that big chunks have been added and subtracted over the centuries. Is there an “original” Poland he can apply to?
So many questions. Fortunately, Patriots for Self-Deportation doesn’t sweat the details. “US citizenship is for those who can show PROOF their original ancestors were here legally. All illegals and descendants of illegals are here ILLEGALLY and must be DEPORTED at once,” it says. So if you don’t have documents, out you go. And, as Alex has found, a birth certificate won’t do.
Thanks for forwarding this to us, Max.
TUE JAN 24, 2012 AT 01:42 PM PST
I like to think myself familiar with the wacko fringes of right wing politics – but this was jarring. The group is Patriot’s for Self-Deportation. They’ve been around since last year, according to David Wiegel. Web site is selfdeport.org. Crazy, crazy stuff. It took me a while to figure out what exactly ‘self-deportation’ was. Is it, like, illegals deporting themselves? why would they do this, exactly?
Turns out it’s not really about bad illegals (brown people) deporting themselves. It’s about ‘patriots’ (white people) deporting themselves. Does that make it clear? Didn’t think so.
So the idea seems to be, that a true ‘patriot’ would investigate their background and trace their relatives back to validate that their ancestors immigrated legally. If it turns out that you can find a grandparent, great grandparent, great-great grandparent, ect., who didn’t get their papers right – that makes you an illegal. Because your ancestors weren’t naturalized, your citizenship status is based on birth-right citizenship, which makes you an illegal alien. Well, not really, but in Patriot’s for Self-Deportation’s opinion, it makes you an illegal.
An aside: they seem to be confused about the term ‘illegal.’ They acknowledge that the 14th Amendment legitimizes birth-right citizenship but they think its wrong and we should repeal it and do away with birth-right citizenship. Thus, anyone whose citizenship is currently based on their birth on American soil is an illegal alien. Understand? Me neither.
So what’s an ‘patriotic’ illegal alien to do? Well, simple really. That’s where self-deportation comes in !!! What you do is go back to whatever country your ancestors came from and apply for your citizenship again (even though you already are a citizen). Get it! You’re deporting yourself.
Now, what this will accomplish, above and beyond legitimizing your own citizenship, is to “…set the example of responsible citizenship by proving their own rights to be here …” And that’s just the beginning. This will inevitably lead to the repeal of the 14th amendment! And spanish speakers will go away!
I really recommend reading the section entitled, “HOW TO SELF DEPORT” My favorite piece of advice:
6: Learn some of the language of the country that you are moving to- this will make it much easier to communicate with other citizen. But also remember that English is almost a universal language, if you move to a city around the world you will probably be fine!
They also have some stories of ‘real’ people. I can’t believe they’re actually real, I just can’t. It includes the story of a woman, an infant refugee from WWII Germany, whose family has rejected her upon her recent discovery that she was never naturalized.
Or Claire G., who found out her great grandparents were ‘illegals:’
I am dismeyed about this, and honest to God I am crying as I write this, because I can’t believe my OWN FAMILY, who is so anti-illegals they even took me to protests downtown a few years ago, to yell at the illegal Mexicans who had no right to be in this country, carrying their Mexican flags and chanting in Spanish for their freedoms, and whatnot — they took me to this, with a sign made of a pizza box that sayd NO CITIZENSHIP FOR ANCHOR BABIES! And these very people, my own mother’s family, turns out to be the descendent of ILLEGALS?? I swear you guys, I am crying so hard right now …
Yep. The way to resolve the hypocrisy of white descendants of immigrants complaining about non-white immigration is to self-deport the white people.
Is it really a bad thing that these people are leaving the country?
And here’s another liberal media article forwarded by T. Prickett. They don’t know what country they live in!
By David Weigel
| Posted Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012, at 1:39 PM ET
The grassroots organization Patriots for Self-Deportation, formed last year in response to legislative inaction on the issue of birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants (also known as the “anchor baby” problem), announced today the launch of their website, SelfDeport.org. The group describes SelfDeport.org as a resource for patriotic Americans who wish to set an example of responsible citizenship by proving their own rights to remain in this great nation.
The group hopes the website and issue benefits from Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s endorsement of self-deportation as a solution to the problem of illegal immigration, according to spokesman Stephen Winters.
According to WhoIs, SelfDeport/Winters actually registered the domain in October. If it’s a stunt — and it may be! — it’s a long-planned one, not some new Yes Men-ery. I was fascinated enough by the news (or “news”) to call the organization, which has, it turns out, two spokespeople.
“We were very surprised that Mitt Romney used our language,” said one of the spox, Jennifer Ricci. “We’ve reached out to his campaign and he hasn’t responded to our requests.” Hearing a GOP frontrunner (or quasi-frontrunner) endorse your idea sounds great, but SelfDeport quickly discovered a downside.
“He seems to think that the only people who might want to self-deport would be people who can’t find work in America,” said Ricci, “but we believe that self-deportation can work for anyone.”