"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Biden’s ”Come On In!–We Take All Comers” Immigration Fantasy

Jose Pacheco had waited a long time to go to El Norte.  He had waited long enough and had had enough of rice and beans, tortillas, and platanos. In America he would eat hamburgers, grilled steak, plump chicken, and garden fresh vegetables.

The chickens pecking in the back squawked when a hawk circle overhead and ran for cover under the old driftwood planking he had put up as a roost.  He was sick of chickens, sick of battered pickup trucks, sick of the mosquitos that bred in the puddles of the rutted street in front of his house and under the derelict school bus on blocks, its tires, windows, and motor gone, only a good place to shoot up, smelling of rot, mildew, and vomit.  He was sick of Santa Josefina, ‘Fina’, most of whose residents had long departed for El Norte either in the days of the Salvadoran Civil War, or under the Administration of Bill Clinton who had a soft spot in his heart for oppressed minorities, particularly because he waited far too long to pull the trigger against the Serbs or to speak up against the Hutu genocide in Rwanda.

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Jose had stuck it out for no good reason other than inertia. He had enough money from day labor to pay for food and to pay off the authorities who threatened to evict him from his shack on the river, enough whisky and beer, and a hammock slung from two low hanging branches of an old mango tree. The dogs kept thieves and prowlers out, his children were grown and on their own in La Capital, his daughter doing well enough to send a few dollars home every few months, although he never asked how she made her money since she had left home when she was sixteen and had come back only once when her mother, Jose’s wife died.  She put flowers on the grave, ate chicharrons and drank beer, and left on the bus the next day. 

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Now that Miranda’s money had stopped coming in, and as his day jobs became few and far between as investment moved to Costa Rica and Panama and there were no signs of any economic movement in San Miguel, he had to emigrate. Now that America had a new president, one who was relaxing all restrictions on border crossings from Mexico, admitting anyone with a claim to persecution or extreme poverty, and giving preference to migrants with minor children (this in reaction to former President Trump’s harsh detainment of such minors in primitive ‘relocation centers’ and summary deportation of their parents), Jose considered that he had a good chance of entry.  

His brother-in-law ran a side business as a coyote and would charge him little as cancellation of a longstanding debt, and Jose had many nieces who would accompany him who would strengthen his case at the border.  Best of all one of his niece’s mothers had, like Jose, long awaited this chance to go north.  The little family of refugees would be complete.

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All well and good, except that as word of President Biden’s new ‘Policy of Compassion And Inclusivity’ spread throughout San Miguel, and as hundreds of people packed their bags and headed north, there was serious congestion at the Guatemala-Mexican border. Of the two crossings Tehuantapec was the worst.  Shakedowns, rapes, and extortion were common, and only those with connections or pockets full of money could pass.  

The old America might be back, wetbacks welcome, fields of lettuce, strawberries, green beans, and cauliflower waiting to be picked, welfare rolls expanded, and ICE police defunded so that no one had to fear La Migra any longer, but getting to the American border would not be easy.  Even so, Jose and Maria Andrea never hesitated.  They were used to their own homegrown Salvadoran crooks and thugs, and the Guatemalan police couldn’t possibly be any worse. 

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In fact a number of Jose’s younger cousins were members of Mara Salvatrucha MS-13, a violent Salvadoran gang which had ruled Salvador as completely as the old Italian Mafia had ruled New York, and which through its Guatemalan and Mexican associates was able to put pressure on the border patrols of each country.  If, MS-13 said, certain migrants were not given free and easy access across the border, then the families of certain border patrol agents would be killed.

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Jose had to go very deeply in debt to his brother-in-law, but had no doubts that once in America, he would be making more than enough money to repay him and to live well. 

Meanwhile the exodus was on.  The number of unaccompanied minors sent by ambitious parents in Salvador and Honduras increased tenfold during the first month of the Biden presidency.  He had said that there would be no punitive gulag cells in which they would be put, so out of compassion he would let them in to be cared for by relatives already in the country or by the state. 

 California, always awash in illegal immigrants called foul and demanded reparations, restitution, or at least some significant federal grant to help them accommodate the influx, and Texas was quick to follow.

Since Jose and his sister-cousin wanted to go to America themselves and had no minors to send on their own, they went with the youngest of the family’s children – little papooses strapped on to Maria Andrea’s back which no ICE police could refuse.

The trip went well – or at least acceptably well given the crowds, lashings, and threats in Tehuantapec, and two week wait at the American border.  No matter how permissive the new immigration policy was, there were certain formalities and some measure of processing to be followed.  The Mexican government, pleased at Biden’s new policies and friendly overtures to its President, happily arranged for temporary shelter on Mexican soil.  The President was well aware that the newly open American borders would take the pressure of his Administration fighting high unemployment and a stagnating economy.  Mexicans could simply wade across the Rio Grande and find work ‘over there’.

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Not surprisingly Jose did not find things exactly as he expected them in San Diego.  He and his cousin-sister and nieces stayed in an already crowded house, jobs were not as plentiful as he had hoped, but at least he had a toilet, running water, a decent roof over his head, and prospects.  The picking season would soon start, and agribusinesses, delighted at the new, cheap supply of labor from south of the border, would be hiring many and often.  

Consumers would be delighted at falling produce prices, the cost of nanny and housecleaning services, and the price of house painting and landscaping.   Of course the economy could not productively absorb all comers, so welfare, education, and public health costs began to increase many fold.  Taxes increased proportionately, businesses were let off the hook as they let the state take care of ‘incidental’ labor costs, social divisions were exacerbated as white Americans saw their wages stagnate, their taxes increased, and Spanish displace English.  Both southern California and southern Texas were rapidly becoming separate Latino majority regions.

"Why are we discriminated against?”, shouted Nigerians and Congolese who had no easy river to cross to enter America.  Biden listened and heard, and pressured by BLM and other Black minority rights groups which had help get him elected, he changed immigration policies for those coming to the United States by air.  “We are an inclusive country”, said Biden, “and our diversity depends on our African brothers and sisters – all of whom have diaspora families living in our great land”, and by fiat opened arrival areas of all airports to all African comers.

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Before he knew it, the President was under attack from those he least expected to object.  Every minority group his progressive supporters had championed wanted easy access for their relatives abroad.  Indians, Indonesians, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, Comoro Islanders, all joined the now loud and demanding queue to get in.

One morning not long into his presidency, Joe Biden woke up to the same realization of most Americans – Everyone wants to come to America!  And, horribile dictu Donald Trump may have been right.  You cannot simply let everyone in without dire consequences.  Nobody except Jose, his wetback compatriots, and American businesses were happy.  Everyone else bridled at the onslaught of tens of thousands of unwanted immigrants, all driving wages down, the cost of public services and welfare up, and sending taxes through the roof.

“We love our brown, black, and yellow brothers and sisters”, the President repeatedly said, “and America, the country of diversity, inclusivity, and welcome, will always be their home”.  Meanwhile state assemblies and city councils were increasingly restive, more and more former Democrats were considering changing their party allegiance, and mid-term elections were not that far off.

Donald Trump would be the featured speaker at CPAC – the Conservative Political Action Conference – and he would most certainly deliver on his promises.  His Sunday speech would be full of fire and invective, one-liners, and bombast.  The master was back, and not more than a few weeks of the Biden Administration and a surprisingly quiet Donald Trump, his old energy returned.  Sleepy Joe would not have an easy time of it, and the prospects of another Trump term did not seem so farfetched.

Image result for Images CPAC Conference 2021. Size: 204 x 107. Source: drrichswier.com

Most objective political observers saw this coming – both the irreversible damage of unlimited immigration and the political blowback on Biden’s other progressive agenda items.  He was not going to have an easy time of it.  Compassion, temperance, and an indoor voice don’t work, especially in a divided, contentious America and a salivating cadre of international opponents.

So, hold on to your hats.  Donald Trump is back and is here to stay.

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