I’ve said this before, but let me preface this rare, politically-charged post by reminding everyone that I am not a reporter, nor am I college student writing a paper. The idea for this piece came from listening to this week’s This American Life. I’m not going to look up names, citations or facts. Take that however you want.
Alabama has passed a really harsh immigration law that hopes to encourage self-deportation by making the life of illegal immigrants really hard. I could talk about how the law will actually torpedo the economy, having already caused international companies to bail on multimillion dollar projects in Alabama. I could also talk about how fucked the people who pushed this law are now that they want to take some of it back; they’ve got to un-convinced their constituents that getting rid of Mexicans is the answer (how ironic).
No, what really got to me was hearing the original guy who started coming up with these ideas in the first place. It began, unsurprisingly, with 9/11. A few of the hijackers were in the country illegally. He realized that they’d all gotten traffic violations. His theory is that if cops were forced to check citizenship status while pullingthem over, these guys would’ve been caught and 9/11 avoided.
I see this all over the place in the past decade: people with half-assed ideas that think 9/11 could have been avoided if only one thing was solved. In this case it’s if we had better immigration law enforcement that convinced people to self-deport.
Because a bunch of guys who willingly kamikazed themselves would say “man, it’s so hard to be in this country illegally, I’m going to self-deport.”
More importantly, the terrorists were smart and capable. In a way, yes, it would be nice to think it’s our own fault and would have had a simple remedy. But we’re talking about an organization that planned and executed the murder of over 3,000 people, taking the Twin Towers and a chunk of the Pentagon with them. Do these law makers really believe that if we had stronger enforcement of immigration laws the terrorists wouldn’t have found a way around it?
It’s scary to know there are smart, organized people out there plotting to kill you and your loved ones. Literally. I spent over a year working in Times Square and now I work by Penn Station. My wife works by Grand Central Station. Let’s be clear: if there’s another successful attack on the United States, me, my friends and my family are very likely to be involved. They were on 9/11.
I can’t say I’m educated enough on immigration laws to debate their value. I don’t believe that they’re costing US workers that many jobs (at least jobs they’re willing do) but that’s a gut feeling that could be wrong. I will say, without a shadow of a doubt, the people who will self-deport or get kicked out by these laws will not be terrorists with rich organizations backing them and years of plotting. They will be poor workers making low wages.