I don't usually write about political topics because it just isn't my area of expertise, but this whole immigration thing has prompted me to weigh in where my husband assures me I shouldn't. I should mention that my husband is a Republican and I am not, so you might imagine that dinner table conversation on this topic is spirited.
It just seems to me that the Republican presidential candidates are not thinking outside the wall. We who live in San Diego have an obvious interest in immigration issues since we are (a) on the Mexican border, and (b) have a high population of the very individuals that the Republican candidates wish to evict.
The current crop of GOP candidates seem really fixated on building a 2,000-mile Great Wall along the U.S. border with Mexico similar to the one in China only with more barbed wire. This will allegedly put a stop to the entry of rapist-drug-dealer-criminals. Then the only problem is to repatriate the undocumented folks who are already here.
Since the office seekers don't live on the border, or even in California, I feel compelled to point out some issues they should be considering, and even some alternatives.
First: San Diego, and California in general, is known as a place that not only has a high population of undocumented persons, but shamelessly employs them as well. There's a long-standing joke in San Diego that nobody in the county could run for a high public office because we've all hired undocumented workers. Except, of course, that it's not a joke. We really can't. It was no accident that on the podium at the Republican presidential debates, every state in the union was represented except California.
Even when you hire an "American" company, the people who are dropped off at your home are often undocumented, especially if a part of the job is particularly nasty. As it turns out, the home owner is in violation of the law even if they didn't hire the illegals themselves. This means that there are a lot of citizen "law violators" in San Diego who will need to be dealt with as well.
The current plan, as espoused by one of the Republican candidates, is to deport the undocumenti at a rate of some 500,000 a month, assuming a figure of 11 million illegal aliens in the country. But now certain office seekers are saying the number could be as high as 34 million. Seriously, folks, could we pin this down? It doesn't take a third grader to calculate that if you're promised to dispense with all of them in 18 to 24 months, it's going to be tough nut to meet your quota if you don't even know how many you have in the first place.
This could be a new question on the California State high school exit exam: If the President wishes to deport undocumented aliens, including their annoying anchor baby offspring, at rate of 11 to 34 million in 18 to 24 months, how many INS helicopters will he need in the sky before it looks like the Ride of the Valkyries scene in Apocalypse Now?
The next issue is one they haven't thought out at all: Beware of what you wish for. Once the wall is up and the undocumented are gone, the only produce the U.S. is going to be eating will be from Guadalajara, at least until all those unemployed Americans who have been pining for careers as tomato pickers come up to speed. It will be a YOOGE boon to the Mexican economy.
And here's another short term issue the Republicans haven't thought through: one Republican contender claims he will force Mexico to pay for the Great Wall by imposing sanctions. Good luck with that! The Mexicans can just withhold the veggies. Sort of a guns-for-cauliflower thing. The average American doesn't care about NAFTA worker visas but it would be a serious mistake to mess with the availability of organic kale.
This whole deportation scheme will be tremendously time consuming and expensive, no matter how you look at it. So if I were a Republican president, I'd just cede the entire county of San Diego back to Mexico, thereby deporting the undocumenteds and punishing the employer-felons who hired them, all in one fell swoop.
Heck, while you're at it, let Mexico have the whole state. Trying to clear the undocumenteds out the Central Valley agricultural areas is going to be onerous at best. It doesn't matter if Mexico even wants us. If you can make Mexico build a wall, you can make them take California. Surely some legal hotshot can find a loophole that will void the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo by which the U.S. acquired California. Then: all yours, Mexico! It was a blue state anyway.