Tuesday, July 26, 2005

So far to the right, almost left...

I am currently interning with the ACLU's Immigrant Rights' Project in Oakland and my main work has been to produce some primary information on the vigilantes/minuteman projects and other anti-immigrant groups. So far, this has consisted of producing a timeline of events hosted and incidents of abuse perpetrated by these groups. I am also producing a family tree of sorts that maps out the membership of these groups to demonstrate the overlapping membership between groups.

Throughout my internet travels in conducting this research, I was sort of shocked by how much anti-Bush and anti-Corporate sentiments were posted. I half expected them to be ardent Bush/Cheney supports. Very few of the sites actually supported the administration; most called Bush an immigrant lovin' puppet of the Mexican dictator (I don't know how they get these ideas) or other names of the sort. If you thought Bush's guest worker programs were sucky, well these anti-immigrant groups believe guest worker programs to be synonymous with handouts to the poor. On the surface one might suspect that lefty progressives and these anti-immigrant groups actually share some common enemy, big corporations. Many anti-immigrant groups have begun to target corporations like Home Depot who hire undocumented immigrants. The difference between lefty progressives and the anti-immigrant groups is that one is based upon racism, xenophobia, and paranoia; while the other is motivated by the corporate impunity from damages done to society and the environment.

It is very troubling that the Bush regime is not the ultra-right. One thing that was served more than anything else to shift politics in this country seems to be 9-11. I'm not one for the, "this will change everything" line but for somethings it has. It seems that liberalism has been supplanted by security as a driving political philosophy. A political lighthouse of this sort is destined to retreat into groupisms and other sub-national factions. In this way, homeland security has been as much about Race as it has been about terrorism. It seems that the security narrative of the Dept. of Homeland Security has done more to help construct the idea of 'Racial Threat' and 'Dangerous Classes' than the 'War on Drugs' did in several decades (needless to say the War on Terror has been good for the Prison-Industrial-Complex).

The new security narrative espouses an enemy-within philosphy of social policy. This basically means that good Americans will support the weeding out of the 'bad' from the 'decent and true' elements in society. The racialization of security then justifies racial profiling, internment, while criminalizing the behavior of those 'indecent and false' elements, and last but not least making certain classes ineligibile for public benefits. All the while funneling more money into the other Corporate conglomerate, the Military-Industrial-Complex.

The danger for immigration policy is that (mega)-ultra-rightwing legislative proposals like Rep. Tancredo (R-CO) will make (regular)-rightwing legislative proposals like the McCain (R-AZ)/Kennedy (D-MA) bill seem like a good deal. There are so many hostile ideas floating around congress right now like stronger deportation measures, increasing immigration enforcement agents by the thousands, and stronger sentencing requirements that it might be safer to simply try to block any immigration laws from being past for fear of getting a worse deal from a bad law by way of amendments. Hopefully, Sheila Jackson-Lee's (D-TX) bill will enter the spot-light to show that immigration policy does not have to be led by security and that security does not have to be led by prejudice.


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