I know everyone is talking about the upcoming primary right now and, frankly, I expected to also. But we were talking immigration on Kramer and Abrams this morning, and, as so often and so sadly is the case, many of the arguments carried an undertone of racism. Although the vast majority of the callers were responsible folks with whom I simply disagreed (this being KXL, after all), there were those who sent e-mails arguing that we “have to do something about immigration because, at the rate ‘they’ reproduce, they will be the majority in fifty years.” There were those who wanted to boycott Mexican products, overlooking the fact such products are made by people who are not even immigrants – legal or illegal - at all.
Then there was this:
From: Schlomo Rabinowitz (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sent: Sunday, April 30, 2006 10:28 AM
Subject: Listener Mail Listener Schlomo Rabinowitz says:
The irony of hearing a stinking ghetto Jew descendant spreading hatred and fear. The same thing was said about your wandering Jew ancestors. Too bad Adolf Hitler didn't make more soap out of the insidious and mongrel Jew. 4/30/2006 10:27:54 AM
I don’t know what sick impulse causes a person to write something like this. I don’t know what Mr. Garces (and, yes, I have kept his name intact in case any one else wished to try to get a coherent thought out of him) thought he was doing by putting up the screen name “Schlomo Rabinowitz.” I don’t know whether his views of Jews comes out of a bad high school performance of ‘Merchant of Venice’ or where his views of other nationalities or religions comes from.
I do presume that Mr. Garces votes. And, therefore, I presume that his views will have an impact on the politicians who are crafting policy in the very difficult issue of immigration, an issue I admit to having only a very basic understanding of.
So, tomorrow, when the rallies in Salem and Portland and elsewhere bring out those who are “illegal” immigrants, and those who support them, what message will these politicians take? Will they understand that the overwhelming majority of any wave of immigrants comes to America for work, and a better life and wants to be part of this nation? Or will they make presumptions – as did Mr. Garces and a few others – that this is all about “getting entitlements.” Will they support those who want to be productive? Or will they back the calls for a boycott of businesses that let people take tomorrow off “peaceably to petition the government for redress of their grievances?”
Mr. Garces – and those like him – do not anger me. Such silly statements – most of which are not even in complete sentences – sadden me and scare me. How many Mr. Garces’ are there out there? How many politicians like Congressman Tancredo from Colorado listen to the Pachin Garces’ of the world and agree with them?
The questions regarding immigration should revolve around the ability of this nation to absorb X number of individuals, around the type of skills that might be favored, and, yes, about bulletproofing the immigration laws from their unarguable role in history of excluding different groups – including Irish, Jews, and Eastern Europeans as well as Central and South Americans – over time. But so long as Pachin Garces is out there, and Tom Tancredo is listening to him, there seems to be little room in the debate for Emma Lazarus.
April 30, 2006 | Marc Abrams |