Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Minute Man Scourge

When the Minute Man project was in its infancy, I did not think much about it, other than “Right on!” There is a lot to be concerned about our border since 9-11. Bin-Laden can waltz across the US/Mexican border in broad daylight and set off a WMD in a large American town without ever being noticed by our border patrol. So when my fellow Americans got up out of their easy chairs and started patrolling our borders on their own, I felt very proud of them.

Now Project Spotlight is gearing up for action.

These fellows in Herndon, Virginia, want to photograph and follow (mainly immigrant) day laborers. The day laborers stand around a local 7-11 in the morning hoping to get hired by business owners who pay them under the table for casual labor. There is no national security threat here, however. You are not going to find any one from Al Queda milling about. It is just a bunch of hard working Joes’s (or Jose’s, I guess) trying to win their daily bread through the sweat of their brows. They are not there to plan any terrorist attacks. They just want to get some work hauling around a leaf blower or walking about on roof tops all day despite the weather. They are not out to destroy America from the inside. They are just willing to snap up jobs you and me would not even consider because to them those jobs are a golden opportunity and a chance at a better life. These guys are not invaders. They are beggars at the back door, willing to live in the shadows with none of the securities we take for granted. For the most part, they are truly pioneers, and possess the same grit and rough-hewn independence that our ancestors came over here with a couple of centuries ago. Now the Minute Men want to harass these guys. For what? Trying to work? Where is the national security threat in that?

What really rankled me is Operation Spotlight’s plan to follow these guys home to report houses that had too many people in them. Steam came out of my ears when I read this. Not only do they want to mess with a man’s ability to find work, they want to trample over his right to raise his family in peace. Are they going to report people who have a lot of children? I have four myself. I know there are plenty of people who would love to report me for some kind of zone violation.

There is no national security threat in any form brewing with the coffee down at the 7-11. The day laborers do not want to overthrow our government. Democracy created the economy that is giving them a chance to work. Even if they did they would probably be too tired after working on their feet all day. They are not going to take our jobs from us. They do not qualify for the ones we want. They are not out to take away public funds via schools and hospitals - they have no power to do so. Only ninnies in the legislature are guilty of this.

The reason the illegal immigrants keep coming here is that this is a free country that is full of economic opportunity. It is a free country full of economic opportunities because it is a democracy based on laws. The Minute Men are right in fearing that this wave of immigration will eventually be the undoing of that. They see what is taking place as a large invasion of outsiders who do not share our culture and are willing to break our laws. But I would posit that these guys are actually embryonic Americans, thirsting to be free. It is true that an underpaid, basically foreign underclass is being created right now and this will corrupt and eventually destroy American society if it goes unchecked. But the historical force behind this is a combination of the poverty that drives people over our borders and the laws in this country that require illegals to remain in the shadows. Harassing guys down at the 7-11 is not going to change any of this.