Format: video with audio
Running time: approx. 15 min 24 sec.
Summary: Illegal Immigration is one of the most divisive issues in America today. Pinky asks Daisy for his take on what's really going on. Added bonus: Daisy tells us how to solve the whole problem in 5 minutes.
Television: (Glenn Beck) "You break into my country, you know what? I'm going to take your DNA and I'm going to put you on a plane and I'm going to send you the hell back to your frickin country..." [snow] (Lou Dobbs) "...coming up here next new developments in the trial of a small town trying to deal with the impact of illegal immigration on its community..." [snow] (Tom Tancredo) "...we are testing our willingness to actually hold onto something called the English language, something that is the glue that is supposed to hold us together as a nation. We are becoming a bilingual nation and that is not good. And that is the fearful part of this, the ramifications are much, much more significant..." (Ann Coulter) "...um, actually we could have done it very easily in the last week since they organized themselves into groups, you could've just sent paddy-wagons to the protests..." [television turned off]
Pinky: Wow. So... there's a lot of pretty intense language being thrown around at the moment - I think it's safe to say that illegal immigration is one of the most inflammatory topics of debate here in the United States. Personally I'm still in the phase where I'm still trying to learn more information about the issue. And one of my friends that I always call up when I have a question about something is Daisy, who is right here, hi Daisy...
Pinky: Umm, I call up Daisy quite a bit because I respect what Daisy has to say, as you can see Daisy's pretty old and he knows a lot of stuff, he's been an independent researcher for a long time right? How long?
Daisy: Long time.
Pinky: Yeah. Okay, so I called Daisy up yesterday and I asked him if he could come down and share some of his insight regarding the illegal immigration issue. Would that be okay?
Pinky: Did you bring your slides?
Daisy: I did.
Pinky: Okay, how about if we start with you telling us what the illegal immigration debate is all about?
Daisy: The illegal immigration debate is actually not a debate. It's a straight up power play. The so-called debate would be more accurately described as a largely one-sided affair, an extended xenophobic rant. That's what it is. And the people responsible for this are members of the ruling class of American society, or those who for whatever reason align themselves with ruling class interests. These people want to monopolize the definition of American identity; they want to be the ones who decide who is a 'real American' and who is not - "I'm an authentic American, you're not. So get out, stop ruining my country" and so on.
Pinky: It's interesting to hear you frame it as a kind of identity issue. Because I can imagine lots of people saying, um, "Isn't the immigration debate really about jobs? It's not really an identity issue is it?"
Daisy: Well, actually they're connected. It's true that changing governmental policies towards immigration could have a significant impact on the economy. No one denies this. But it's also quite obvious that there are many, many other ways, and more profound ways, to transform the national economy. So why has illegal immigration been made the 'hot topic' right now? Well, it's because it is a very convenient way for the people who control public discourse to merge two things - on one hand we have ordinary working people feeling incredibly insecure and uncertain about the future, a situation really only made worse by the increasing concentration of wealth, and resources, and power into the hands of the already wealthy; you know, this is what you get under predatory capitalism. On the other hand we have these very effective tools for controlling public opinion - racism, scapegoating, manipulation of data for the purpose of fear mongering. So the illegal immigration debate is the bringing of these two things together. Americans are being told that we are in danger of losing not only our jobs, but we're also in danger of losing our language, losing our culture, our security, everything. And it's all the fault of these people who are 'not us'. They are the Other, and we should be fearful of them. We need to protect ourselves, our country, against them, the aliens. Right? So this is the identity aspect that I was talking about.
And what I'm saying is that this is basically a smokescreen. It's an act of misdirection. You get your average American workers all riled up that their jobs are being 'stolen' by these illegal immigrants. Supposedly these illegal immigrants are sucking the profits from our economy, they must be getting very, very rich. Of course this is absurd. There are profits, but the big profits are not going to illegal immigrants okay? And they're also not going to the middle class. In actuality a disproportionate amount of the nation's wealth is being systematically funneled towards the pockets of the richest of the rich. Even conservative economists agree on this.
But you know, these self-appointed watchdogs of Americanism, they've actually been very successful in whipping up popular animosity towards these so-called 'illegal aliens'. If you think about it, what they've been able to achieve is actually quite remarkable - they've basically taken a group of people from tremendously impoverished places, living extremely difficult lives, and they've successfully branded them as a bunch of criminal opportunists hell-bent at exploiting America's generosity. Which is, of course, totally ironic since First World exploitation of the Third World has historically been the driving force behind creating that poverty they're trying to escape in the first place. The lack of awareness or compassion is extraordinary.
Pinky: Okay, so... who are the different groups involved?
Daisy: There are two major players in the current situation. In the first group of course there are those people who are currently being labeled illegal immigrants. Most of them are recent immigrants, most notably from Mexico.
The second group are also immigrants, but they are immigrants who have been here longer, maybe a hundred years or maybe even going all the way back to the Mayflower or something like that.
And actually there's actually a third group, a forgotten group that's been made practically invisible over the past two hundred or so years, and that's the original Native inhabitants of these lands. But of course they're never mentioned because supposedly they are irrelevant to the discussion.
Pinky: So you're framing this current conflict as being primarily between two immigrant groups - the illegal immigrants and the... more established immigrants...?
Daisy: Yes. Let's approach this historically. The first colonial settlements were established in the New World in the 16th and 17th centuries. The people who settled these colonies were from Europe... um, plus their slaves. The definition of immigrant is "a person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another" (The American Heritage Dictionary). So these people you were showing on TV a few minutes ago, unless they are Native American, they are immigrants. They may have been here for a while, long enough to put themselves into positions of privilege, but they are the descendants of immigrants. The irony of immigrants calling for the deportation of other immigrants seems to be lost on everyone.
Pinky: What about the 'illegal' part? I mean, as far as I understand it, no one's been calling for the deportation of all immigrants, the controversy seems to be over illegal immigrants, right?
Daisy: Again, let's turn to history. I'll give you a mini-history of the United States in two minutes. Okay? The United States started out as a colony, everybody knows this. The people who came here to settle, they were from Europe. This is settler colonialism. For Native people the results were catastrophic. What happened to their land? Well, the settlers bought some of it, or simply killed them so that they could take it, or forcibly drove them off their land - I don't need to tell you this, I know you've studied this yourself. The information is there for anybody who wants to know and who has the stomach to read it. The bottom line is that there was a tremendous amount of lands illegally seized from Native people. And the occupation of these lands taken by settlers - or immigrants if you prefer - continues to this day. Much of what is commonly referred to as the United States is in fact an illegal occupation of Native lands. In other words, America is filled with illegal immigrants, and we're not even talking about Mexicans.
Pinky: This is not a perspective you hear on television.
Daisy: Of course not, there's no reason why the mainstream media would want to discuss this issue from this perspective. America is not interested in committing national suicide.
Now these settlers, in the process of destroying or displacing the hundreds of native nations that filled North America, they created a new country, the United States of America, right? Well two hundred plus years later the United States is the most powerful country in the world and the settlers who built this country are now established, they've created positions of privilege for themselves, and they exercise some of this privilege by labeling some of the more recent immigrants 'illegal'. You know, we act like the laws that sort immigrants into legal- or illegal-types dropped out of the sky directly from god. Of course not, laws are made and enforced by the dominant group in a society, generally to benefit... themselves! Just like how you can put millions of black people in jail by creating a 'War on Drugs' or terrorize entire nations by inventing a so-called 'War on Terror', you can attack people by making them 'illegal'. You demonize them, you attribute every social ill you can think of to their presence. And what I'm saying is that this is hypocritical because in the case of the United States, the dominant settler group who's acting all bent out of shape over what to do with all these illegal immigrants, they have yet to acknowledge their own status as settlers, their own status as illegal immigrants.
Pinky: You're using the terms 'immigrant' and 'settler' interchangeably...?
Daisy: Look, 'immigrant' is a code word. As far as I'm concerned it's a euphemism for the word 'settler'. People don't like to say settler because then it makes them think of settler colonialism. And of course once you start talking about how settler colonialism works, you very quickly start questioning the legitimacy of a nation founded on the exploitation of Native land. You start looking at the historical and moral ramifications of a nation who's very existence would be impossible had it not been for 500 years of genocide against Native people. That's why people like the word 'immigrant' instead of 'settler'. Apparently thinking about genocide and stealing makes people feel bad.
Pinky: Okay, got it. And cats... we're settlers too, correct?
Daisy: Cats are settlers. And...
Pinky: What about dogs?
Daisy: Who cares. So yeah... 'Illegal immigrants' are settlers. And the people going on and on about the immigration crisis - whether they're white, or black, or brown, or whatever - unless they're Native American they're settlers too.
Pinky: Uh huh. Yesterday when we talked on the phone, you said you had a solution to the illegal immigration problem. You said you could solve it in 5 minutes?
Daisy: Yeah, I did. Here's how it can happen. Let's say all the so-called illegal immigrants - I've heard figures like 15 or 20 million people - let's say they all get together and decide to make a new nation. Doesn't matter what they call it, they can call it whatever they like. Give it a great name like "The People's Democratic America" or "Freedom Land"... The main idea is all these illegal people they get together and they draft a constitution, they vote on it, approve it, and then they give themselves citizenship in this brand new country they just made. They don't even have to go anywhere, they just plop their new nation down right on top of the already existing one. If anybody in the old nation complains, just point to the new constitution and legal system you just made as proof of your legitimacy. It works. We know it works because that's how America came into existence. There it is. Problem solved.
Pinky: How is that a solution? What about... How's that fair for Native people? Now they have two nations on top of them...
Daisy: Mmm... I didn't say it was a fair solution. I just said that I solved the illegal immigration problem.
video: Bunny & Pinky
drawings & illustrations: Pinky
Glenn Beck. CNN, Glenn Beck Show
Lou Dobbs. CNN, Lou Dobbs Tonight
Tom Tancredo. CNN, Republican Presidential Candidates Debate
Ann Coulter. Fox News
U.S. Custom & Border Protection video, Protecting U.S. Borders
Immigrants' Rights Rallies, Democracy Now!, May 2, 2007 episode
Missile Strike video.
Illegal Benefits. CNN, Lou Dobbs Tonight.
New York City footage. Skyline Media, 2007.
[ image credits ]