September 15, 2006

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Público

Si baja la natalidad: se elimina la emigración.

La gente de los países en vías de desarrollo debe entender, que los ciudadanos de países desarrollados, si hemos alcanzado este nivel de bienestar, es por larga experiencia, de traer pocos hijos al mundo y haber equilibrado la ley de la oferta y la demanda en el trabajo. Cada año nacen 100 millones de niños en el mundo, el 80% en países pobres. Es decir, 80 millones de inmigrantes potenciales, muchos, intentaran llegar a países desarrollados atravesando desiertos, saltando alambradas o cruzando mares en cayucos o pateras, buscando una oportunidad para mejorar su situación.

Si bajase la natalidad del tercer mundo a los niveles europeos, los emigrantes no tendrían necesidad de emigrar, porque su fuerza laboral seria necesaria en su país de origen. El ejemplo de España nos puede servir: Entre los años 40 y 70 tuvimos una tasa de natalidad muy elevada, fueron años de mucha miseria. Durante la década de los 60 emigraron fuera de nuestro país 3.500.000 de españoles a Alemania y otros países europeos. La capacidad económica de los españoles se fue consolidando a finales de los 70 cuando empezó a bajar la natalidad y en la década de los 80 se empezó a registrar la tasa de natalidad mas baja de todo del mundo. Esto supuso el punto de inflexión, que nos condujo a pisarle los talones en bienestar social a los países mas adelantados de Europa, que no por casualidad tenían una larga tradición en poca natalidad.

Hay una regla universal que a los economistas les cuesta reconocer: “Cuanto menor es el crecimiento de la natalidad, mayor es el nivel de bienestar de sus ciudadanos; cuanto mayor es el crecimiento de la natalidad, mayor es su nivel de miseria” y “En los países donde se mantiene durante mas años ese descenso, son los que tienen mayor bienestar”. Cualquier estudiante de economía puede realizar los gráficos correspondientes a cada país del mundo y podrá comprobar, que salvo pequeñas variaciones, se mantiene lo empírico de esta ley. Si la natalidad baja en el tercer mundo, desatara una reacción en cadena que progresivamente acabaría con el hambre, la guerra, la miseria y la enfermedad. Desaparecería el concepto de tercer mundo o primer mundo. Desaparecería el termino “inmigrante”. El racismo y el rechazo al inmigrante, daría paso a la hospitalidad, a la desaparición de las fronteras, sus alambradas y sus muros.

Pero, que no esperen los inmigrantes, que desde el mundo rico solucionen su problema, ya que este, por las reglas del mercado, necesita de la mano de obra barata del tercer mundo, y de sus gobiernos inestables, para que no puedan competir en un mercado reservado a los pocos que dictan las reglas del comercio mundial. Todos aquellos inmigrantes que vengan a la Europa o la América rica, que aprendan la lección, como en su día, la tuvimos que aprender los españoles pobres que veíamos lo bien que vivían las familias de lo países del norte de Europa con pocos hijos. Porque en aquella España, estábamos sometidos al nacional-catolicismo, que nos adoctrinaba con frases como: “los niños vienen al mundo con un pan bajo el brazo” o “los niños son una bendición de Dios; vengan todos los que Dios quiera”.  Por lo que hay que concienciar al mundo subdesarrollado, que la única forma de salir de su miseria es: no traer bebes al mundo sin un futuro asegurado. Atte.

Antonio Cánaves Martín.
España

Border War = Border Lies

I recently attended the premiere of Border War: The Battle over Illegal Immigration, a new documentary attacking undocumented immigrants financed by Citizens United, a right wing think tank based in Washington D.C. The movie has received wide acclaim from right-wing pundits such as Michelle Malkin and is destined to become a favorite of minutemen and sympathizers.

Border War is a boring documentary that tries to create fear of immigrants through human interest stories set to a mundane soundtrack. The problem with Border War is not just in the simple-minded, rehashed, anti-immigrant arguments that it propagates but its inability to entertain and its flimsy, formulaic premise.

The film uses a series of vignettes of people on the ‘frontlines’ of the immigration war to elicit sympathy for anti-immigrant forces. One of the 5 characters is Teri March, the widow of slain Los Angeles sheriff deputy Dave March. Dave March was killed by an undocumented immigrant who fled to Mexico and was extradited back into the United States after 3 years. The viewer is suffocated with the sad images of Teri grieving over her dead husband and seeking justice in the form of extradition, all the while pummeling the viewer with the fact that Armando Garcia, March’s killer, was an “illegal alien.” The fact is that Armando Garcia is a killer and a career criminal. Does that mean all immigrants are criminals? The underlying message was that this could happen to any legal American. This story directly promotes the racist myth that all immigrants are criminals.

Border War spends a great deal of time hyping up the criminal element. In one scene of character J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.), Tom Tancredo-light, was debating the felonious aspect of immigration with two of his right-wing buddies. They continuously spit out statistics, “85,000 felons, 400,000 absconders,” the scene was used to exaggerate the criminal threat, again, coming from the so-called “illegal aliens.” According to the Nation Institute, “there is little evidence that undocumented immigrants are disproportionally responsible for crime.” On the contrary, they are often themselves victims of crimes, as they are less likely to report anything to the police.

Another character is Jose Maheda, a Mexican-American INS undercover agent. Various scenes show him apprehending human smugglers and undocumented immigrants. The scenes with Maheda are reminiscent of COPS. Maheda’s story contradicts the main argument of the film because of its unintended portrayal of poor victimized immigrants at the hands of coyotes and the ICE. In one scene Maheda is in a warehouse full of marijuana. I was confused. What does a warehouse with 40 tons of marijuana have to do with the 11 million law-abiding immigrants that work and live here every day? This was another blatant move by directors trying to blame or associate the drug trade with immigration.

The movie also worked on diffusing the stereotype of the white racist anti-immigrant. Many of the anti-immigrants interviewed were Mexican-Americans like Lupe Moreno, despite the fact that the significant majority of anti-immigrant forces are white and native-born US citizens. Lupe Moreno was also presented as a victim of Illegal Immigration. She had a terrible childhood; she grew up in a house that doubled as a safe house for immigrants. You can’t help but to empathize with Moreno—her dad was a human smuggler and she claims that she was abused as a child. Lupe Moreno is a prominent member of the Minutemen and was shown, at various occasions, praising Jim Gilchrist and condemning the so-called “illegal immigrants.” Moreno is a prototypical anti-immigrant character who is quick to blame all immigrants for her unique and disturbing life. Like, Teri March, Moreno is a victim who is not interested in forgiveness, instead channels her energy into hatred. Confusingly, she married one of the undocumented immigrants who lived with her in her father’s safe house. She never says anything bad about him; on the contrary, she claims she was protected by him.

The last vignette was about Enrique Morones, the only voice from the left that was included in this movie. Enrique Morones is a human rights activist who heads Border Angels, a group that provides food and water for undocumented immigrants at strategic areas near the U.S. border. Morones’ main interest is saving lives and it shows. In one scene where Morones is visiting La Casa del Imigrante, a safe house for immigrants in Tijuana, the directors interviewed some of the immigrants. Ridiculously, the film focused on those who claimed they were criminals or who were involved in criminal activity. Only one of the immigrants interviewed talked about working and reuniting with his family. This is huge contradiction with my experiences and the experiences of the activists and human aid people who have actual direct contact with large sections of the immigrant working class.

Border War was disappointing for its simplicity of thought. How can you sum up the complex issue of immigration by criminalizing all immigrants and by showcasing two tragic and unfortunate victims? The failure of this movie is that it has nothing constructive to offer the immigration debate. It is clear that it was never the intention of the directors and producers to do so. Border War is an outlandish and dangerous piece of propaganda that can be used to recruit anti-immigrant forces. It is a continuation of the racist’s sentimental drivel (think Nancy Grace & Fox News) that has been spewing from the right for the past 3 years. It continues to present the complex issue of immigration in an antagonistic, us vs. them model that does nothing to flesh out and unravel the layers of complexity of the issue. It is a simple-minded, one-sided affair that does not even acknowledge the vast majority of hard-working law abiding immigrants that contribute to both the U.S. and Mexican economies and continue to live and work with no protection from the law in substandard conditions.

As I watched the film, flanked by its director, writer, production crew, and around 75 sympathizers who cheered on Jim Gilchrist, Moreno and other anti-immigrant simpletons, I was saddened by the fact that the opportunity for much needed dialog from the right was lost and replaced with all too familiar scapegoating and vilification of immigrants which will just create more hysteria. Goebbels would have been proud.

Ty Coronado
San Diego

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