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  • Email Exchange With My Brother-in-law About Illegal Immigrants

    Posted by Lexington Green on December 19th, 2007 (All posts by )

    He is a nice guy, but a Lefty who always thinks the dark night of fascism is about to descend on America.

    Nope.

    BIL:

    “The biggest about-face has come from Huckabee, long admired by the
    immigrant rights movement for his policies as governor of Arkansas. Now,
    however, he is toeing the hardest anti-illegal-immigration line of any
    top-tier candidate, with… a plan, announced last week, to require all 12
    million people here illegally to leave the country within four months or
    risk serious punishment.”
    - Los Angeles Times
     
    An ambitious bureaucrat named Franz Rademacher, recently appointed leader
    of the Judenreferat III der Abteilung Deutschland, or Jewish Department of
    the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, set the plan in motion on June 3, 1940
    with a memorandum to his superior….. The memorandum included a definition
    of the mechanics of Jewish evacuation out of Europe. Rademacher espoused
    the division of eastern and western Jews. The eastern Jews, he felt, were
    the source of the “militant Jewish intelligentsia”, and should be kept
    close at hand in Lublin, Poland, to be used as a kind of hostage to keep
    American Jews in check. The western Jews, he went on, should be removed
    from Europe entirely, “to Madagascar, for example.”
     
    Once learning of the new potential of the Plan, Reinhard Heydrich,
    appointed in 1939 by Göring to oversee Jewish evacuation from
    German-occupied territory, had Ribbentrop relinquish any future actions to
    the RSHA (Reich Central Security Office). In this way, Adolf Eichmann, who
    headed the office of Jewish evacuation in the RSHA, became involved. On
    August 15th, Eichmann released a draft titled Reichssicherheitshauptamt:
    Madagaskar Projekt, calling for the resettlement of one million Jews per
    year over four years, and abandoning the idea of retaining any Jews in
    Europe whatsoever.
     
    – Wikipedia article on the Madagascar Project

    Lex:

    1. The Jews were in Germany legally.
    2. No one is advocating murdering illegals in the USA.
    3. Do you think Huckabee’s plan would be popular? Is that a problem
    in a democratic country? For each of the foregoing questions: yes or
    no, and explain. One blue book.

    BIL:

    The statements are true and the questions yes-no questions, but the issues
    are complex. I wouldn’t have forwarded you this if I hadn’t thought it an
    important issue for Republicans to discuss among themselves, as I’m sure
    you agree.

    Lex:

    I am generally pro immigrant. All my ancestors were immigrants, and
    not wealthy emigres, but as far as I can tell, they were all poor or
    lower middle class when they got here.. Yet I also understand that if
    the perception that our border is totally unsecured is not rectified,
    the public is going to have a backlash. The public is very legalistic
    in its thinking. If you “broke the law” to get in here, you are a
    criminal, and no different form a mugger or a drug dealer and we have
    enough criminals in here already without importing any more of them.
    What few citizens know is that the legitimate immigration process is
    totally fucked. You are screwed if you try to play by the rules.
    Typical government bureaucracy. We need to do two things. First,
    secure the border and enforce the law. That will be dismissed as
    racist and fascistic, but I don’t care. It is a necessary
    prerequisite to getting a majority in this country to agree to
    anything sensible. Second, we need to adequately fund and staff the
    INS and rationalize the process so that legal immigration is conducted
    in an orderly and expeditious fashion. It is not every day I say a
    government agency needs a lot more money and personnel but this is the
    moment. Churchill said he believed that in every situation you try
    to win an unambiguous victory, then negotiate a very generous
    settlement from a position of strength. Somewhat analogously, we need
    to physically secure our borders, reassure the public that we are not
    living in an anarchic situation, then go forward with sensible
    reforms.
     
    No one is talking like this. Maybe I don’t get something. But that
    is my analysis.
     
    What I think will actually happen is we will have a backlash first,
    which will be milked by all sides for political advantage. This will
    inflict a lot of misery. Then, we will suffer all kinds of unintended
    consequences. Then we may move toward some sensible solutions to the
    two problems (1) porous borders, (2) totally broken immigration
    process.
     
    Also, the argumentum ad Hitlerum is usually not an effective
    rhetorical tool except with people who are already in total agreement
    with you.

    BIL:

    Sensible arguments in your previous email. I hope you can convey them to
    the people who matter in this case, ie Republicans, not me. I guess my
    juxtaposition was an argumentum ad Hitlerum but not everybody knows that
    most of the Nazi hierarchy (perhaps not Hitler himself) wanted to deport,
    not murder the Jews and that this plan was mainly abandoned for logistical
    reasons.

    Lex:

    I have no particular influence with “Republicans” in any general sort of way.
     
    I suppose I could blog it.
     
    As deportation v. Genocide, the. Germans had a regrettable willingness
    to go down the route of extermination. Their treatment of the Hereros
    is was an interesting precursor to their Nazi-era genocidal conduct.
     
    Bottom line, Germany was a very different kind of society. We are not
    on the verge of mass violence here.

    BIL:

    No, but a mass deportation–or voluntary enforced by “severe
    punishment”–of 12 million people is being proposed for demagogic reasons.
    Those have not led to good results. (I don’t think our own past treatment
    of indigenous peoples indicates we will commit genocide.)
     
    BTW, the Wikipedia article mentions Lublin and I am coincidentally reading
    “The Magician of Lublin” by Isaac Bashevis Singer. It’s great so far –
    it could be described as dripping with sensuality, where having sex and
    eating a butter cookie are both described in an earthy, concrete, very
    real way…also very philosophical.
     
    Hard to believe that Broadway could have turned his writings into “Fiddler
    on the Roof.”

    Lex:

    Some politician shooting his mouth off is not likely to be the first
    snowflake of a hard winter.
     
    Wild proposals have to get turned into law. Then they have to get
    enforced. And they have to get past legal challenges.
     
    Our system is built robustly to be resistant to the kind of concerns
    you are raising.
     
    Of course eternal vigilance is mandatory.
     
    I think the way to deal with these troubling comments is to insist on
    details from the candidate. There would not be any.

    BIL:

    I hope you’re right.

     

    5 Responses to “Email Exchange With My Brother-in-law About Illegal Immigrants”

    1. Robert Schwartz Says:

      “Hard to believe that Broadway could have turned his [Isaac Bashevis Singer] writings into “Fiddler on the Roof.”

      Yes, it is hard to believe. That is probably why they based the play on the stories of Sholem Aleichem (nom de plume of Solomon Nachminovich Rabinowitz, 1859 –- 1916).

    2. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Some things to keep in mind about the Holocaust. The victims were mostly the inhabitants of the countries that Germany conquered.

      There were about 600,000 Jews in Germany when Hitler took over. About 160,00 German Jews died in the camps. Many fled before WWII began. Some died of natural causes during the Dozen Year Reich. A few survived.

      The rest of the 6 Million were Polish Jews (almost half) and the Jews of countries such as Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Greece, Romania and Ukraine, although the ones who accepted Soviet protection (my mother’s family is an example) survived. The Bulgarians refused to turn their Jews over to the Germans.

      Jewish communities in western Europe were also devastated, but they were much smaller to begin with.

      The Jews may have been in Germany legally, but the Germans were not legally in Eastern Europe where they did most of their damage.

    3. Shannon Love Says:

      …a Lefty who always thinks the dark night of fascism is about to descend on America.

      I’ve always ascribed this phenomenon to what I call, “Dungeons and Dragons” for intellectuals. While playing D&D and similar role playing games, people imagine themselves as characters in an exiting alternate reality. It’s an utterly safe adventure that takes place only in one’s mind.

      I think people who go hysteric over minor political disagreements seek the same kind of imaginary thrill. By investing their opponent with such malice they in turn transform themselves into shining heros waging titanic struggle against ultimate evil. It elevates politics from a dry discussion about fixing potholes to an operatic battle between good and evil.

      All that’s missing is the 20 sided dice.

    4. Rick Says:

      “No, but a mass deportation–or voluntary enforced by “severe
      punishment”–of 12 million people is being proposed for demagogic reasons.
      Those have not led to good results.”

      Surprisingly few people have heard of “Operation Wetback”, conducted by Eisenhower in 1954. The goal was to round up 1 million illegal mexican immigrants, and return them deep into Mexico. By driving or shipping them 100′s of miles into Mexico, they made it harder for the illegals to return to the US. About 80,000 we actually rounded up and deported. Another 600,000 returned to Mexico voluntarily to avoid capture and deportation. Many people say that mass deportation would be impossible, but it only requires political will.

      By the way, I agree fully with Lex: illegal immigration should be curtailed by effective enforcement, and legal immigration should be provided as a realistic alternative by clearing the backlog for legitimate immigration applications.

    5. Boldface Says:

      Lex, you say “It is not every day I say a
      government agency needs a lot more money and personnel but this is the
      moment.”

      The reason it’s the moment is that controlling a sovereign country’s borders is part of what governments are supposed to do. That, together with national defense, police and courts are the most basic functions of government even according to most libertarians. And I think you’re right: we have to get control of the borders and rationalize the legal immigration process before most anyone will really be willing to think non-viscerally about the illegal immigrants.