Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor…

I’ve seen posts here and there warning that immigration — specifically over our southern border — is going to be a hot-button issue for the next election cycle, and I have to say that I agree. Two stories today point the way.

In the first, I note a rising number of attempts to link not just the Mexican border, but Mexico itself, with terrorism.

For more than a year, the shirts and pants worn by agents
and inspectors with U.S. Customs and Border Protection have been made in
Mexico, and some complaints were made when they were initially
distributed. The uniforms are supplied by VF Solutions of Nashville,
Tenn., which subcontracts its work to plants in the United States,
Mexico, Canada and the Dominican Republic.

Do people care about the huge amount of technology outflow from America and how that affects security, or our stunning lack of energy independence, or any number of other issues that have a long-term effect on national security? No. They care that the Border Patrol’s uniforms are … gasp … MADE IN MEXICO. Why is “Made in Mexico” bad but “Made In Canada” or “Made in the Dominican Republic” not bad?

Agents and lawmakers are concerned about the consequences if
the uniforms for agents charged with combating illegal immigration fall
into the hands of criminals or terrorists.

I don’t like pointing fingers and yelling “RACISM!” but more and more, it seems that’s what’s going on here. A concerted attempt is being made to make Americans scared of the hordes of short, swarthy, non-English speaking masses teeming below our borders.

The second article is actually about disarray in the Bush White House, but what I find notable is this bit:

Not ready to throw in the towel and declare the boss a lame
duck, the Bushies are hoping two issues can help firm up their base and
perhaps make inroads with centrists who voted for Bush: the anticipated
confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, and a plan to
reinforce the border with Mexico to help stop illegal immigration.

This week Bush will begin to press the border security issue.

It seems to me that this administration is feeling the political tide turning against them, and in their increasingly-desperate attempts to staunch the flow, they are falling back on an old friend, the race card. And sadly, it will probably help shore up support, because although almost nobody will admit it, racism still lurks in many a heart in America.

I’ll be thinking more about the issue of immegration and posting some more thoughts on it in the not-too-distant future.

UPDATE: looks like the plan is kicking into action.

President Bush is trying to build support for a comprehensive immigration strategy