You may have heard of a man named Lou Dobbs (I think of him as Loud Dobbs). He has a daily rant on CNN television, which comes on around supper time. It should be sponsored by an antacid company because if anything will give you heartburn, this program will. Demagogue Dobbs will say anything, twist any fact, press any “hot button” to get his supporters fired up.
At the end of each program he asks some silly question, like “do you think illegal immigrants should be allowed to remain in America?” Invariably, the response is 90-something percent for the Dobbs’ position (which is, of course, NO!).
I swear this guy thinks so much of himself that you can actually see his head swelling. One of these days it will probably explode like a Gallagher watermelon. Among his fantasies is the notion that the voters of New Jersey want him to run for governor, and there’s even a Web site calling for Lou Dobbs to stand for the Presidency of the United States.
Anyway, Dobbs (photo at left) is a leading voice in the clamor for deportation of America’s 12 million to 20 million undocumented immigrants. He denies that he wants them all rounded up and shipped out of the country, but I haven’t heard him say what he wants done with them. I know he wants them gone.
And he wants America to build an impregnable wall along its Mexican border to keep “illegal aliens” out. He doesn’t say what he wants to do along the Canadian border, but I imagine it would be something similar. Canucks flood the U.S. (especially Florida) in the winter, clogging the traffic, crowding the golf courses and beaches, and saying “eh” all over the place. I am sure Dobbs wouldn’t want to put up with anything like that!
Anyway, it looks as if Dobbs and his fellow-travelers might be getting their wish. Gail Russell Chaddock of the Christian Science Monitor reports today that the immigration tide is turning and many illegal immigrants are going home.
“Some 1.3 million illegal immigrants have left the United States since Congress failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the summer of 2007.” the report states. “If the trend continues, according to a new study, the nation’s illegal population will drop by half in the next five years.”
Quoting the Center for Immigration studies, a think tank with a record of opposing illegal (and even some legal) immigration – the reporter says young Hispanic immigrants are heading south partly because of a slowing U.S. economy and partly because of stepped up enforcement of immigration laws.
Dobbs and his followers should be pleased. But the rest of us might wonder what the implications of this trend might be.
I see acres of unharvested strawberries rotting in the Florida and California sun, dust blowing across fields that once were green with vegetable crops, potatoes unharvested in the ground and oranges falling from the trees – and, inevitably, soaring prices at the supermarket. Unwashed dishes will likely pile up at restaurants and unwashed diapers will collect at the homes of the effete “upper middle class.” Who knows, some of Dobbs’ rich friends might even have to cook their own meals for a change.
Am I defending illegal immigration? Of course not. I believe – as you do – in the rule of law. But there are mitigating circumstances this time. First, many illegal immigrants are victims, not perpetrators. They were lured across the border by promises of a better life only to find themselves in bondage. (Just a few years ago, two migrant labor bosses in Lake Placid, Florida were convicted of practicing slavery!)
Second, much of the work done by illegal aliens is unattractive to Americans. If the immigrants go home, the government will have to arrange for contract workers (from places like Jamaica) to take their place – and I don’t see that happening so far.
Third, it would be inhumane to round up long-time residents of this country, some of whom were brought here as children, and ship them off to some place where they have no way of making a living. (And it would be logistically impossible to round up so many millions, anyway.)
It could well be time for Congress to get moving on a comprehensive immigration package to address the issue – before Lou Dobbs and his disciples get their wish.