Fencing Off the Rule of Law

In the infamously bad Sylvester Stallone film Judge Dredd, the eponymous character, played by Stallone himself, confronts his antagonist with the accusation that “You betrayed the law!” In response, the antagonist screams “LAW!” in a mocking, drawn-out imitation of Stallone’s voice, clearly making his contempt for the concept. Unfortunately for those of who share a home state with the people who produced such subpar nonsense (Hollywood, that is), this little exchange, while amusing, is also a depressingly apt metaphor for the attitude of California’s state government toward the law, especially when it is applied to the issue of immigration enforcement. That is, like poorly written dialogue in a bad movie, whenever this issue is brought up seriously, what should be a valid concern is mocked without refutation in the wider context of a truly embarrassing situation.

One of the most oft-cited attacks in the immigration debate is that those who support stricter border controls are simply closet racists. In this regard, Morris Dees’ notorious bastion of over-sensitivity, the Southern Poverty Law Center, posts a relatively representative sample argument, accusing even legitimate interest groups like NumbersUSA (a group which the Center begrudgingly calls “the most reasoned of the anti-immigration groups”) of consorting with “white nationalists” and writers of “racially inflammatory” material. Naturally, even if one concedes that such accusations are true, the distasteful nature of the people involved in an issue surely does not refute the idea that the issue should be dealt with, and any immigration activist should have little trouble making their case, even in spite of a few bad eggs. Nevertheless, one interesting omission seems to have been left out – nobody looks for this sort of closet racism within the same camp as those who are pro-illegal immigration.

And now, because of this oversight, I am sure many genuine pro-illegal groups will be shocked, shocked to find that racial exploitation can happy anywhere. The Contra Costa Times reports that “Community groups and Los Angeles Unified officials on Tuesday condemned an anonymous flier handed to Latino parents that threatened them with deportation if they supported plans to convert their neighborhood school to a charter.” Worse, the people ostensibly responsible for these obviously stereotypical and extortionate fliers are not, shock of shocks, such supposedly “racist” groups as the Minutemen or NumbersUSA, but rather a group whose membership in the liberal cabal has been in good order, especially in California, for ages; I refer, naturally, to the budget-gobbling Teachers’ Unions. Obviously, there are several things which should immediately horrify the reader about this story, and almost all of them can be traced to the latent effects of our legally lax immigration culture in California.

Firstly, the fact that the people responsible for these fliers automatically assumed that every poor Latino in the city of Los Angeles were illegal immigrants is highly prejudicial to the interests of those Latinos who are in the country legally. Being tarred and feathered with the same brush as criminals is poison for one’s professional prospects, reputation and social character. Unfortunately, short of the legal Latino community coming up with some sort of self-identifying mark which can determine who is a legal immigrant and who is not (both an unlikely and an unjust result), there is little that can be done about this perception, which could easily be corrected if the border patrol were actually allowed to do their job.

Secondly, the fact that the teachers’ unions targeted a population which they assumed to be non-English speaking (the fliers were written in Spanish), poor and undereducated should tell California’s people a great deal about their character, and the way in which they view their jobs. That is, far from being educators responsible for bringing inspiration to their students, teachers’ unions apparently view themselves as being glorified juvenile prison guards, simply feeding knowledge to a collection of perpetual dependents, who never have any choice about who feeds them said knowledge, or even the rate at which it is consumed. Naturally, in the absence of populations which do enter perpetual dependency due to what former President Bush called “the soft bigotry of low expectations” (especially the low expectation that learning English is optional), this sort of exploitation would be impermissible, but so long as illegal immigrants remain coddled by the law, and by the education system, the teachers’ unions will forever have their mark.

Considering both factors, there is little doubt that the twin problems of immigration and education must be speedily addressed, and hopefully with justice, rather than coddling. Otherwise, as the above example shows, everyone will suffer.