The Seattle Weekly has just asked why undocumented male immigrants are nine times more likely to be deported than female. Of course, the paper might just as well ask if (according to the Pew Foundation) one-in-nine Asians in this country are here illegally, why they are receiving a free pass from the ICE. The answer to the first question is that males are viewed as more of a threat—not necessarily as concerns crime (it’s easy for the police to concoct a “crime” just to get someone in their data base), but economically; if males are the primary breadwinners, then it is they who are “stealing” jobs from so-called “real” Americans. If the principle breadwinner is gone, then presumably the rest of the family will follow, given time (I mean, it isn’t “human” to manhandle women and children). The answer to the second question is that Asians have much more positive press than Latinos—and besides, it costs more money to deport them, so it is easy to just ignore them or give them asylum status, regardless if it is legitimate or not.
The latest bad press concerning immigrants from Central America is the claim that immigrants bring strange new diseases—a charge that is as old as time. The problem is that those most guilty happen to be white. Native Americans know this better than anyone; the reduction of the native population from a pre-contact estimate of 2 million in what is now the United States to a low of 200,000 was largely “accomplished” not through wars and massacres, but by the diseases that Europeans and their descendents brought with them. In their book After the Fact: The Art of Historical Detection, Mark Lytle and James Davidson detail how one white trader with smallpox practically wiped-out a dozen Indian villages on his route. These silent butchers had a devastating affect not just physically, but psychologically, on the native population, and one that Euro-Americans have never owned.
Of course, those same Europeans accused non-white immigrants of bringing disease with them, but always vastly overrated the “danger,” particularly relative to what Europeans wrought in this country and elsewhere. Thus it should be no surprise that the right-wing “press”—particularly Fox News—is predictably reporting fallacious, non-factual and overblown paranoia concerning the “epidemic” of disease allegedly being transported into this country by the tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant children currently being held behind bars in fetid (relative to what you are blessed with) conditions in detention camps. The Fox story was based on an unconfirmed report that 3 children in one camp had tuberculosis.
Again not surprisingly, Republicans everywhere—including in Michigan, home of the infamous immigrant hate group “The Black Legion,” which was the subject of a 1937 Humphrey Bogart film—have sounded the “alarm” in the most nauseatingly racist way. To these bigots, these children are something less than human, something that would be more apt to describe themselves. The hypocrisy cannot be more apparent than in a statement by a Republican legislative candidate in Michigan, Tom Wassa, who claims that all of the children are either “diseased” or have “gang affiliations.” Wassa also expectorated that “This places without question many Michigan families in harm’s way. President Obama should be classified as a domestic terrorist. He is creating an atmosphere of fear and terror.”
No, it is racist fanatics like Wassa and “journalists” on Fox News who are creating an atmosphere of fear and terror. The truth, however, should be more disquieting: Because of the work of the World Health Organization and government programs, these children are more likely to be vaccinated against a whole host of diseases than are children in this country. But why bother with the truth? Most people have been programmed to believe anything negative about “Mexicans”—and anyone who “looks” like one. “Mexicans” and Central American children are too useful as political props for Republicans who profit from fear and paranoia among the ignorant; it is much easier than actually “governing”—and lies are always much easier to tell than the truth.