Now that the race has moved from South Carolina to Florida, Mitt Romney has to pander his vote to the people who are most concerned about immigration (for now), Hispanics. Indeed, all of the candidates do, but Romney’s “amazing new plan” (spoiler: it isn’t new) of self-deportation seems to not only be an attempt to win voters back after the disaster of South Carolina, but to please Hispanic voters, as well as voters who are pro-deportation.
The gist of the plan is this: papers please. Need a job? We need ID that shows you’re legally here. Need a license? Same. The goal is to make everything require proof of legal residency; if immigrants can’t gain access to basic necessities, it’s assumed that they’ll either go about the “correct” way of attaining citizenship, or leave the country. If it sounds familiar, it’s SB 1070 with new language and a cute name, a cute ploy to win over immigrant sympathetic voters who are yearning for a solution, while giving anti-immigration hawks what they want.
What’s going to happen if this were to pass? In Romney’s imagination, it seems that all undocumented immigrants are going to pack up their sombreros and maracas and salsa back to the border together, waving and saying “Hasta Luego, El Presidente.” Will this Republican fantasy of an immigrant exodus occur? No. Immigrants will just go into hiding. Remember all of those kids disappearing at the start of the school year? It’ll happen across the country. These people will go into hiding, where they will be forced to find less than desirable jobs. And not all of them will be kid-friendly, either!
Just think of all the opportunities for exploitation! That 15 year-old from Colombia you’ve been pimping out not making enough money? She’s not going to go to the cops if you beat her, she’s illegal. No repercussions. Imagine a legion of poor, strong men desperate for work. Need a few strong men to take people out or push drugs for you? Score. What’s going to happen if one of them gets arrested? He gets sent back home, nobody to fight for him in court, and who’s going to be the bad guy in the news? And the men and women who actually do head to the border to leave? What of them? It doesn’t seem to matter to the Romneys of the world what happens to these immigrants when they’re out of sight.
Self-deportation will not work in practice. Where it will work is in winning over voters who think Romney is offering a new solution to the immigration issue of America. It’ll send immigrants into the shadows, where crime might be the only option for work at that point. It’s unfortunate that, instead of approaching immigration logically, the Romneys of the world are trying to implement ideas proven problematic from states like Arizona, Georgia and Alabama on a national scale.
[Photo By Jessica Rinaldi]