Friday, February 24, 2006

Make migrants pay!

Let's build a wall.

My friend Francis Calpotura at TIGRA passed on an obscure article reporting an anti-migrant initiative that we may see more of.

In Arizona, legislators want to put on the ballot a measure to build an impenetrable border fence. The origin of the idea is quite clear:

The ballot question asks voters to approve a Mexican border wall to be constructed by the state government. It piggybacks on federal plans to construct border walls and security fences along the 2,000-mile southern border.

Arizona Republican Congressman Trent Franks and Rick Renzi have voiced support for increased border walls and fences. Franks supports a measure building a wall along the entire border. Renzi supports Israeli-style security fences near border cities and well traveled crossing points.

But what is really special about this Arizona measure is how they propose to pay for it. Arizonans want grab 8 percent of international money transfers from Arizona to build the wall. That is, they want to charge Mexican workers who risk their lives crossing the desert seeking work to feed families at home for the cost of trying to keep them out. As Francis says, "twisted."

Georgia legislators hope to get into a similar act, though they don't have a border wall to finance. A recently passed measure aims to make banks collect a 5 percent tax from anyone who tries to wire money outside the U.S, but can't prove legal immigration status. There was opposition.

"What we're about to do is tax people who are doing the best they can to provide for their families," said Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, the only Republican to vote against the bill. "I have a moral problem with that."

Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway, lectured his Republican colleagues for pushing legislation to allow counties to display the Ten Commandments at the same time they're targeting illegal immigrants. "You can't insist on having the Ten Commandments hung if you don't live the Ten Commandments!" he said.

Nice to know someone in the Bible belt has actually read the book.

Wire transfers by migrant workers out of the United States are estimated to amount to $100 billion annually. If these measures are implemented, a 5 percent tax would yield something like $5 billion for exclusionary measures. Lovely prospect.


Grace RN said...

Twisted morals; we are trying to keep out the people who want to come here, work at the lowest wages doing the scut jobs no American would degrade him/herself by doing, and continue to pay welfare to Americans who won't get off their asses to find a job?

janinsanfran said...

Actually, we've reduced "welfare" to a shadow its 1990s peak -- and don't even try to find out what happened to the people. As a society, we clearly care a lot more about money for the haves than about what happens to the majority.

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