Documenting the Undocumented
White Flight of Fancy
Documenting the Undocumented
This was an excellent article that raises many of the issues (positive and negative) associated with illegal immigration. I have no doubt that organizations like the Minutemen attract racists, but that doesn’t mean all their members are racist. These groups do not exist in a void, and writing their existence off to “fear and ignorance and hate” is completely shallow, delusional and utterly useless. Instead, Wylie’s article begins to address the issue of illegal immigration in an intelligent, thought-provoking manner.
I do feel that some of the statements in the article could have been addressed more completely. For example, if jobs that are underpaid or “just hard work” would go unfilled without immigration (illegal or legal), ultimately wouldn’t supply and demand raise their pay rate and/or their working conditions? Granted, this may mean more expensive houses and produce, but that may be the cost our country must pay for secure borders and decent standards of living for its citizens. As another example, “complaints of undocumented immigrants abusing the welfare system are unsubstantiated” regarding food stamps may be true, but when a child is born to undocumented immigrants, what happens? Some conservatives have charged that this is akin to “hitting the jackpot,” making the parents and child eligible for a multitude of services and benefits that were previously out of reach. How common are such births? Can hospitals even compile and publish these statistics?
Overall, though, the article seemed fair and even-handed. I was not aware of the extent that NAFTA had negatively impacted Mexican agriculture. I don’t know that this is necessarily the case, but wouldn’t it be ironic if food produced in the United States, harvested by displaced Mexican farm workers, is shipped to Mexico, packaged by Goya, and then re-sold here in the United States at a local Mexican grocery...to displaced Mexican farm workers? Maybe it’s not ironic at all.
I look forward to the next installment of this story.
Thomas P. Karnowski
The United States and Mexico hold a complex history, and both are dependent of one another in major ways. Thus far, you’ve casually painted your country with colors of economic grandeur and evangelizing democracy, but have done nothing in depicting an accurate portrait of Mexico. The immigrants who left Europe for the New World were not escaping third-world countries, but seeking opportunity. These ancestors of yours are not so different from Mexicans who seek to ameliorate their families’ well-being by sacrificing, more often than not, everything.
Others thrive in Mexico; oftentimes Americans do, from the resources and opportunities shared with its neighbor. Mexico continues to lead the world in the production of silver and other minerals; plants and factories are responsible for millions of electronic and other technological devices consumed in the United States; cement in the United States comes almost entirely from the Mexican corporation Cemex, now also established domestically; and Mexico’s economy consistently maintains its place among the top contenders of Latin America.
To write the country off as a dreadful hole from which, seemingly, every citizen desires to escape, shows not just a lack of apprehension, experience and insight to your subject, but also a certain kind of pretense with which every writer should do without, in assuming true value towards informing and educating the reader.
White Flight of Fancy
First of all, the new library, to be moved only four doors down in the same block of Asheville Highway as the present library, is not being “constructed in Holston Hills,” as the complaint charges. The boundaries of Holston Hills don’t begin for several blocks east on Asheville Highway and several more blocks south on Chilhowee Drive from the new site—over a mile away.
Neely flatly states that the current location of the Burlington branch library is “adjacent to the old community of Burlington.” Once again, that is a complete distortion of the truth. The boundaries of Burlington don’t begin for over a mile away in the other direction to the west of the current location, which again is in the sameblock as the new location. Burlington is also not, as Neely suggests, a “community where the races are equally balanced.” For decades now, it has been overwhelmingly black.
When the library was located “several blocks closer to the city center,” as the article states, it was patronized and supported overwhelmingly by whites even though it was located in a predominately black neighborhood. That was prior to the move that was made in 1993 to the present location, which everyone agreed was a good one, since it made the library more accessible to its users and put it in a much safer area. Its location prior to 1993 was in an area that has been targeted by Knoxville police as a high crime area, and the streets around it are posted as such. It was thus unsafe for library patrons, black or white, to go there even during the day, much less at night, making the library’s services far less available to anyone, since hours were severely curtailed.
The complaint also contends that moving the Burlington branch to Five Points would make it more accessible to Austin East High School. Not only is that untrue, since the new location is just as close to Austin East as Five Points, but Austin East, as a magnet school, already has one of the best libraries in the county. Very few, if any, Austin East students ever patronized the library when it was far closer to the school than it is now.
Both the story and the complaint are without merit. The state should summarily dismiss the complaint and your publication’s readers should totally dismiss the premise upon which the article was written, including any inferences made therefrom.
Another lie in the article is that it is “a natural consequence” for people to overlap, at least in the European sense. Look back in history as far as you like and you will see that the most natural thing was for people to defend their borders, to maintain or try to maintain their integrity and their national identity by force of arms.
The article gives both sides, but the bias is apparent in the last word. We could make illegal aliens legal with the Orderly Immigration Act. We could also do away with the problem of drunk driving by requiring drunk drivers to register themselves.
Guidelines for Incoming Mail