In Social Justice Land, flouting US immigration law is deliberately portrayed as a badge of honour
This dispatch from deep inside SJW-land, purporting to provide “undocumented immigrants” with ways to “love themselves”, warrants line-by-line deconstruction.
Ella Mendoza writes at Everyday Feminism (naturally):
When you’re constantly the subject of laws, amendments, and media speculation, it’s easy to forget that you’re more than just a number.
Technically we are all the “subject” of laws and amendments – the Rule of Law isn’t some spiteful system concocted for the specific purpose of tormenting only those who choose not to respect national borders. But let us continue.
Your existence is valid, regardless of how you crossed the border, where you’re from, and where you’re today. Human beings cannot be “illegal,” especially in a country whose laws are built on the enslavement of Black people and the murder of Native people.
When the government talks about laws upon our bodies, we have to remember that no matter how much they tell us that our existence is “illegal,” they’re wrong.
Here is the first disingenuous straw man argument – and it only took us two sentences to get there. Nobody, not even the most hardcore anti-immigration zealot, believes that people themselves are illegal. That would be stupid. Nobody disputes that everyone’s existence is “valid”. Everyone is a child of God (if you believe in God), everyone has certain inherent and inalienable rights. But those rights do not presently include sticking a pin in a map and deciding to relocate to another country without first obeying that country’s immigration laws and procedures. The crime or civil violation is illegal, not the person, just as someone who drives faster than the speed limit or burgles someone’s house does not become personally illegal because of their transgression.
But it so suits the propaganda purposes of the open borders zealots to roll around on the floor pretending that Evil Conservatives are declaring their very bodies “illegal” (and what is this strange obsession with bodies in SJW-land?) that they cannot bring themselves to let the deception go. Pretending that border control advocates consider All Immigrants (activists deliberately blur the line between legal and “undocumented”) to be inherently illegitimate makes it easier to accuse them of wanton, inhumane cruelty rather than intellectually engaging with their argument and doing the much harder job of making a coherent case for a borderless world.
Take Time to Take Care of Your Needs
Sometimes this is the hardest thing to do, as everyone faces undocumentation in different ways, and through different lenses.
“Faces undocumentation”? What a peculiar turn of phrase. It is almost as though the author is trying to suggest that “undocumentation” is a condition inflicted upon a hapless victim (whoops! where did my documents go?) by the snarling, evil state rather than the consequence of a person’s deliberate decision to violate immigration law.
As a small-C conservative who believes in upholding and strengthening the nation state but who maintains great sympathy with America’s illegal immigrant population – and who would gladly see some form of amnesty so long as it were part of a grand bargain, to be enacted when border security and internal cooperation between agencies is properly strengthened – I would have a lot more respect for illegal immigration advocates if they would just stop lying.
But unfortunately they seem determined to insult our intelligence at every turn, first by always talking about “immigrants” in general, so as to blur the line between those who followed the rules and those who did not, and secondly by pretending that illegal or “undocumented” status is something inflicted on the subject by government rather than being the direct consequence of their own action (or the action of family members in the case of minors).
How can one have a meaningful dialogue with people who have convinced themselves that your desire to see the law enforced and legal immigrants treated fairly means that you consider the very existence of “undocumented” people to be illegal? Where is the potential compromise with somebody who has no respect for the law and who will not be satisfied with anything less than fully open borders and the de facto abolition of nation states?
As migrants, we have been taught that in order to have our needs met, we must assimilate and work through the system. But this is not true.
No, sorry, not migrants. Illegal immigrants. But yes, no matter how one comes to be in a new country, assimilating into that culture and learning to work through existing systems is surely pretty sound advice. What good do activists like Ella Mendoza possibly think they are doing by telling people that they should refuse to assimilate as a point of pride?
As someone who has made up her mind about not pursuing citizenship, I often find myself questioning not just this choice, but all choices in my life.
Wait, what? The natural reading of this sentence would suggest that Ella Mendoza has the opportunity to pursue US citizenship but has “made up her mind” to instead remain an illegal immigrant in America. This is preposterous – she should question her choice, and continue questioning it until she arrives at a less moronic answer. Why willingly remain in the shadows if there is a path to citizenship available, other than to deliberately thumb your nose at the very concept of citizenship in the first place?
I can think of no other reason for this – readers, please correct me if I am wrong – than the fact that Mendoza is so wedded to the idea of herself as a hapless, persecuted victim that she is unwilling to take the steps toward legalisation and citizenship because to do so would deprive her of a critical part of her identity as a persecuted “undocumented” person. This is a sickness, pure and simple – how else to describe deliberate, self-inflicted fragility of this kind?
Allow yourself to breathe and make hard choices, as well as postpone the easy ones. Sometimes time can feel so heavy and so uncertain. By being hard on ourselves, we are only traumatizing our bodies more and more.
Remember that you made the right choice by choosing to live.
Though many will tell you that you could’ve done it differently, remember that your migration to this country meant choosing to survive, no matter what.
Your body has survived the trauma of borders and the bureaucracy of colonization. You’re a living breathing testament to your dreams.
What is this weepy, overwrought nonsense?
Look: many people currently living illegally in America are deserving of real sympathy – pulled as much as pushed into their adopted country by a rapacious underground economy which demanded their labour and let down by successive generations of politicians who preferred them to toil cheaply in the shadows rather than acknowledge their contributions or confer the rights – and responsibilities – of citizenship. Local, state and federal government (not to mention unscrupulous employers) often bear equal responsibility for the situation, but this does not diminish the agency and responsibility of those who nonetheless choose to flout federal immigration law.
And of course many people currently living illegally in America have indeed faced trauma, violence and persecution in their home countries, that much is also not disputed. And by virtue of that fact, many (though certainly not all) illegal immigrants are sadly accustomed to adversity the likes of which most of us can scarcely imagine. Therefore, the last thing that they probably need is some prancing SJW to come along to infantilise them and teach them how to better “love themselves”. This kind of kindergarten nonsense is effective only on cosseted middle class American college kids who grew up entirely ignorant of real hunger, want or danger, and who actually think that somebody saying something mean about them online or in a newspaper article constitutes a mortal danger and an assault on their person.
Colonization and assimilation are both very hard subjects on our bodies. As migrants, we’re not from here, and as undocumented migrants, we’re told that we don’t belong here, either.
In order to survive, we’re often forced to adapt to a country whose culture consists of appropriation and theft, as well as an overwhelming amount of artificial media.
Decolonizing our bodies is more than just a ten-step program.
Well done for avoiding Nicholas Kristof’s mistake of comparing “oppression” to a twelve-step recovery program from addiction; ten steps is much more neutral.
It’s a daily practice of reconnecting and challenging the way our lives have been whitewashed, challenging the ways our bodies have been educated to assimilate into a system that profits from our struggle.
Let’s put aside the irony of someone who claims to speak for an army of people who intend to settle in a new country in flagrant defiance of local immigration laws while proudly refusing to assimilate (her words, not mine) into the local culture actually daring to accuse the host population of somehow being the colonists in that situation. I trust that any reader of sound mind will immediately perceive that if anything, the situation is reversed.
Remind Yourself That You Are Magical
You are a magical human being.
Your body has defied laws and lines on papers and maps. You crossed these lines and now find yourself in a strange place that you have somehow built a home out of.
In order to make this home real, you’ve had to find a way to live, a way to connect, and a way to survive.
Many of us did this without speaking the local language. All of us did this in fear. Yet, through these obstacles you have survived. You’re here, living, and breathing, and still traveling in many ways.
You’re not from here. But you’re not from there either – not anymore.
Instead, you’re from somewhere else.
Your body belongs only to you and the culture you’ve created from living in between worlds. You’re a survivor. You’re a traveler.
What does this garbage even mean? No, you are not “magical”. If you want to be seen as exceptional and deserving of praise and affirmation from dawn to dusk then for heaven’s sake, try doing something exceptional and deserving of praise. Do not expect or demand validation and encouragement for glorifying in your violation of US immigration law, as though there is something inherently virtuous in deciding to jump the queue and demand unearned residency in another country.
If you truly believe – having actually sat down for a few minutes and thought through the consequences of what you are advocating – that you want to swiftly bring about a borderless world where anybody can demand (and be unconditionally granted) residency of any country where they wish to live, with no strings attached and no commensurate responsibilities of citizenship, then by all means make that argument. Be my guest. Explain how tearing down border fences and customs checkpoints while singing Kumbaya can be accomplished without wreaking huge economic disruption and social unrest upon millions if not billions of people. Explain how a society of people who feel entitled to indulge whatever fanciful whim pops into their head without moral restraint or the slightest thought for the consequences creates and maintains a cohesive society. Please, go ahead and make that case.
Just don’t come back with any more of this childish yet cynical and manipulative twaddle about how those evil people who believe in border security and the rule of law are so heartless and cruel that they consider the “bodies” of “undocumented immigrants” to be inherently illegal, their very existence a crime. Try to win the argument on its intellectual and moral merits, if you dare, but enough of the emotional blackmail.
But of course they will not stop. Reductive, black and white arguments and piercing moral outrage are all that the SJWs have left, any intellectual or moral basis for their beliefs having rotted away long ago.
Support Semi-Partisan Politics with a one-time or recurring donation:
Agree with this article? Violently disagree? Scroll down to leave a comment.