The Weirdness of Illegal Immigration
For a green state that worries over three-inch baitfish, California has no interest in the rank pollution of its rural roadsides. I counted three mattresses, one couch, and a baby carriage tossed on a road a quarter of a mile away—that had been cleaned by the owner 48 hours earlier. But to paraphrase Petronius, why complain of the pimples on someone else’s cheek when you have a wart on your own nose? Six trash bags of wet garbage were not long ago dumped on my own alleyway and the coyotes have had a field day picking through the litter. For once in my life, I refuse to clean it all up. Will I be fined?
On the roadsides of another nearby rural highway there are now four “mobile” kitchens. But they are not really mobile kitchens, but seem permanently fixed: no plumbing other than porta-potties; no traffic impact studies, given that cars just pull off and on the highway in the midst of heavy traffic. No dinner facilities other than benches and canopies in the dirt. I admire the entrepreneurial spirit of the owners, but the entire operation would be shut down if anyone else sought a similar enterprise. (I would not recommend a German-American plopping down a frankfurter stand and making it a permanent restaurant of sorts; he would be fined and fined in a nanosecond.)
There is no “broken windows” notion that such small infractions lead to much larger ones. To read the local Fresno Bee is to collate a daily tally of stabbings, shootings, gang violence, carjackings, thefts, and chop shops—without any exegesis why this is so. Cuts in law enforcement? Therapeutic approach to the law? A complete failure to integrate and assimilate the second generation of illegal immigrants? The inability to offer jobs in a command state economy?
One reads shocking stories in California newspapers as if they exist in a vacuum: one out of four Californians admitted to hospitals for any cause proves to have onset type 2 diabetes. Forty-four percent of those admitted to the 23 campuses of the CSU system—the largest university in the world—fail either the basic English or math tests necessary for entrance. The universities spend millions of dollars on high school courses to remedy (“remediation”) the problem, even as calls grow to change (i.e., water down the nature of the test to ensure higher compliance [read Plato on that]). Are these colleges, way stations, or fifth-year high schools? For all the sophisticated studies, why is remediation soaring? To suggest that it is because of a general breakdown in primary education and a three-decade long influx of illegal immigrants is taboo. Racism, callous indifference to dreamers, red tape, greedy one-percenters who think a 13% state income tax is too high, etc., are the preferred exegeses.
Of course, in highly regulated California, there are few jobs for newcomers. Only 20% of illegal aliens now work in agriculture. We have seen a radical transformation of farmland from labor-intensive crops like tree fruit to those species entirely mechanized, as for example the jump in almond acreage over the last 30 years from 100,000 acres to over one million. Talk to farmers—and learn that labor, not just commodity prices, often drives their decisions.