Immigration Monday: Late Edition
Just let me laugh
So that I don’t weep
Let me laugh
So the shame doesn’t hurt so badly.

--Ruben Blades

Week of January 21, 2008

[Note: like Paul Harvey, I will offer “The Rest of the Story” at the end of this dispatch. I think it’s time to weigh the border-threat paradigm and look at what might be the real story. Set trends, don’t follow them. Let’s set the trend right here, right now.]

Hello, Americans. When I began this “Immigration Monday” experiment, I often wrote the sub-head: REDEFINE THE LINE.

Spunky, isn’t it? Catchy li’l motto for our Immigration Monday T-Shirts. But how, exactly, does one redefine the (border)line? By charting the course of a fence? On this first day of the Panic of ’08—worldwide fiscal melt-down, Black Tuesday—do we still believe there is money available for the fab fence? Do we really?

By the way, I have a piece coming in the San Francisco Chronicle soon—watch for it. I’ll give you the link when it’s up. It won’t be a shock to you who know me, my public work, or this blog. But it might be startling to Joe Citizen. I hope so.


What if we define the line by redefining the words? That’s a start. There can be no doubt that words set the borderline, set the agenda, and sway the public (or attempt to sway the public) by inflaming or assuaging whatever useful emotion is available. I want words to inform.

I have long railed against the inflammatory and propagandistic use of language in the *ahem* border discussion *hack! gack!* and debate we have going on in this country *cough!* Gee, I seem to have a hairball stuck in my throat. It IS a reasoned discussion, right? *heeek! heeeeek!* And everybody’s dealing honestly with the American people… * HOOOOYYYYYCK!*

If you have seen any of these postings, you already know my position on the TINY FAT MEN who need to strike BIG HARD POSTURES relating to those frigging Huddled Masses. Look at their language. It’s as inflamed and itchy as their hemorrhoids. No wonder they feel ‘rhoid rage. 100% INFLAMMATION, 0% INFORMATION.

By any lights, one would define a “border” as a line that divides two countries. Correct? This is the operative definition that fuels all our policies and our feelings of invasion. What if the definition is wrong? If not wrong, what if it’s incomplete?


What if?

Hey—I write poems. What do I know? Are our countries connected? Sho looks that way to me. Are border cultures united? Go ask ‘em. Go to El Paso, go to Brownsville.

I once suggested that the only thing left that we haven’t tried at the border is Art. I wanted to do something stupid, something the Viagra-nauts of anti-immigrant Fat Bottom Media could disparage as so gay, so defeatist, so America-hating, so New Age, so pinko, so lame, so unmanly that they could laugh at us for a week. But, you see, I thought it would be an amazing project if musicians from Mexico, and musicians from the US, would set up on either side of the fence(s) and serenade each other. A symbolic act of that pesky ol’ aberration, humane behavior.

Sing over the line that unites us. Art, you see, music, lyrics, poems—is not held by borders. They don’t need papers to cross. What if we stopped the sneering for a moment and sang to each other. Once a year?

Can you imagine Bill O’Reilly’s face? Even The Honorable Obama would be embarrassed, though perhaps John Edwards would get it.

Hey, don’t get me wrong. I’m a Capitalist! And a patriot! Do it on Teresita’s birthday, and I can sell signed Hummingbird’s Daughters to everybody, and Teresita t-shirts and Teresita miracle green tamales. Yes! I need money. I want to take my children far into the Rockies, set up the solar panels and the wind-generators and wait out the apocalypse. Buy a few acres for my Border Patrol and FBI buddies so there will be a well-armed phalanx at the perimeter. With my Shelby 5oo GT Mustang. While I’m at it, I’d like to add an S-Class Mercedes.

I know: the border serenade would be a bust--drug runners would shoot us, tear gas would choke us, badness would overrun us, evil Mexican whatevers would chop us up with machetes, blah blah blah.

Stupid idea.

But here’s another idea: Dare To Be Stupid.

No one who does not risk looking foolish will ever change the world.

BORDER, n. 1. An imaginary line imposed on an indigenous landscape by men who are not from that landscape; 2. A line that unites two different cultures and forms an unbreakable bond between them.


Jan. 23.

Hundreds of Palestinians have used their bodies, vehicles, and explosives, to destroy the border fence in the town of Rafah. They tore the fence down and flooded into Egypt.

This mass border run was a response to Israel’s harsh new border strategy of completely closing the border fences and sealing off the impoverished border town.

Read the news story here:



Recently, Mike Huckabee flailed about, stung by the hard-liners’ sniping that he was SOFT on immigration, and changed his tune and announced that he was a hard-liner himself! With God’s help, Pastor Mike plans to round up and deport all illegal immigrants in America!

Sadly, Pastor Mike didn’t notice that the boldest hard-liners on the Beaner-smacking front are gone. Yes, that’s right—Tom Tancredo and Duncan Hunter failed to stir a proper frenzy of Bean-o-phobia. Fred Thompson didn’t manage to parley big talk about li’l brown perps into anything, either. Rudy can’t make up his mind. The dems are afraid to say anything firm at all. Is John McCain really the only visionary?

Now, we must ask ourselves—in light of the Panic of ’08—can we afford to round ‘em up?

Memo to Pastor Mike:

The Center for American Progress tallied the bill, you know.

The estimate for the round up and expulsion of the unwanted immigrants living in the US today is $206 billion over 5 years.

That’s $41.2 billion ANNUALLY.

Want some perspective? The entire budget for Homeland Security is $34.2 billion a

Google it if you don’t believe me.

Wait! What’s that I smell? Mmmm—fresh horse manure.



Chi Tribune, January 16, 2008.

Pat Ahumada, the mayor of Brownsville, Texas, on the $1.2 billion border fence:

“To appease people in middle America, they are going to kill our communities along the border. The rest of America has no idea how we live our lives down here. We are linked by the Rio Grande, not divided by it. Our history, our families, our neighbors are tied together on both sides of that river.”


Who gets ignored in this mess? The border communities that, yes, are over-run. School districts. Hospitals. See what has happened to things like elder care and long-term health care in Tucson and Yuma. The funds are tapped out. I will not argue or deny that. Maybe, just maybe, the $1.2 billion being spent on the non-existent border fence could be of use to those schools and ERs?

I have suggested that the paradigm has already shifted. Illegal immigration is so 20th Century. Old news.

There is a surge, like the Iraq Surge, happening right here on American soil. Did you know? (America, as Argentine poets and Chilean folk singers so tiresomely remind us, runs from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic Circle—it ain’t just Kansas City.) That surge is the Mexican surge. Oh yes—the conservative government of Mexico has mounted a violent surge on Mexico’s criminals and drug smugglers.

Thousands of soldiers, armed Jeeps, jet fighter air support, helicopters. Snipers. Rockets, tear gas, grenade launchers. Torture and assassinations. Bombs. Violent machine-gun battles in city neighborhoods. Hey—sound familiar? Only this is not in Babylon. This is on the Mexican border.

Is anyone at all nervous that Israel/Lebanon style air sorties are flying over Tijuana?


USBP agents will tell you that the criminal element is way up, while the numbers of “illegals” have dropped. There is a border war happening. I am telling you now.

The terrible death of US Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar this week ought to peel open your eyes if you’re looking for the 2008 border story.

Radio blowhards have been belching and farting their usual rote propaganda: Agent Aguilar was run down by “illegals sneaking into the country in their Hummer.”

I heard it again last night on XM Radio.

I ask you: how many “illegals” can you imagine sneaking into Yuma Sector/East California sector in their new Hummers? Agent Aguilar was laying out a tire-strip to flatten the tires of fleeing NARCOS in a heated chase, and they AIMED at him with their Hummer and MURDERED him.


The situation is more dangerous than you think. The cartels are very powerful. They are right on the border because they smuggle through the same deserts the paisanos walk across. They have changed the immigration paradigm: narco activity, human trafficking, sex slavery. They have expanded their marijuana and cocaine distribution and moved heavily into crystal meth, everybody’s favorite peaceful mellow drug. They are rich. They are insanely well-armed. They have been protected by the Mexican military and the corrupted police operations in the north.

The Mexican Beta-Group officers, who might have fought them, are famously unarmed.

Add to this mix the participation of the terrifying Zetas. Commandos! Trained by the USA! Defected from the military elite forces. Ultra-effective warriors for the cartels. Blackwater’s evil twin.

Is it any wonder that, in this stew of escalating war, the ol’ coyotes and people-smugglers are ratcheting up their own tech and weaponry and ferocity? They seem almost nostalgic in light of the Zetas.

Yes, the bad guys aiming at Mexicans and slaughtering each other. But they’re also aiming at Luis Aguilar and my good friends in Yuma Sector. They’re aiming at you, if not with their guns, with their meth.


I told you in other postings that there is a strange land-grab going on outside of Juarez. Lomas de Poleo. Look it up.

Is there a vast new terminal coming for shipments from Mexican ports? Why have the Zapatistas suggested they might come to Juarez/El Paso? I don’t know. I keep stumbling into the conspiracy theorists—the Illuminati crowd. Is there a Nafta Corridor or isn’t there? Let’s ask Sub-Comandante Marcos.

It’s one thing for Americans to ponder revolu in Chiapas—it’s another thing to have it in Texas.


The Mexican government is systematically taking apart corrupt urban and federal police forces. Trying to train new clean cops. Moving soldiers in. Taking away police weapons. Sounds like de-Baathification to me. Sounds like Iraq.

Now, here’s another trend I find alarming: the widening split in the Mexican political fabric. The Left is pissed at the Right—allegations of voter fraud and tampered elections. Allegations that the liberal candidate for president won the popular election but had it stolen by the conservative. Sound familiar?

The Mexican surge is allegedly curtailing citizens’ civil rights. I add three words: oil, oil, oil. Holy crap—doesn’t anybody else think we need heavy duty cooperation and joint efforts on the parts of our governments? Or does that make me a Globalist?

Am I crazy to think much more is at stake here than how many “illegals” fry my burgers in Peoria and pluck my chickens in Little Rock?


The New Mexican Revolution? Yikes. I don’t even like to think about it.

I propose this: we may have strong feelings about our politics and what is or is not happening in D.C. But you can absolutely know that people in our government know what’s at stake. Do you sense softness toward illegal immigration? Do you sense appeasement?

Imagine: 2,000 miles of border raging with fire and explosions. The US economy bankrupt. Mexico’s oil and natural gas going to China.

What will the immigrant flow look like then?

Will we finally see them as refugees?


God bless Agent Luis Aguilar. No matter what you think or feel about the USBP, that agent died for you. He died for me. My tax dollars paid his salary—I paid him to do his duty.

If there is a fund set up for his family and loved ones, I will post it here.

As always, WWJD—Who Would Jesus Deport?

I did not write this document. I have no knowledge of its content.
Biff Manly

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