This morning on NPR, they had some guy on who was spearheading an effort against illegal immigration. He claimed it had nothing to do with racism, but that he was just against people breaking the law. This seems to be the popular "I'm not a racist but..." excuse for people zealously supporting anti-illegal immigration measures.
It stuck me how similar this argument is to the way many people defend the South's position in the Civil War. Working in construction, I heard time and time again that the Civil War wasn't about slavery, it was about state's rights. See, nothing racist there at all.
While both of those excuses may have truth to them, there are true reasons behind the excuses that people want to ignore. Now, I'm not a history scholar, but it seems to me that the state's rights issue in the Civil War had something to do with the South wanting slavery and the North thinking that a bit uncouth. Sure, state's rights were at issue, but the rights in question had to do with slavery.
I find people who support the anti-illegals movement to be similarly disingenuous. If these people are so in favor of people following the law of the land, why not go after people who park in handicapped spaces or people who speed? They could chose to go after internet predators or illegal downloaders. I mean there are tons of crimes one could pick to devote time and energy to. Why this one?
Like the state's rights people, those who claim to be supporting doing things the right way are technically correct. It's true, people coming into the country illegally are breaking the law. But I can't help but feel the dark skinned boogeyman in the corner has more than a little to do with why this issue has ignited such a passion for laws and fair play in people who would remain quietly indifferent on so many other examples of law breaking.