Thursday, July 10, 2014

Today we get to see the starting gun of the great crisis of the 21st century.  All of those children swept up in the net of the INS and held in holding facilities without enough beds or bathrooms?  That's the preview reel.  This situation has been racking up big numbers in foreign markets, but it's going to come here in a big way.  Illegal aliens, undocumented workers, refugees, sans papiers if you speak French, displaced persons.  Unless we want our border fences to be built from the skulls of huddled masses yearning to breathe free, America is going to need a better immigration policy.

We are going to need to figure out how to house and feed people, by the thousands as quickly as overnight.  Because storms aren't getting any milder and the sea level doesn't look like it will be sinking anytime soon.  If that means FEMA trailers, ideally mark 2 or 3 ones that don't give off formaldehyde or rot with poisonous mold, then let's build FEMA trailers.  If that means re-purposing old shopping malls, let's do that too, if that means we can spare golf courses from becoming brand new homes for displaced people, let's not because golf is boring as hell and it's a fucking waste of water, fertilizer and real estate, and if there's enough land and fresh water for a golf course, there's enough land and fresh water for a small town.  

Realistically the immigration crisis is not much more urgent today than it was yesterday.  We still have time to plan.  But it's coming and it doesn't have to be a catastrophe.  Building cities from scratch is a thing that used to happen all the freaking time in US.  Welcoming immigrants is a thing we used to know how to do.  Turning from immigrants into Americans is the central narrative of nearly every family in the US.  We can build schools, and factories and homes.  We have rust belt cities that have been bleeding population for decades  There are counties in rural America where the population is in free fall,  there is room for more Americans.  The energy that it takes to cross the desert, or ocean to reach the relative safety of our shores is the same energy that could revitalize our economy and rebuild our infrastructure.