Illegals in Our Midst!!!


What do you get when you combine the two things conservatives seem to hate most, the French and  immigrants in violation of the law (or at least some bureaucratic rule)? An odd silence.

Matt points out the interesting hypocrisy of those who support the efforts of the Zirottis to remain in Montana, but rail against other illegal immigrants. Like the Zirottis, many of these immigrants provide valuable service to our country. In fact, one might suggest that they are more critical than fine French dining.

So where is the outrage? Could it be skin color? European background? Sure, those matter, but the more obvious answer is that it is easier to demonize a group of people than individuals. Images of 12 million illegals streaming over the border are meant to frighten us into acquiescence. People aren’t naturally racist or ethnocentric; the power of individual relationships across races and nationalities makes that clear. Would we be so likely to demand the deportation of illegal aliens if we knew them as we knew the Zirottis?

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • Well no. I agree with you. It’s the dehumanization of the immigrants that allows this debate about immigration to even take place, I think. Not in the sense that immigrants are less than human, but in the sense that when we concentrate on a group we forget that the group has people in it. Then we aren’t doing anything to the people; we’re doing it to the group in the abstract.

  • Since I wrote the story about the Zirottis, allow me to point out that they are not illegal aliens. They came here under valid work permits and later began the process of obtaining green cards. They have not, to my knowledge, violated any immigration laws. The decision by immigration authorities to settle out of court and to pay at least some of their attorney fees makes it obvious who was in the wrong.

  • Yeah, I should have been more clear about the specific point. Given the nature of the rhetoric on immigration lately, though, I think the broader point is fair. I’ll clean up the post.

    Damn fact checkers. 🙂

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