October 10, 2006

Uncle Sam cartoon clarification

Based on the comments received, apparently my post of this cartoon from the October 7, 2006 Honduras La Prensa, needs some clarification.

I think what the cartoonist was trying to point out the irony that the U.S. wants to build a wall to keep out Hispanics, but the proposed wall will never get built without Hispanics to do all that hard work out in the hot sun. That's my interpretation anyway.

The word albañil is translated as bricklayer or mason and can refer to someone who lays concrete blocks. I don't know what the wall will be built of but I assume it won't be something that can be easily climbed like chain link fence. But as someone recently said in the local newspaper, "Show me a 14 foot wall and I'll show you a 14 foot ladder."

Uncle Sam looks pretty bossy and mean in this cartoon. That's how much of the world sees the U.S. As Americans, we like to see ourselves as the benevolent protectors of the world, but most of the world does not see us this way.

I'm sure the government will do its utmost to ensure that only legal workers are employed in the building of this wall, because what a scandal that would be if they were found to be using 'illegals'.

The cartoon kind of sums up this August 24 quote from CNN.com:
"I highlight the hypocrisy of Americans complaining about illegal immigrants while enjoying the cheap labor. It's as if there are two contradictory signs on the U.S.-Mexico border, "Keep Out" and "Help Wanted." President Bush was right that there are jobs that Americans won't do, and Americans gladly offer those jobs to the same illegal immigrants they supposedly want to expel."

What ever happened to this?

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; send these, the homeless tempest- tossed, to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

The Statue of Liberty has always been for me the symbol of what the United States stands for. I get chills whenever I read these words, thinking of all the poor, hungry, desperate people who have come to the U.S. for a better life.

Instead that symbol of America is being changed to this one:

Most of the people crossing the border are no different from our grandparents, great- grandparents, or great-great- grandparents who sacrificed everything to try to make a better life for their families.

How is this proposed wall any different from the Berlin Wall that we all cheered when it came tumbling down?

From a CNN article,
House GOP pushes 'reform for dummies', September 25, 2006'

"First, as any border patrol agent will tell you, there's no fence that can keep out someone who is desperate to feed his family and who's willing to go around, go over, or go under.

Next, every time we crack down on the border, it enhances the bottom line for these multimillion-dollar smuggling outfits. Whereas it used to cost about $500 to cross the border, now the price is closer to $3,000. If we build more walls, the smugglers will raise prices again. That's bad. It creates an incentive for smugglers to stay in business since business is so good."
The prices quoted above are for those coming from Mexico. The going rate for someone to be smuggled from Honduran into the U.S. by 'coyotes' is $7,500 U.S., up from $5,000 five years ago.

If the U.S. does build this wall and is able to expel the millions of illegal immigrants, I hope that Americans can get used to paying $8 or so for a tomato and $200-$300 a day for their housekeepers. Because as we all know, there are very few Americans who are willing to work at back-breaking labor in the fields or perform menial jobs for minimum wages and no benefits.

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