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First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC
By Orson Scott Card August 26, 2007

Ethnic Cleansing or "Amnesty"

So the election grows closer, and it's time to satisfy all those people who have been demanding that we put a stop to illegal immigration. The failure of the so-called "amnesty bill" leaves the government no choice other than expulsion of anyone without papers.

The National Guard is activated and the city and state police forces are nationalized. Sweeps of Hispanic neighborhoods round up all the Spanish-speaking people with brown skins and sort them out according to who has the right documentation.

Six million of them are found to be illegal immigrants.

They are loaded into buses, trucks, cattle cars and transported to the Mexican border. It's all handled very humanely -- they're well fed on the way, and we pay the Mexican government a hundred dollars per returnee to pay for their return to their homes. That's $600 million, but it's so worth it.

World Opinion

Of course, the sight of all those Mexicans being off-loaded at the border and forced to walk in long lines across the borders, surrounded by armed American soldiers and police -- that's good television. Worldwide.

The outcry against our action is tremendous, but what do we care what the world thinks?

When Serbians ask why we bombed them for trying to expel native Albanians from Kosovo, when we're doing the exact same thing, we don't bother answering. We don't have to answer. We're the world's only superpower, and therefore everything we do is right.

The Serbians keep asking: The Kosovars had a terrorist organization; where were the bombings and killings by illegal Mexican immigrants?

To which we self-righteously reply: The Kosovars were the original inhabitants of the land you were trying to expel them from.

To which they reply: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of several other states -- they were all part of Mexico before America invaded and took that land. Don't talk to us about original inhabitants! Where's our apology, now that you're doing ethnic cleansing too?

It's not ethnic cleansing, we carefully reply. It's not because they're Spanish-speaking brown-skinned people that we think they posed a danger to America. It's because they didn't have green cards.

The Story on TV

The television reporters from many countries have more stories to tell than those scenes of border crossing. They show Mexican officials talking bitterly about how the relocation costs of the returning Mexican nationals are far more than the $600 million the U.S. paid.

But Republican politicians are quick to answer that one: "If you didn't want to pay for their relocation, you shouldn't have let them across the border in the first place!"

Those Republicans look so good on television. Especially when the reporter goes on to show families in every poverty-stricken village in Mexico, their children crying with distended bellies.

"Why do you think our father went north of the border in the first place?" asks a Mexican teenager, her words translated into English. "There were no jobs. There was not enough to eat. Now he's back, there's still no job, and no more money getting sent from the north. Instead of supporting his family, he's another hungry mouth in a house with no money."

The reporter goes on: "The hunger here is as bad as anything I saw in Ethiopia, Somalia, or Darfur."

The Republican spokesman is adamant -- he looks so good on camera when he says, "America does not exist to be a safety valve for the failures of the Mexican economy."

The Cost to Americans

As soon as the final solution to the illegal immigrant problem was decided on, everyone knew that it would be a disaster for farmers that depend on migrant workers to pick their crops. So the government spends another billion dollars to subsidize the farmers, allowing them to pay native-born workers a much higher wage.

The trouble is, picking isn't easy work, and it does require some knowledge and skill. Most of the Americans who accepted the jobs can't handle the working conditions. "You expect us to live here while we pick your crops? You expect us to work how many hours in the blazing sun?"

Too many of them head for home. Farmers wait for workers who never come.

It would have happened whether the American workers quit or not. Because the economy was too good. You see, President Bush, "the worst president in American history," presided over an economy with such low unemployment that there weren't enough workers desperate enough to leave their jobs and their homes and go on the road picking crops.

Prices for migrant-picked foods skyrocket, even as surplus crops rot in the fields, unharvested.

But it's not just agriculture that suffers. With so many workers stripped out of the American workforce, stores and service providers stay open only by working their employees in double shifts. Everybody's competing for workers in a labor-short market, and wages rise.

No, wages skyrocket. But something else happens, too. With such a scarcity of labor, unions are able to strike and make it stick -- there is no "scab labor" eager to take the jobs of striking workers.

Owners and managers are bombarding Congress with messages saying, "We told you this would happen! We begged you not to take away this work force!"

And Republicans go on the air to say, "Those illegal immigrants were taking American jobs!"

"Yeah," answer the owners and managers. "But they weren't taking them away from Americans. They were mostly doing jobs that only existed because these people would work so hard for so little, and could be depended on."

"The American workers we're getting now," they say, "are mostly people who don't have the Mexican work ethic -- they're full of their rights, but we can't count on them to show up every day. We're paying them three times the wages for half the work. If we're lucky."


The reporters talk to the free market economists who swore that when the illegal immigrants left, all those great jobs would return to Americans. "They just have to raise the wages higher to attract the workers they want," say the economists.

But in the real world, it doesn't work that way. As the wages rise and rise, management moves all the jobs that can be moved ... to Mexico. After all, it's Mexico that has a sudden glut of six million extra workers, desperate for any kind of job.

Only now all the money those workers earn stays in Mexico. It used to be that at least part of it was spent in the U.S.

So in the midst of the labor shortage, with prices rising, businesses are trying to sell their goods in an economy with six million fewer consumers. They weren't the top level consumers, but they bought things. Now they don't.

"You'll see," say the economists. "There's an initial shock, of course, but gradually the markets adjust." And it's true. With more and more businesses closing, there are more workers available who are starting to get desperate enough to take the lousy jobs the illegal immigrants left behind.

And when it has all settled out, a new equilibrium is found. We didn't just throw out the illegal immigrants, we threw out their jobs, too, and closed down all the businesses that served them.

The people who starved to death in Mexico aren't here to enjoy the growing prosperity in their country, with so many American jobs now available to them -- but free market economists never mind a few thousand deaths here and there. The free market always recovers. "Let them die," the free market economists said, "and reduce the surplus population."

It Was the Right Thing

As for all those Americans who had angrily rejected the idea of amnesty for illegal aliens, many of them were certain the right thing was done.

"If you reward them for breaking the law, they'll just break it more," they say.

"But you're paying more for everything," the reporter asks.

"Worth it," they say.


"Because every illegal immigrant was a criminal!"

The reporter nods wisely. "So there's no more crime now."

"Well, no."

"At least the worst criminals were gone. All the murderers, the thieves, the rapists, the child molesters, the drug dealers -- they're all gone, right?"

"Well, no. Some of them, but ... look, we're no longer subsidizing the education of their children! They're no longer using public services without paying taxes!"

"Interesting," says the reporter. "And yet poor Americans pay no income taxes, and they use the public schools without paying property taxes, either."

"But their landlords pay property taxes."

"But the landlords of the illegal immigrants paid property taxes. So I guess they weren't being completely subsidized by the American people, after all."

"And we aren't having to pay for all those extra English-as-a-Second-Language classes, right?" goads the reporter.

"Absolutely right! Everything's better! I can look around me and look at the people on the street and it feels like America again. Everybody's talking English! Except for the orientals and the towel-heads, of course, but you've got to take things one step at a time."

And the TV show cuts away.


On television, yet another Republican spokesman is trying to defend the disastrous expulsion of the illegal immigrants. His opponent on the talk show is one of those fuzzy-headed liberals, of course, so he's hardly worth talking to. But you have to give equal time, right?

"So the higher prices we're all paying, the reduced services, the loss of American jobs, the contempt the whole world feels for American ethnic cleansing -- you think it was all worth it?" says the talk-show host.

The Republican spokesman nods wisely. "They broke the law even coming into this country."

"What if it was a stupid law?" asks the liberal.

"It was the law, and they broke it."

"And so they no longer deserved to live in America?" says the liberal.

"They never deserved to live here."

"So lawbreakers don't deserve to live here. Have you ever had a speeding ticket?"

"I'm an American. And I pay my traffic fines."

"But you broke the law."

"I was born here."

"But your ancestors didn't," says the liberal. "Your ancestors, somewhere along the line, were born somewhere else."

"But they came here legally."

"No sir, they did not," says the liberal. "I knew we'd get to this point, so I had your genealogy researched. Here's a list of your German ancestors who broke the law of their German-speaking state by emigrating."

"Those weren't American laws, so they weren't criminals here."

"And here are your Puritan New England ancestors, who came here as criminals because of their defiance of the laws concerning religion in England."

"They wanted freedom of religion."

"But they broke the law. And look -- here are your Scotch-Irish and German ancestors who settled in Pennsylvania and North Carolina without getting legal title to their lands. They were all law-breaking squatters, and they kept getting caught farming on other people's land and had to move on."

"It was wide-open country then, and the laws were different --"

"And look -- here are your ancestors who crossed over the Appalachian Mountains like Daniel Boone, into areas that the federal government absolutely declared off-limits to white settlers. Then when the Indians attacked them for illegally trespassing, they demanded that the U.S. Army come and kill Indians so your ancestors could keep their illegally occupied land."

"I know the Indians were badly treated, but --"

"In fact, through most of the territory of the U.S., the first settlers were illegal immigrants, weren't they? U.S. Treaties supersede all other laws except the Constitution. So what about it? Do you favor the expulsion of all these white illegal immigrants to restore the land to the legal titleholders by U.S. treaty?"

"That was a long time ago."

"Oh, so these Mexican immigrants -- their problem was they just didn't stay long enough."

"If you give amnesty, you just get more of the same crime."

"But if you give amnesty and then change the laws so it isn't a crime anymore, then you won't get more of the same crime."

"That's giving in to the criminals!"

"Look," says the fuzzy-headed liberal, "we made up these laws. It's not like murder or theft or rape, where one person is infringing the rights of another. We just decided, arbitrarily, which people could come into our country and which could not. Our rules favored the rich; the poor in other countries weren't welcome.

"But there they were, starving in their own country," the bleeding-heart liberal goes on. "And the only thing holding them back from feeding their children was a border and a set of completely arbitrary rules. Stupid, needless rules that kept the workers in one country from getting the jobs that were waiting for them in another."

"Those are good laws! We don't want the riff-raff of other countries!"

"But we weren't getting the riff-raff, sir! We were getting the bravest, the hardest-working, the most determined to feed their families. We were getting the ones who scraped together the money to pay the illegal smugglers to get them across the border."

"There, you see? Criminals!"

"Vicious, terrible criminals -- doing a job that only made money because of your immigration law. And when the immigrants got here, they worked hard."

"And used up welfare money and state services and all without paying taxes!"

"But if we had let them in legally, or let them stay once they were here and allowed them to change their status, they would have paid taxes. In fact, they already did pay sales taxes and property taxes. The only taxes they didn't pay were income taxes, and we paid them so little that even if they were citizens, they wouldn't have owed a dime."

"But they were endangering our culture --"

"Our culture has always tolerated thousands and millions of people who spoke other languages and clung together in memory of the old country. And then, a few generations later, we were all Americans together. Your fear of these immigrants merely shows your complete ignorance of American history.

"Hyphenate us all you want," the arrogant liberal continues, "go to whatever ethnic pride parades you want, but we're all Americans. We changed each other -- the Irish, the Italians, the Germans, the Black slaves, the Russian Jews, the Chinese, the Japanese, they all came here and changed the way we talk and think and dress and sing and dance and read and write and it was always still America. Until now."

"What do you mean, until now?"

"Because it's time to take down the Statue of Liberty, sir. We no longer accept the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. We no longer lift a lamp beside the golden door. The door is steel, and we've shut it tight. This isn't America anymore."

"That's treasonous!"

"No, sir, you are the traitor. You're the one who declared that America was no longer a nation built around an idea, which accepted all who embraced that idea. Now it's just like any other nation on Earth. It stands for nothing except for holding on to what we've got and making sure there's no room for the people most desperate to come and join us."

"They didn't want to live under our laws!"

"Yes they did. All we had to do was change a law that made far less sense than the traffic laws Americans break or bend all the time! If you make breathing a crime, then yes, all the breathers are criminals, but the people who made the laws are the stupid ones."

"How dare you! We're the ones who wanted to keep America American!"

"America is a nation that thrived because of a constant infusion of eager new citizens. You have closed the door against the best and bravest of them. You have cut off the lifeblood."

"At least we're still speaking English!"

"That's right," says the fuzzy-headed liberal. "It takes a lot of brains and determination to learn to speak two languages fluently. We kicked out six million people who were willing to try to do that. And what we have left is ... you."

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