The Flying Buttress: What Inquisitors' Minds Want to Know

An archive for issues of The Flying Buttress newswire, whose purpose is to comment satirically on dissent within and relating to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Disclaimer: These publications are works of satirical fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, but it all depends on what you mean by the word "is." May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Illegal Alien Folktales

Chapter Eleven: Los Tres Chivitos Rudos

Once upon a time, there were three Mexican bracero goats called “gruff.” Every spring they traveled north to eat the lush sweet grass and pick lettuce for exploitive wages, in order to send money to their poor families back home. Before they could obtain employment off the books with their Anglo capitalist ruling class oppressors, however, they had to cross the rushing Rio Grande River.

There was only one way across the Rio Grande, and that was over a narrow bridge made of wooden planks. And underneath the bridge there lived a benevolence-challenged, minimally attractive, one-eyed troll. Nobody was allowed to cross the bridge without the troll’s permission.

One spring, a new and especially menacing troll appeared under the bridge: a dreaded Sensenbrenner Troll. The Sensenbrenner Troll was fiercely determined that no bracero goat would cross his bridge without the proper documentation, and said that anyone who tried it would be charged with a felony and deported. When the three bracero goats heard about this they decided to test the new Troll’s policy.

The smallest bracero goat gruff was the first to reach the bridge. When he began to cross it, the Sensenbrenner Troll suddenly appeared with a growl. “You shall not pass without a green card!" he threatened.

“See here, Mr. Troll,” snorted the goat. “I do not wish to incur a white backlash, but we bracero goats are taking over the institutional infrastructure of your American Southwest. You cannot stop us, because we are here to stay!” Then the smallest bracero goat scampered back to his family to get his bigger brother.

Soon two bracero goats gruff returned, and they both began to cross the bridge. Once again, the Sensenbrenner Troll blocked their path. “Show me your papers or face deportation!” he snarled.

The bigger brother warned, “You Anglos are old and tired. We are workers, not criminals! We are implementing La Reconquista without firing a shot! Through our love of having children, we will bury you!” And the two goats clip-clopped back to get their oldest brother.

Now all three bracero goats gruff arrived, laughing and singing a corrido, but before they could set foot (or hoof) upon the bridge, there suddenly appeared a slender man dressed all in lavender, wearing a Roman collar, and exuding the strong scent of English Leather.

The Sensenbrenner Troll popped out and immediately noticed the newcomer. “Who are you?” he demanded, eyeing him with suspicion. Que pasa, amigo! I am Agent L. - I represent the Men in Lavender,” replied the man. “We are a secret Catholic hierarchy that monitors undocumented immigrant activity in the U.S., and advocates for them when their rights are threatened. I would like to express our solidarity with these three gentlemen and engage you in constructive dialogue on their behalf.”

“Rights! Illegal aliens have no rights! They are breaking the law!” protested the Troll.

“I respectfully acknowledge that your pulchritudinally-challenged appearance may be the source of your ill-tempered outlook,” soothed Agent L, “but have you considered that enforcement-only laws would drive undocumented immigrants further into the shadows and create more elaborate smuggling networks?”

“Tell me, Agent Unctuous,” retorted the Troll, “how can the borders of our nation be secured if there is no punishment for crossing them illegally?”

“But, the earned adjustment program would bring a large number of the 11-12 million undocumented aliens out of the shadows and provide an opportunity for hard-working immigrants to earn their legal status over time,” replied Agent L. earnestly.

“You’re living in a liberal dream world, you fool!” exclaimed the Troll. “What illegal alien is going to surrender his forged social security card and driver’s license, and come forward to be subjected to health and security checks, pay thousands of dollars in fines, pay back taxes, learn English, and have to work for at least six more years to earn citizenship?”

“You surly Prop 187 xenophobic hate-monger!” shouted Agent L., in an uncharacteristic outburst. “Don’t you realize that immigrant workers are employed in low-paying jobs that do not attract sufficient U.S. workers? Agricultural workers are foreign-born, while the majority of laborers in the meatpacking and poultry industries are foreign-born. Over one-third of all dishwashers, janitors, maids, and cooks are foreign-born.”

“Commie pinko subversive!” cried the Troll, probing for flaws in his opponent’s argument. “That’s called unskilled labor! Obviously it’s a subsidy to businesses that employ unskilled workers, which drives down wages. But guess who picks up the tab for providing social services to a much larger poor and low-income population? Taxpayers!”

(While Agent L. and the Sensenbrenner Troll were thus absorbed in constructive dialogue, the three bracero goats gruff slipped unnoticed across the bridge and assimilated themselves into the ranks of the underprivileged, surfacing only to wave Mexican flags at La Raza rallies in righteous support of their brethren, and to claim food stamps and medical benefits at their local Department of Human Services.)

The Moral of the Story:

As those who go trolling for social justice causes can attest, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Odds and Ends

+Comprehensive information on immigration issues can be found at the Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

+Despite all the ballyhoo, the Sensenbrenner Bill is only incidentally about illegal immigration. Its real purpose is to make the Patriot Act permanent. Perhaps this was deliberately lost in the shuffle?


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