If Obama wants any chance of a pro-migrant voter advantage going into 2012, he better start taking lessons from folks like Mass. State Rep. Michael Moran (D-Brighton).
As if to illustrate just how sickening nativists can be Moran was flooded with hate mail after he was rear ended by 27-year-old unauthorized migrant Isaias Naranjo. The responsibility for the focusing this hate on Moran lies primarily with the nativist denizens of the Boston Herald opinion page, like Michael Graham and Joe Battenfeld, who singled Moran out for his courageous pro-migrant stances. Car crashes, huzzah!
I’m almost reluctant write about this and throw more gasoline on the nativists’ fire because they will inevitably blow the actions of unauthorized migrants like Naranjo out of proportion. Before I continue, I’m obliged to dispel one of the most common myths about unauthorized migrants, which is that they are criminals.
Immigration law is civil law, not criminal law, and almost half of unauthorized migrants have broken no provable crime by their presence in the U.S. because they arrive by overstaying their visas, not by entering without inspection. Despite the sensational media stories of individuals that the nativist movement likes to pick out, unauthorized migrants commit crimes at a much lesser rate then the native population does. There is no migrant crime wave. I repeat, there is no migrant crime wave.
Even by nativist standards, though, the misinformation around Naranjo, as I understand it, is laughable. According to the police, after Naranjo rear-ended Rep. Moran, he said “Nothing is going to happen to me, man, [because I’m] going back to Mexico.” Shock jock Michael Graham uses that quote to go after Gov. Deval Patrick’s policy of keeping state police out of the business of enforcing federal immigration law (I’m not going to go into Secure Communities here).
In actuality, Naranjo’s quote is an indictment of the policies of nativists like Michael Graham. Naranjo understands that he won’t have to suffer any consequences because nativists, enabled by the Obama administration, are so deportation happy that they think they can deport away all their problems. The reality is much more complex, and the proliferation of transnational criminal youth gangs like Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 shows that deportation can actually make crime problems worse. But,trying to fit complexity into a nativist mind is like trying to fit a camel through the eye of a needle.
Rather than waste time on the nativists at the Boston Herald drop a note to Rep. Moran thanking him for his courage in the face of adversity. We’re not as mean and loud as the nativists, Rep. Moran, but there are definitely more of us and we’re only growing. Just one last thing, Rep. Moran, could you do us a huge favor and Drop The I-Word?