Guest Commentary

It's time to close the borders--to people coming and going, to imports and exports

Immigration reform is prominently featured in the current rendition of the never-ending election season. The issue is too thorny for Congress and The Decider in the Oval Office. But in his latest book, Endgame, activist and author Derrick Jensen proposes a solution. This commentary expands on Jensen's proposal.

Effective immediately, we must ban all immigrants. No foreigners will be allowed to enter the United States from any direction.

If you think a three-bedroom home in the Dead SaguarosTM subdivision is expensive now, just imagine what it'll cost when the crews putting up the frame, tacking on the roof and painting the stucco all speak English as their first language.

Imagine, too, replacing all the brown workers with pasty white ones willing to broil their asses in the Tucson oven for $10 an hour. You'll have to imagine it, because reality won't allow it to happen. There's a reason brown people are doing all the manual labor in this country, from picking vegetables to laying tile.

If we had a city full of energetic people with calloused hands and a willingness to trade their iPods and Blackberries for hammers and wheelbarrows, the immigration "crisis" would be viewed as an opportunity instead of a problem. News flash: Without hardworking immigrants, Americans will have to do a whole lotta work for which our over-indulged lives have us ill-prepared.

On the plus side, this will be a great way to get rid of that beer gut most of us are packing around.

Of course, the proposed immigration ban extends beyond human beings: All resources, materials and products that originate outside the country must stay outside the country. No electronic components from India. No bananas from Costa Rica. No asparagus from Peru. No wine from France or Australia. No furniture from Sweden. No olive oil from Italy. No crude oil from the Middle East. And certainly no cheap plastic crap from China.

But we'll get to keep Bud Light, thereby allowing particularly efficient roofers to develop a beer gut.

In the spirit of reciprocity, products from the United States will not be transported beyond our borders. Since much of the material we export is toxic, we'll have to start contaminating even more of our own air, water and soil when we start keeping the garbage we currently transport to lesser-developed countries. Banning immigration means banning emigration, too, so we'll have to live in the toxic stew we've created.

With less than 5 percent of the world's population, we consume a quarter of the world's resources and produce a quarter of the world's garbage and pollution. Without immigration, we'll have to do a lot more menial work ourselves. Without international trade, we'll have to get along with fewer resources, but more garbage. I've no doubt most countries will consider this a fair trade, not to be confused with the many fair-trade agreements we've previously foisted on them.

Enforcement will be unnecessary, because nobody will want to immigrate into the United States: Without cheap toys and cheap laborers, Tucson becomes just another piece of imperial fruit, rotting in the summer sun.

In the unlikely event the American economy does not implode, the money we'll save on bombs and soldiers previously headed to the Middle East to secure crude oil should be adequate to pay for community gardens in every border town in the country. And that's not even counting the money we'll save by eliminating the Border Patrol.

This idea no doubt seems ludicrous, if only because we have become accustomed to the products and services associated with the global reach of the American Empire. But the American Empire, with its complete reliance on cheap crude oil, is stunningly close to drawing its last breath already. The days of inexpensive fossil fuels are behind us, and an unbridgeable gap between supply and demand will cause the price of crude oil to skyrocket within a few short years.

Without cheap oil, the world ceases to be our colony. And the immigration "crisis" fades away. Rather than waiting for the price of crude oil to skyrocket, we should take a proactive approach: Take the most inclusive possible approach, and ban all immigration now.

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