Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Doomsday Clock for immigrants?

"Scarlet Taco" highlights precarious trajectory

update 6/11/07: A similar modest proposal: "Executing illegal immigrants would have a significantly more positive impact on the American economy than deporting them or putting them on a path to citizenship."

According to last week's "The Fabricator" column in the Nashville Scene, a Metro Councilman has introduced a bill requiring foreign-citizen immigrants to wear some kind of external identification to help distinguish them from U.S. citizens. Among the proposed identification marks are a Scarlet "A" for "alien," a pink triangle, or a yellow star. The report, as its "Fabricator" name suggests, is fake. But when ordinary Americans, Metro Council members, and government officials across Tennessee are in a combined rush to ban, burn, or blow away anything related to immigrants (banning taco carts, banning foreign languages, burning crosses, and building pipe bombs), the satire poigniantly asks where these actions will take us.

During the Cold War, another dangerous trajectory was highlighted by the Board of Directors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. In their desire to highlight the march of the human race toward destruction by nuclear war, they created the Doomsday Clock, which represented how close we were to nuclear war, represented by midnight. They published the clock on the cover of their magazine and moved it forward or backward based on world events and whether we were moving ourselves closer to or further from the darkest hour. Maybe the U.S. has reached the point where we need images like the Scarlet Taco and the Doomsday Clock to remind us of our dangerous trajectory in how we treat immigrants.

If there were a Doomsday Clock for immigrants, what time would we set it at now? What other ominously dangerous treatments of immigrants are already in practice that I didn't mention above? What are some of the proposals that, if put into action, would move the clock forward? How far from midnight would we be with immigrant internment camps? Mass deportations? Denying legal immigrants drivers licenses? Banning Hispanics from city parks?

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