Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sleeping, Dreaming

The “debate” over illegal immigration has spilled into the chambers of Houston’s City Hall. Or oozed in. Maybe it dribbled. In any case, as with much of the verbiage expended on the subject, the exchanges between members of the city council only served to underscore the speakers’ tenuous toehold on reality.

The “debate” was prompted by Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, who once supported the city’s funding of day-laborer gathering places but now, as a candidate for Tom DeLay’s congressional seat, has come to the staggering conclusion that these taxpayer-funded sites encourage illegal immigration and believes the city should have no hand in their operation. This sudden change of, um, heart allowed none other than Rusty Hardin-represented Councilchick Carol Alvarado to seize the slightly lower ground and recall that Sekula-Gibbs---who is indeed an opportunist of the highest order---had first run for council under the Hispanic surname of her late celebrity husband, a name she summarily ditched upon hitching herself to a new, live one.


Then along came Councillady Ada Edwards to issue forth with what the Chronicle described as a “tirade” that included the observation that Sekula-Gibbs and others on council who sought to delay funding for a Second Ward day-labor site were guilty of the “closet thing to fascism I’ve seen since I’ve been on council” (for, like, four whole years). She went on to invoke Hitler and Franco, two serious killin’ fascists now residing in the Lake of Fire for their refusal to fund day-labor sites for illegal workers (and the latter of whom rarely receives any play at a Houston City Council meeting).

However you feel about illegal immigration, you’ve got to agree: These are some mean bitches we’re electing to city council!

Following up with the 1-2-3 punch was Councilgal Sue Lovell, who sort of accused Sekula-Gibbs of the dread sin of profiling: “It’s really an unfair leap by the councilwoman to say because you go [to a day-labor site] seeking work that, first, you’re an immigrant, and, second, that you’re illegal.”

Yes, that might be, except we’d challenge the rookie councilperson to visit a day labor site and locate just one job-seeker who wasn’t first, an immigrant, and second, an illegal one.

In justifying her position, Sekula-Gibbs claimed, “The president of the United States says we’re not supposed to be employing illegal immigrants …” We know that's what the law says, but now that she mentioned it we can’t remember our president ever making such a bold, simple declaration (and we’d be interested in learning who mows Sekula-Gibbs’ grass and cleans her house, if she’d be so kind as to share that information with us [email address above left]).

But we’re not sure what Bush said Monday during his big immigration speech, as we made the mistake of stretching out on the couch to watch and conked out shortly after his crisp opening summation of the problem. When we awoke the dark and bustacious wife of The King of Queens appeared to be in the act of dining and dashing from a restaurant, in the company of a surly teenager. We felt disoriented, as we often do when forced to consider illegal immigration. (Contributing to this feeling was our belated recognition that all the restaurant help on The King of Queens seemed to be white, and our faint recall as we dragged our self back to waking consciousness that the King himself, a lovable moke with Kramden-esque appetites and insecurities, is an unskilled worker with a union job. Or so we think, having never watched an entire episode.)

We hastily switched from CBS to MSNBC to see what we had missed. There was much talk of the 6,000 Guardsmen Bush wants to deploy on the border. A retired general whose name we believe was Jacobs genially parried Olberman’s suggestion that the deployment might be stretching the Guard thin, saying the president could find many eager volunteers among our citizen soldiers to pull what sounds like maintenance and clerical duty. But hold on: These likely would be “unemployed or underemployed” Guardsmen, and therefore a great many of them were likely to be Hispanic or black, not “Euro-Americans,” and thus somewhat reluctant to enforce border law.

This, too, did not comport with reality as we know it, so we went back to sleep.

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