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The More Things Change - 5/30/16


I have been watching on YouTube old episodes of the "Lou Grant"  TV series from the late 1970s and early 1980s, which starred Ed Asner, reprising his role from the "Mary Tyler Moore Show," this time in an hour long dramatic series in which Lou is the city editor of "The Los Angeles Tribune." I had remembered it was a pretty entertaining and sometimes informative show until Asner let his far-left political views completely dominate the series.

I was particularly interested in an episode from the show's second season entitled "Sweep." It seems that Lou and reporter Billie Newman like to eat at a Mexican restaurant with a pretty young Mexican waitress who they have befriended. While they are there, there is a raid by the immigration authorities and it turns out that their friend is in the country illegally and they watch her taken and put in a van with the other illegals at the restaurant and driven away. This inspires Lou and Billie to do a series on illegal immigration. They are also concerned because their friend's sister was also one of the illegals detained and they know she has two small children and they do not know if they will be taken care of.

I'll cut to the chase and let you know that there is a "happy" ending and both sisters are soon back on the job in the US and the mother is reunited with her lost kids by the end of the episode.

What I found most interesting is that apparently, none of the arguments about the issue have changed a bit over the 37 years since this episode was aired. For example, at one point two characters debate whether the individuals in question should be called "illegal aliens" or "undocumented workers." (In my opinion the correct term should be "foreign criminals." They are foreigners and they committed a crime by crossing the border illegally so they are also criminals.)

The spokesmen for allowing illegal immigration is a charismatic handsome Hispanic fellow (a former illegal who is now a US citizen) who makes the same argument that we hear today that "they do jobs Americans won't do." (As John Derbyshire rightly says, there isn't any job Americans won't do-for the right price.) The case against is made by a homely, overweight and mustachioed white immigration official who feebly makes the case that a sovereign nation ought to be able to control its own borders. The Hispanic spokesman replies that we can't do that because if we did, there would be a revolution in Mexico in 20 minutes. (Some might think that would be a good thing.) He also describes the illegals as "victims" as though their precarious situation as uninvited intruders in a foreign land wasn't entirely of their own making.

We are shown how the immigration authorities are unable to stop 90% of the border crossings and even when they detain Mexicans caught crossing the border, they are all simply sent back to their native country where they will just try again until they succeed. The clear implication is that we should simply stop these pointless efforts and let any foreigner who wants to enter our country.

It just goes to show that the debate over illegal immigration hasn't changed much in the succeeding generation and I'm afraid that what will be done (or not done) about it won't change much either.

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