No one is an alien. Aliens are from outer space. Illegal aliens? Can’t be. Take me to your leader.
You may think you are seeing a lot of Latinos and Latinas in Pitkin County. And you are. They make up a large part of the construction and service industry workforce here. But Pitkin County has remained over 94% white, while neighboring Garfield County is nearly 30% Latino. That’s where the workers live — outside of the gates and gardens that they tend. We have diversity without the added inconvenience of not offering significant housing for the workforce. You rarely hear Latinos complaining about not living in Aspen. They know their place. But white folks that have been priced out often complain loudly.
The Roaring Fork Valley’s immigrant population was invited here. In the early 1980s there were not enough college grads and Anglo worker bees to keep up with blistering growth in construction and tourism. The desire to build fast, run a lean, profitable business and pay less for undesirable jobs lined up with a loose border, lax enforcement and desperate people to create an entire subculture in just about 30 years.
Greed plays a role. We want cheap strawberries. Hog farm workers. Housekeepers. Landscapers. Concrete workers. Roofers. Trash men. Inexpensive labor can help us make money. Our highways, schools, housing, churches and businesses are full of immigrants. I personally would have preferred to see the valley grow slowly, intelligently and deliberately. But I do not blame the immigrants for filling the void created by greed. It’s not their fault.
Like I said, no one is illegal. Someone may do something illegal — like try to cross a closed border or hop a fence or sit in the wrong seat at a concert or run a stop sign — but a person is not illegal. Everyone is after the same thing: Happiness. Freedom from suffering. Opportunity. Safety. Everyone wants their mommy. No one should be denied the opportunity to be with their mommy, no matter the circumstances. Separating kids and mommies causes the worst kind of tantrums. It should be illegal to do that. I want my mommy right now.
Customs agents at the southern border had more than 180,000 encounters with migrants in June. That's the highest number in at least a decade. Circumstances are the result of causes. Many are desperately trying to get inside the safe zone (the United States) because the circumstances in their home countries have become dangerous, unhealthy and desperate. No mommy would risk a corrupt and dangerous journey with their baby unless they were fleeing something horrid. People who take advantage of or judge those in the humble embrace of desperation or depravation are particularly abhorrent.
Refugees are not aliens. They are fleeing persecution and violence, not looking to blow people up or take their jobs. They are seeking mercy, food, shelter and safety. Some are hiding from ICE in churches. No one wants to leave their home, culture, food, friends, neighbors, country, etc. — even to come live here with all of us wonderful Americans. People are being driven here by circumstances at home. How we react matters, especially if our nation has influenced those circumstances in a negative way.
Kids and their mommies are rarely drug addicts, rapists, criminals and murderers. Those are learned behaviors and the University of America is offering advanced degrees to all desperados. The same people who are complaining about the “Fauci Ouchie” are the ones talking up walls and waving bibles and guns around. Pseudo patriots — hatriots, one may say.
My favorite of the Ten Suggestions is “Thou shalt not kill.” Our nation is involved in a lot of the madness of the world. If we silenced our guns we could be better off. American-made guns are going off in Yemen, Afghanistan (yes, still), Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Malaysia, Colombia, Somalia, Pakistan, Haiti, the Philippines, etc. And there are plenty more going off right here at home.
Not everyone deserves or has the mental capacity to own and operate a firearm. Some should be prevented from interacting with firearms because they are either too pissed off to think straight, mentally ill, entitled, righteous, stupid or under the influence of weed, drinks, opioids, heroin, blow, glue, religious extremism, the internet or hate. No one should be allowed to own and operate weapons of war. This includes all categories of assault weapons, rocket launchers, tanks and poisonous blow darts. What are we defending ourselves from?
Americans are rapidly becoming infertile. If we don’t let a bunch of immigrants in pronto, we won’t be able to continue to “grow.” And that would be tragic. These are my feelings. I will probably be labeled naive, radical, foolish or worse. But these are my feelings.
Steve Skinner is an alien. Reach him at email@example.com.