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L.A. Should Openly Welcome Immigrants and Migrants Alike

It’s not difficult to assimilate migrants into the fabric of a huge, wildly diverse city like Los Angeles.

Days after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent migrants to Sacramento, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent 42 migrants to Los Angeles on a 23-hour bus ride without food, arguing that it was necessary in order to mitigate the burden of immigration on border communities.  

But L.A. officials and human-services agencies received word that the group of migrants originally from Latin America and Africa were on their way, and they were ready to accommodate them. L.A. Mayor Karen Bass deployed resources and made sure to openly castigate Abbott for his move. 

The Democrats should paint a picture of welcoming migrants to their cities, regardless of any particular issues their cities have, and should troll the GOP hard in the process. This is not ‘Nam, but this is also not bowling—it’s American politics, and there are no rules.

Manipulating Migrants Is Immoral

The move by these governors to ship migrants like cattle across the country, with doubts about whether they were in a position to give their consent, when they were confused and in a new country, is absolutely depraved. That they were not even provided food during their journey is sickening.  

It’s cruel to treat migrants like refuse, especially when you consider the U.S.’s previous relative acceptance of immigrants and its role in destabilizing Latin America for at least a century. In the 1800s and early 1900s it was obvious that there was a shortage of labor needed for the economy to take advantage of its vast resources, so restrictions were generally not so restrictive.

That’s why if you had an Italian ancestor cross the Atlantic from the old country, chances are they didn’t worry about having to go through an intense and cumbersome bureaucratic process in order to immigrate the “right” way. No. They pretty much just showed up and voila, they became ‘Merigans.

But the economy eventually shifted, and automation and various other technological advances made it so that we didn’t need those immigrants like we did in, say, 1905. Plus, there were already well over 200 million Americans, and later on more than 300 million. All of a sudden border security became a tentpole for an element on the right, and we were no longer happy about immigrants crossing over and supplying cheap labor because we just didn’t need as many of them. 

Of course, things change and a sovereign nation has a right to make its own immigration laws, but if that’s the case then it’s also the case that we have a moral duty to remediate actions that cause the widespread migration of people from Latin American countries. Or maybe this right doesn’t exist ex nihilo, but instead is contingent upon us wanting a better world in which our geographic neighbors flourish so that we don’t have to worry about large migrations.

Leaders should be open about this, open about how the most American thing we can do is welcome people coming here who are willing to better themselves. Nobody pulls themselves up by their bootstraps, but we know that the people who arrive at the border have usually clawed their way through horrors we could only gasp at in our climate-controlled walls. If they want to be taken seriously, blue-city leaders should use this opportunity to establish their vision and spread it like butter on a fat flour tortilla—liberally.

What Democratic Leaders Should Do

These invitations to migrants should be bolstered by the fact that border crossings for migrants have been dropping recently, nullifying the right’s disingenuous strategy of moving people to blue cities.

One could envision Mayor Bass pulling a stunt like going to McCallen, Texas herself to help migrants who want to come to L.A. Or maybe she can send Texas salads since the state struggles so much with obesity, or maybe she can let Texas borrow some of USC’s college football championship trophies (though Vince Young’s team beat ‘SC in ‘06). 

Why not go full troll in the vast experiment that is federalism? The meek may inherit the earth, but if California liberals keep acting meek, they’ll inherit nothing. And neither will migrants. 

Democratic leaders are too quick to whine about the problems their cities face and about the antics of migrant-shipping politicians. This only plays into the GOP’s hands and makes them look like wizards of the political pawning game. Dems are fond of bemoaning the complicated policy problems their cities face, how everything takes time to fix, etc.

But you know what’s not difficult or complicated? Welcoming more migrants and negating the right’s ability to play these types of games for clicks and press coverage. And it’s not particularly difficult to assimilate migrants into the fabric of a huge, wildly diverse city like Los Angeles. It’s time for liberal leaders to call the bluff of the likes of DeSantis and Abbott and show what America is really about. 

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About the author

Leonardo Poareo

Leonardo earned a master's of public policy at USC, and enjoys politics, writing, and comedy. He lives in Simi Valley, California.

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