Dead Souls of the American Border: How Illegal Immigrants are Politically Exploited

illegal immigration

June 28, 2021

In a metaphoric comparison with Gogol’s “Dead Souls”, illegal immigrants along the U.S. Southern border are exploited as commodities, for currency and identity politics.

Through the Southern U.S. Border, passing in a grim procession, lies a graveyard of dead souls— the consequence of humanism’s failed experiments, the ramifications of a lack-standard immigration policy. America itself argues that it is a “failed state” on the premise that the ideas that formed its society have failed inasmuch as immigration now bleeds beyond any semblance of control. 

A rabble sounded from the highest office, that justice should not interfere with immigration. Meanwhile, conspirators and con-men made their enterprise, cutting down the vulnerable American dream-seeker mid-stride.  

In the same grim comedy as appears in the novel “Dead Souls” by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol, America, through complex and tone-deaf immigration discourse, appears to buy, sell, and trade in dead souls. 

Gogol’s Dead Souls opens to the stage of a failed Russian society in the days following the unsuccessful French invasion. Enter Chichikov, a crafty nobleman, who utilizes charm and narrative to compose an elaborate scheme to acquire the rights to the souls of Russia’s dead in an effort to own their land.  

Comparatively, as Gogol’s Chichikov swindled the Russian hamlet for the deeds to the souls of their dead, to become a landowner and a serfdom ruler, so too does identity politics trade in the souls of the immigrant archetype for a piece of the failed American social system. 

The charm and relation of the small town America with the pain of human transience has concocted elaborate political narratives to thinly veil the exploitation of broken social hierarchy. That society is broken is something that all Americans, despite the polarity of the discourse, appear to agree on to some degree. 

Chichikov arrives in a small Russian town in the company of servants. By comparison, politicians and diplomats of a well-meaning Congress, such as the infamous Ocasio-Cortez, have rolled out parades of empathy along America’s southern border. 

As Chichikov parades into the Russian town with a criminal scheme to “get-rich quick” so did Ocasio-Cortez trapse across an empty parking lot, posing for portraits of empathy that were empty of the human element. A virtue-signaling illusion that was quickly validated by PolitiFact’s editor, who argued, over the jeer of online mockery, that Ocasio-Cortez did no such thing. Certainly a leftist politician would not exploit the image of the border crisis to feed the spark of identity politics.

Such is the ironic metaphoric reality comparing the fictionally exaggerated 19th century Russia and the 21st century media exaggerated America. Reality is lost in the procession of political banter between both identity politics without accountability and security without a human rights solution, such as polar viewpoints that the border crisis represents.

As identity politics play on the dead, dehumanized archetypes of migratory humanity, they become a commodity of an invisible political points system. This veneer covers the true devaluation of a system that must be exploited and broken to serve the leadership. A long-term solution would see migrants and the immigration process empowered, and would rob the politically elite of the dehumanized archetype from which partisanship feeds. 

Common arguments against immigration continued to echo like bird-chatter into the grotesque comedy that is this a parade of withering, displaced human life. Libertarianism published research that CATO Research shared on June 15th, that addressed these common arguments against rapid immigration and “why they’re wrong.” 

“Immigrants will take American jobs, lower wages, and especially hurt the poor,” some argued, holding to their arguments. The arguments made by Americans against immigration reform echoed a similar attitude to the cast of Gogol’s dripping satire. This seedy cast pondered the barter value of souls of their dead, and failed to question the moral dilemma of trading in a currency of human souls. The trade of souls is reflected in the politicization of immigrants as commodities rather than people, as commercial values of a market rather than pending members of the broken American society.

Others argued, with a nod to the constant flare of identity politics, that U.S. immigration law is “racist” to an institutionalized degree. The argument rode on the teetering balance of whether or not to extend Haiti’s Temporary Protected Status, which Trump had opposed, and Biden had favored, and yet none had appeared to propose a long-term solution. 

“Immigration has been the most hotly-debated public policy issue in the United States since Donald Trump entered the Republican primary in mid-2015,” wrote CATO Research, as it shared the research. Yet, it appeared that hot debate was not enough to induce rapid-fire action. The podcast CATO shared was already four years old when the newsletter recirculated it that morning.

This likewise calls to mind Gogol’s Day, when the satirical nature of his lyricism was considered a “slander on Russia” for speaking the truth about life under Czarism. 

The research provided evidence that immigrants affect only a small number of workers’ wages in the United States. There was evidence to support the fact that legal immigration standards are extremely complex. Even so, for all the hot debate, little was done to change the status quo, and dead souls shuffled on in an ever-crumbling institution of admittance into the American Dream. 

In March 2021, activist groups urged the United States to stay weaving criminal justice into immigration law. “Discrimination” they called it. Their outcry sounded to the offices of the Honorable Alejandro Mayorkas. 

“Dear Secretary Mayorkas,” the concerned parties wrote. 

“As criminal justice and immigration advocates, we are writing to express our serious concerns with ICE’s prioritization of those labeled as gang-involved for detention and removal on February 18, 2021, interim United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) Civil Immigration Enforcement and Removal Priorities memorandum (“February 18 Memorandum”) issued by the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”),” they wrote. 

An outcry sounded above the dead souls who passed, water through a sieve, into a fractured community along with the southern wall construct. 

They were a melting pot of many influences, children trafficked by slavers, mules for drug empires, refugees of gang wars, murderers, traitors, thieves. All the dead souls passed without guidance, without checks or balances, into the American heartland. 

An influx of fentanyl was seen at the border. A full 4,000 pounds of the drug were seized, as the record numbers of contraband passed over along with the shuffling feet. A quieter cry, a petition to President Joe Biden sounded from the Mexican Border. It was echoed by Fox News on March 10.

 That the Biden administration knew the migrant surge would come was not lost on his critics. 

Those who stood at the borderline, such as America’s Newsroom reporter Lara Logan, saw that the Biden administration was opening and rebuilding facilities, in preparation for a “migrant surge.” All the while, from the high seats, a debate continued to bandy back and forth. The question of whether the “good” or the “bad” wove a trap about the stumbling. Warnings came from reporters. That China was building its empire on the back of dead souls. That they, with one zombie motion, one heave of tortured traffic, slowly passed through a leaky faucet, crumbling the nation within. 

The fine people of the highest places signed their names to the petition to Honorable Mayorkas. That he should no more permit the Lady Justice to interfere with the influx as China and Mexico teamed together to exploit the drolling caravans and funnel in their products. Lofty, ambitious organizations signed their names Et alia: 

The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, Justice Strategies, La Resistencia, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, The Legal Aid Society, National Immigrant Justice Center, National Immigration Law Center National Immigration Project (NIPNLG), National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala, New Sanctuary Coalition, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York County Defender Services, New York Immigration Coalition NYSYLC, Organized Communities Against Deportations, The Policing & Social Justice Project at Brooklyn College, Public Defender Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Queens Neighborhoods United/Queens Barrios Unidos, Release Aging People in Prison, Restore The 4th, Sanctuary DMV,, Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, Taos Immigrant Allies, UnLocal, Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center, The Workers Circle, Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights…

As well as these esteemed people: 

 Prof. Alex Vitale, Brooklyn College Prof. Babe Howell, CUNY School of Law Prof. David Brotherton, John Jay College Rashida Richardson, Visiting Scholar, Rutgers Law School

From the highest seat of American governance, the cold ear of indifference appeared not to hear outcry or praise for immigrant policy. Rather, Vice President Kamala Harris warned against “grand gestures” offering a fleeting rebuke to wayward migrants as she visited Guatemala. They would be turned back at the border, she said. While she told Guatemala’s president that migration was among the U.S. top priorities, even as he accused her of the surge, her words echoed into the oblivion of the marching masses. All eyes looked on at what gestures did emerge, at the promises of women’s empowerment and human rights, as 75 days transpired without Harris giving a news conference on the border crisis. 

Whether a deception or fond absentmindedness, the media denied the passage of the migrants. The Washington Post was adamant that the wayward people were not overrunning the towns of the Southern border. “All of it was a political illusion,’ or so they said. Others argued that under Trump, great cruelty had been enforced. Relief Web’s professionals wrote, on St. Patrick’s Day, that the border crossing influx “should be put in context.” “The root cause is Trump-era policy forcing many people to be stuck on the other side of the border,” they argued. They argued that the influx “hardly constituted a crisis.” They went on to note how facilities were overrun, and a record number of “unaccompanied children” would make the crossing in 2021. It was, in their estimation, the fault of Trump for denying asylum. They argued how expulsions were “creating a cycle” and noted the “minuscule number of people” legally allowed to seek asylum. Apart from the “first phase system” there was “no way to seek asylum in the United States” as of St. Patrick’s Day, they noted. 

Those of Relief Web’s esteemed commentary referred their audience to the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). WOLA called out the esteemed vulgarity of the Migrant Protection Protocols system put in place under the Trump administration. WOLA was pleased when the Biden administration announced it would wind down said protocols, and urged them to work closely with Mexico to do away with Trump’s policies “in all their cruelty.” It was perverse, they said, how the “Remain in Mexico” policy, as they called it, had been referred to as MPP. 

The MPP referred to Section 235(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Migrant Protection Protocols. In 2019, the protocols dictated that aliens who were entering the United States from Mexico but were not nationals of contiguous nations such as Mexico must be returned to the land they were entering from. These non-contiguous nationals are called “third-country nationals.” 

“That statutory provision allows for the return of certain aliens to a contiguous territory pending Section 240 removal proceedings before an immigration judge,” Section 235 9(b) of the MPPs stated. 

“Under the MPP, aliens who are nationals and citizens of countries other than Mexico (third-country nationals) arriving in the United States by land from Mexico—illegally or without proper documentation—may be returned to Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings as a matter of prosecutorial discretion.”

At least 70,000 people were sent back to Mexico to await protocol proceeding since the protocols were put in place, the data from TRAC immigration indicates.  WOLA noted the dangers of the Mexican cities to which the third-country nationals were returned. Other human rights activists argued that the asylum seekers were being “delivered to danger” as the lines between one continuous danger between Mexico and the United States blurred in the margins of opinion.  

As Dead Souls went on in their tired march to the U.S. southern region, Canada faced pressures and close monitoring from Washington to open the northern border. Little discussions are made to control the risk to humans in the name of human rights, but that has not stopped the steady swindlers and the press of feet from trampling north and south across the Continent. 



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