Glass Houses

I was forwarded an email today, and I can't honestly figure out the source since it is one of those that has been forwarded a zillion times, but at some point it passed through the Arizona 2010 Project.  It consisted mainly of pictures of desert areas along major immigration routes that had been trashed by illegal immigrants.  This picture is pretty typical.

Certainly an ugly site, particularly for someone who lives and works in the outdoors as I do.

Here is a quote, I think from the original email but it may have been from one of the forwarders (emphasis added):

This layup is on an 'illegal super - highway' from Mexico to the USA (Tucson) used by human smugglers.

This layup area is located in a wash area approximately .5 of a mile long just south of Tucson.

We estimate there are over 3000 discarded back packs in this layup area. Countless water containers, food wrappers, clothing, and soiled baby diapers. And as you can see in this picture, fresh footprints leading right into it. We weren't too far behind them.

As I kept walking down the wash, I was sure it was going to end just ahead, but I kept walking and walking, and around every corner was more and more trash!

And of course the trail leading out of the layup area heading NORTH to Tucson, then on to your town tomorrow.

They've already come through here. Is this America the Beautiful?  Or another landfill?

The trash left behind by the illegals is another of the Environmental Disasters to hit the USA. Had this been done in one of our great Northwest Forests or Seashore National Parks areas there would be an uprising of the American people........but this is remote Arizona-Mexican border.

Well, it so happens my life is spent cleaning up public parks.  My company's mission is to privately operate public parks.  A lot of that job is picking up and hauling away the trash.  And I can tell you something with absolute certainty:  This is exactly what a highly trafficked area in our great Northwest Forests or Seashore National Parks would look like if someone wasn't there to pick up.  Here is one example from a northwest forest, in Oregon:

We run busy campgrounds and day use areas all over the country, and you would not believe the trash on the ground on a Monday morning.  And this is after the place was cleaned on Sunday morning and with trash cans available every 10 feet to throw things away correctly.  I have seen a few areas in the National Forest that were busy ad hoc camping areas -- meaning they had no facilities, no staff, and no trash cans -- and they were absolutely trashed by good old red-blooded American citizens.  Parts looked no different than this picture.  Most of these areas have since been closed, because of this ecological damage.

In fact, in my presentation I make to public agencies about our services, I say that we are actually in the environmental preservation business.  By attracting recreators to defined areas of the wilderness where we have staff to clean up after the visitors and limit their impact on nature, we are helping to preserve the other 99% of the land.

So, yes this is ugly, but it frustrates me that this is used to play into the Joe Arpaio type stereotypes of Mexicans

All these people that come over, they could come with disease. There's no control, no health checks or anything. They check fruits and vegetables, how come they don't check people? No one talks about that! They're all dirty. I sent out 200 inmates into the desert, they picked up 18 tons of garbage that they bring in"”the baby diapers and all that. Where's everybody who wants to preserve the desert?"

To my mind, this is an argument against Mexican immigration in the same way that violence against women is used as an argument against legalizing prostitution.  Prostitutes suffer abuse in large part because their profession is illegal which limits their access to the legal system when victimized, not because violence is inherent to their profession.  Trash in a wash in the desert is a result of the illegality of immigration that forces people into stream beds rather than city check points when they enter the country.

Postscript #1: Please, if you are a good, clean, thoughtful user of public parks, do not write me thinking I have dissed you.  I have not.  Most of our visitors are great and thoughtful, and we really appreciate that.  But it takes only a few to make an unbelievable mess.

Postscript #2: I am willing to believe that poorly educated immigrants have fewer litter taboos than we have been acculturated with.   But I have seen enough to say that no ethnic group out there should be too smug.  For God sakes, there had to be a large effort near the top of Mt. Everest to clean up a huge dump that had accumulated of oxygen bottles and other trash near the summit.   Here are pictures of what rich Americans and Europeans do on Mt Everest when they are hiking and there is no trash can nearby:


  1. anon:

    The difference is that the first picture shows *illegal* trash. The other trash is litter left by legal citizens and tourists, so it is ok.

  2. GaryP:

    Illegal immigrants (and legal immigrants, for that matter) carry their home countries social norms with them. Just because they cross the border doesn't mean they suddenly change their worldview or how they interact with others.
    Many illegal (and legal) immigrants are wonderful people who only want a chance at a better life. However, their presence, especially in large numbers will change this country in ways we can't predict. There is no mechanism (and no will) to try to assimilate any immigrant into American society. American society is being assimlated into Mexico, Jamaica, Pakistan, etc. Are those countries places you want to live? We have already seen the effects of not just tolerating, but celebrating the "ghetto" culture of drugs, violence (especially toward women), and crime. At some point, America and being an American should say something about how you live, how you interact with your neighbors, your community and your society. Most immigrants come from societies where this interaction is dysfuntional. Police are hated and feared, bribes are normal practice, etc. Yes, most of the people Americans don't want immigrating illegally have brown or black skins. I can't speak for everyone, but what I fear is not their permanent tans but how they view the world and their neighbors. We, meaning America, can absorb and assimilate small numbers of people who don't have American values. We cannot accept huge influxes of foreigners and remain America. Maybe you don't like America (I know most progressives hate our country) and want it to disappear and for us to become just another screwed up country where nothing works and there is no rule of law. We are doing a good enough job destroying America on our own. We don't need a lot of people who expect society to be a mess, have never known anything but bribery, corruption and selling their vote helping us get to Hell even faster than our political elites can drag us there.

  3. JimH:

    Your argument mirrors what was said when large numbers of Irish and Italian immigrants (and others) came to this country. How come those waves of immigration didn't wreck the country, but others will? Also, you need to remember that people who are leaving their home country to go to a new country and start from nothing are not likely to be strongly attached to the norms of their home countries -- otherwise they wouldn't be leaving.

  4. NASCAR Wife:

    Coyote, I am beginning to believe that you have more of a problem with Joe Arpaio personally, than with defending your arguments in favor of making illegal immigrants legal. Every post you write on illegal immigration eventually comes back to your personal dislike of Sherriff Joe.

    As for everyone in Phoenix loving Joe because he cracks down on brown people, I think you need to get out a little more. Most people I know think Joe is a loud mouth, a bully and a media whore. However, his policies, especially the media driven ones such as "Tent City,” "chain gangs" and "pink underwear" are wildly popular AND, you will note, not solely directed at brown people. The reason people vote for him is because the alternatives run on platforms of turning Maricopa County into one gigantic sanctuary for illegal immigrants and violent criminals. Almost every one of Joe's political opponents has said they will get rid of the programs the general population sees as "tough on crime" policies (see above). A tough on crime Republican could unseat Joe by running on the platform of "I will do everything that Joe is already doing, but without being on your TV everyday."

  5. rsm:

    GaryP - You're argument fails. People come to the US because they don't want to live in Pakistan, Mexico or Jamaica. That they take pieces of their culture with them, and more importantly their food with them, is something that makes our country richer. The fact that it changes in ways you can't understand or control is just normal, the fact is that you never had any meaningful control over the culture or norms of the country and somehow you can blame it on the immigrants rather than normal technological and social change. It takes generations for shit to change, but the news cycle makes you think that assimilation is supposed to be instant, it isn't.

    NASCAR Wife - Sheriff Joe is a prime example of the problem, covered in pink coveralls so you won't spot the filthy pile of shit underneath. Most people who actually look at what Joe does, how he talks, what he actually says and how he treats people realize that he's a scumbag who's trying to set up his own feudal fiefdom through keeping you 'safe'. He makes the world less safe, not more safe, the fact that people think his ideas are valid, speaks volumes for their level of critical thought, and ability to reason. Thug - with - badge. That he's your thug doesn't change the underlying condition.

  6. Dr. T:

    Why would poor Mexican illegal immigrants cross into Arizona and then dump usable clothes, backpacks, and supplies? I'm certain it's because they are told by their "guides" (abetters of illegal immigration) that going into Tucson with backpacks, 2-liter bottles of water, and bags of food will be like wearing a "RECENT WETBACK" sandwich board sign. So, they dump almost everything except clothes they can wear and try to blend into the local Mexican-American population.

  7. gadfly:

    The last time that I saw a blogger take on a incredibly one-sided view of a controversial topic to the exclusion of reason, his name was Charles Johnson of LGF. The subject was evolution. Ultimately, he lost his mind and began attacking his readers.

    Since Warren does not interact with his readers directly, that result is unlikely here, but I await Coyote's epiphany that will straighten out his thinking on the need to control borders in order for the government to protect its citizens. After all, for Libertarians, protection is one of the few acceptable government functions. Once the borders are really controlled, all other immigration problems will become minimal.

    Joe Arpaio is but one elected official and he is far less dangerous to our well-being than our elected president. What I would like to see is a well-considered writing from the the brilliant Warren Meyer on exactly what he thinks will solve this illegal alien conundrum for the long haul. My solution (above0 is covered inside a single paragraph.

  8. John Moore:

    Immigration again, sigh.

    Here's a clue... if they weren't sneaking across the desert, where every ounce they carry is a burden, then they wouldn't be leaving the trash behind. But they do, and it is a problem (lots of folks close to the border complain about this - on their property).

    It doesn't mean they are trashy people - it's that it makes sense for them to abandon trash rather than carry it, and since there are huge numbers of them, it produces a lot of trash.

  9. astonerii:

    Here we go again with the idea that because some Americans suck we should import an entire planet's worth of just as sucky or maybe slightly more sucky people. They are owed the ability to work on American Soil.

  10. astonerii:

    "Your argument mirrors what was said when large numbers of Irish and Italian immigrants (and others) came to this country. How come those waves of immigration didn’t wreck the country, but others will?"

    The difference is how previous immigrants changed this country. Starting in the 1880s a new kind of immigrant emerged, it was the socialist/communist kind. They infiltrated the education system, slowly but certainly until around the 1950s they had control of all the major parts of the system. They have since then been education children in the multicultural America in place of the Melting Pot America. They instigated the riots of the 1960s from the Universities and educated a whole new generation of K-12 teachers. I remember one of my first young teachers, she taught reading, and all the books she had us read were taken apart and told as if the author was some satan worshiping slave owning ogre. For the most part, all my teachers were older and seemed to not be so stuck on teaching a liberal doctrine.

    Today's immigrants are encouraged not to assimilate into our culture and are enticed to keep their old country's culture by the enticement of protected status, quota's, authenticity and the grievance industry.

  11. streetfighter:

    I think all states that border Mexico should be reclassified as parks and let RRM have the contract. LOL

  12. John Moore:

    Food for though in several ways - see article on Tucson ethnic studies program issues:

    Of special interest:

    1) National average high school graduation rate of Hispanics is 44%!

    2) Those who go through the ethnic studies program (which seems to be full of revolutionary Chicano stuff) graduate at 98%.


  13. Dachbeschichtung:

    its only unbelievable.. hmmm

  14. GaryP:

    What you are missing when comparing the previous waves of immigrants in the 19th and even early 20th centuries and today are two essential differences:
    1) There was no welfare system to draw (and encourage) people not to work and contribute to our society. The damage that the welfare system has done to Americans is well documented (see Daniel Patrick Moynihan's writings for just one example). It's presence makes careful selection and screening of immigrants even more important.
    2) The school system taught patriotism and insisted on assimilation along with English only instruction. The damage done by bi-lingual instruction has been well documented. The recent May 5th incident where non-hispanic students were expelled for wearing American flag t-shirts in a CA high-school shows how the celebration of "diversity" increases tensions rather than lessens them.
    As the 2nd Great Depression increases the strains on our social cohesion, and the collapse of the welfare state, along with the "us versus them" attitude which inevitably develops, we need to do nothing to increase our divisions.
    Perhaps my hope that we can weather this challenge without violence between Americans and non-Americans is foolish. If anything can hold us together and encourage shared sacrifice it is a belief in a shared identity, that we are sacrificing for our neighbors and our neighbors for us. This is a great danger presented by immigrants that have no wish to assimilate, they are fault-lines in our national identity which will exploited by demagogues.

  15. Reverend Draco:

    "Trash in a wash in the desert is a result of the illegality of immigration that forces people into stream beds rather than city check points when they enter the country."

    Really? There isn't a single "city check point" along the entire border? Not one place where they can cross the border legally, and are "forced" to become Criminal Trespassers? I know of 1 for certain, because I used it myself once - in Calexico/Mexicali - and I'm reasonable sure that it isn't the only one along the entire border, so your argument is fallacious and disingenuous - to be expected for an Apologist for the Criminal Trespassers.

    Methinks you're talking out of your arse.

    What you're trying to do here, is justify the inconsiderate, disrespectful, and criminal actions of people who, as a rule, don't give a crap - they don't care enough about their own country to make it more than just some third-world shithole - and they don't care enough about my country not to try turning it into the same kind of sewer.

    I have a distinct feeling that you wouldn't be singing the same tune if they jumped the fence into your back yard and moved into your house. And informed you that you were going to pay for their health insurance, and buy their kids' school lunches (and pay for them to go to school in the first place), and buy them a better car than you drive, but oh, it's ok, the husband will mow your lawn on the cheap because he is so honest and hard-working (except for the being too lazy to knock on your front door and being dishonest enough to jump your fence part).
    Oh, one more thing - you have to learn their language so you can communicate with them, as they're too good to be required to learn yours. . .

    You Criminal Trespasser Apologists crack me up. . .

  16. astonerii:

    "But it takes only a few to make an unbelievable mess."
    "I am willing to believe that poorly educated immigrants have fewer litter taboos than we have been acculturated with."

    Here I thought you did not understand the illegal alien dilemma at all. But you have known it all along. Yet, somehow, you still cling to the idea that borders are meaningless. You cling to the notion that the culture they bring with them will not negatively impact this country, even if we just open the floodgates and allow unlimited numbers to come here. You cling to some notion that only the good ones who want to make a better life for themselves and their children will be coming. That the corrupted and nefarious will not be taking advantage of the situation. For all that evil needs to succeed is for good men to do nothing. Well, all these illegal aliens have been doing is basically nothing and allowing the evil to succeed.

    I am willing to believe that poorly educated and even highly educated immigrants have fewer taboos in many respects than we have been acculturated with. Like the taboo of not having your votes bought and paid for by a politician, they likely think that is the way good governance is made. Like the taboo of not taking or destroying other people's property when they are afforded the opportunity to be in proximity of it. Like the taboo of having a really poorly cared for home, car and other publicly visible properties that have a large bearing on whether an area is a safe area or an unsafe area.

  17. Armando:

    One would imagine, then, based on the fact that many of the commenters recognize welfare as the main source of immigration-related problems, that they would first argue for the abolition of the welfare state before calling for the thuggish and brutal enforcement of gang-like territorial laws. Alas, they don't, which speaks to me about the true reasons they are so fervently opposed to the influx of foreigners: to wit, general xenophobia and fear of change.

    If the welfare state (and the state itself, logically) were abolished, it would expose national borders for the meaningless symbols that they are. Nobody would move anywhere to live off of others, immigration would be naturally reduced, and terrible human cost of enforcing immigration laws would vanish.

    In other words, why hack at the branches of evil (illegal immigration), instead of striking at the root (the state)?

  18. tehag:

    "and they were absolutely trashed by good old red-blooded American citizens"

    Are you assuming everyone in OR who stays at a park is an American citizen? Can't you be arrested for checking the IDs of people in the park? Will you be protesting yourself for checking IDs?

    Most visitors to Everest are immigrants who have no intention of being Nepalese citizens. They trash the place just as the immigrants in the email that you mock for making the same point.

    If the illegals would enter the country legally, they wouldn't be trashing parks.

  19. Greg:

    I think the comparison to Everest is unfair. I'm not a mountain climber, but I would guess there is a small, but real, additional risk of climbing down with empty oxygen tanks or anything you don't absolutely need. I know there's no risk to me holding onto trash until I find a trash can.

    (If I'm totally off base, mountain climbers, please correct me.)