But Who’ll Clean The Toilets?

Copyright © by Len Holman, 5/13/11


  The following is an excerpt from a secret planning meeting held by several top officials of a little-known government bureau of the Department of the Interior called the Office of Undesirable Tenants (OUT).  Alphabetic indicators have been used in place of names to preserve the anonymity of the sources.


  A:  Ok, the President did a nice job, I think, on setting the tone for immigration policy…

  B: (his aide)  Reform, sir.

  A: (irritated) What?

  B:  He’s calling it reform…immigration reform.

  A: (nodding quickly) Of course, of course.  But we can’t reform anything if we don’t have a policy TO reform. (Smiling smugly)  So Ok, we’ll call it reform…for now.

  B:  For now?

  A:  Until the election.

  B:  Then what will we call it?

  A:  If we win, we’ll call it a done deal and move on.  If we lose, we’ll call it Republican sabotage and blame Fox for distorting our position.

  C:  (sighing) Texas is a tough place, a tough audience. We need to show a real plan or we’ll lose the Hispanic vote.

  E: (his aide)  Latino vote, sir.

  C: (nodding absently) Them, too.  So what’s next?  The President wants this ASAP.  The election is just around the corner, so let’s get a rough draft plan ready.

  A:  What we want to do here is to come up with two strands:  an immigration plan and a back-up plan, and it doesn’t matter which is which.  One will be for the hard-liners, to get them off our tails and maybe confuse the hell out of them.  The other is for that vote from the…Latino population.  The trick will be to promote both plans at the same time, but use the different versions for different audiences, which any pol worth his or her salt can do in their sleep.  Ok, let’s start with that “boots on the ground” thing.  The president can offer a plan to hire more border agents.

  C:  And pay for them how?  The Tea Party people will be all over that like green on a leaf.

  A:  We’ll pay for them with some of the money we give Pakistan.  They’ll bitch about it, but we’ll tell them we’ll call off some of the drones and get CNN to get off their backs about hiding bin Laden.

  B:  Can we do that?  Isn’t that illegal…?

  A: (to the rest of the members) He’s new here, isn’t he?  Look, kid, the media is a tool, like a hammer.  Whoever use the tool best, wins.  And that will be us.

  B:  Well, we have that fence…

  C:  (snorts) That fence is about ten miles long, doesn’t work, and costs a fortune.  And all it really does is fry insects, splatter lizards and burns the odd border agent with laser beams.  The cost?  Hell, everything we do is over budget.  It’s called “capitalism.”  We’ll put up “No trespassing” signs until it becomes operational.

                E:  We really need to spend that money on more important things, like saving the polar bears…

  A:  Polar Bears?  Are you nuts?  Polar bears don’t vote!  Conservative Democrats and Independents do.

  C:  Won’t the Latinos be pissed that we’re keeping out grandma and the rest of the family?

  B:  We’re not gonna do any of that, right?  We just to SAY we’re gonna do it to keep Michele Bachmann from going postal?

  B:  Now you’re getting it.  We have to SHOW we’re serious so the president won’t get eggs thrown at him in Arizona and Oklahoma, but we’ll do the courting of the Latino votes at the same time.  They’ll know what’s up.

  C: So we’ll have this shadow plan with ideas…which does what, now?

  A:  Gives the President a wide range of talking points for various constituencies.  So we give him a dog’s breakfast of stuff and let HIM choose what he talks about and who he talks about it TO.

  D: (silent until now) Ok, I get it.  We’re spitballing, so that makes it easier.  We’ll tell the wackos we’ll use trucks to round up all…

  A:  Trucks?  What kind of trucks?

  D:  We have plenty of trucks…military, commercial, moving vans, UPS trucks, ice cream trucks…

  C:  There are 12 million illegals here.  How in hell are we gonna…?

  B: Well, we figure out how much each truck holds and divide…

  C:  (interrupting) I think we’ve got that.  We know we can’t do that…we don’t know where they are and they are so damn obstinate they won’t just line up for deportation, so then what?

  D:  There won’t BE any trucks, so who cares?

  A:  We also need to give the president some option on that “path to citizenship” thing.  He said something like they need to learn English and speak it like the Prince of Wales and have lived here for a million years, and THEN they go to the end of the line.

  D:  What does that mean, “end of the line?”

  A:  (turns to C)  What DOES that mean? 

  C:  I think it means…they go back where they came from and get at the back of the quota line until they…uh, I’m not really sure.

  D:  So they’re gonna come out on the streets, flag down a cop and beg to go to the back of the line in Honduras or wherever?  They’re hiding, fer Chrissakes!  They ARE illegal, after all.  So where are they?

  D:  Wal-Mart parking lots, mostly, I think.  And I must say, I’m uncomfortable with this two-for-one deal.  I mean, they’re criminals….

  A:  Yes, yes, but we need that vote.  Otherwise it’s back to a lucrative law practice, two-hour lunches and pliant interns. 

  B:  What do we give Latinos in exchange for telling red-meaters we’re gonna have a massive roundup and deport everyone who cleans a toilet or flips a burger?

  A:  Simple:  we do one main thing.  We fight in the courts on the basis that only the federal government can set immigration policy.  We go to a full-court press on this, and we’ll SEEM to be fighting for principle instead of fighting for votes.  We can easily drag it out until the election because the states whining about anchor babies and all are just giving us more ammunition.  It’s a beautiful thing.

  B:  Sir, it’s almost noon. Maybe we could break for lunch?

  A:  Right.  But we’ll have a working lunch.  (He looks around the table and everyone nods.  He presses a button on the intercom)  Miguel? Lonche, por favor!


Return to Bylines

Bookmark and Share