Coco is a great Pixar film. It is about a boy learning the importance of honoring families, understanding kindness, and overcoming the harsh realities of impassable borders. It is the exact sort of movie that we need to be talking about right now, and the exact sort of movie someone should make Donald Trump sit down and watch, because families are not meant to be separated and borders -even between the living the and the dead- are not meant to keep us apart from those we love.

The Land of the Detained
Pixar took a risk by creating Coco. Miguel is Pixar’s first non-white, non-robot, non-car, non-monster, non-talking toy protagonist, and setting the story around a holiday steeped in Mexican traditions could have been a recipe for disaster, but it wasn’t. The story was respectful, uplifting, and entertaining. It did not treat death or Dia de los Muertos as a joke, but as a reverent tradition worthy of praise and honor. By extension the story conveyed the importance of family and connectivity between generations. It is a powerful message, especially for the time we are living in right now. Unfortunately, the story we must now tell is lot less whimsical, and a lot less colorful… unless you count the Naranja en Jefe.

Donald Trump, has done everything he can to tarnish those connections and tear apart families at the American border. For weeks, a policy set forth by Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump separated parents and children, at border crossings, even those people legally coming to America to seek asylum. Parents were lied to, and their children were essentially kidnapped to be held in holding facilities. They were then listed as “unaccompanied minors,” which they were not, because they had literally just been taken from their family. This policy earned the US condemnation from the UN and was a barbaric practice which Trump seemed intent to inflict upon children that looked like Miguel, or like little baby Coco. Last Wednesday, Trump –hombre grande de pollo– caved under public outcry and signed an executive order that ended the policy of child separation, but did not solve the problem.

Trump’s new executive order now keeps children and parents together, except that it keeps them together in detention facilities. Yet, that is not strictly legal. According to a 1997 decree, known as the Flores Statement, authorities are prohibited from keeping children in detention for more than 20 days, even with a parent. The White House is going to try and get around this ruling, If they are successful it would mean that families will be kept together in detention camps, indefinitely. If that makes you uncomfortable it should. Detention camps -for adult immigrants- are actually not new. They existed under Obama in 2014, and for the record that doesn’t make them right either. There is a genuine and nuanced difference between the immigration policies of President Obama and the Rey Bastardo, Trump, but those distinctions are not what we are here to talk about. For the record creating concentration camps to keep people in -even if they are together as a family unit- is wrong, but Trump will need these new concentration camps because his executive order also does one other thing. It solidifies Sessions’ policy of Zero Tolerance, which increases the criminality of border crossing by making them criminal prosecutions instead of civil ones, as has been the norm in the past. This means that adults are now treated as criminals and sentenced to serve time, but thanks to the Flores Statement, children are not supposed to serve more than 20 days. That is how this whole mess started.

Even worse the executive order does nothing to address the 2,300 children who have already been separated from their parents and scattered across the country. It is also worth mentioning that the executive order does not even explicitly end the practice of child separation. It merely states, that families will be housed together “where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.”

An Ofrenda is a Friend Indeed
Please know that despite what he and his gang of bandidos says, this is not a Democratic policy. This was not a law created under Obama. Child separation and zero tolerance are policies created by none other than Trump himself, and it is so heinous that even he admitted -kind of- he was wrong and backed away from it. In Coco, Miguel learned that people in the Land of the Dead can visit their families across the border of life/death once a year on Dia de los Muertos. However that is only possible if their picture has been placed on an Ofrenda. If not they cannot get past the border -which has border security and everything- Even worse if a person in the Land of the Dead no longer has anyone left on  Earth to remember them, then they will permanently fade away… the final death. This is the conflict of Hector whose daughter is beginning to forget him and he is beginning to cease to exist.

This concept of two deaths is very interesting and something worth talking about in relation to America’s larger immigration policy. Ultimately that is what an immigration policy is meant to enforce, not so much a physical death, but a final death. Walls, especially ‘Yuuge Walls’ are built to keep people out and also keep people in. Families separated by the border will be unable to see one another. Immigrants will be unable to connect with their past and their families will be forgotten. Their traditions will be forgotten. They will fade away like Chicharrón -which is kind of Trump’s true point when you think about it- and yet we will all be worse off for the loss. The traditions of immigrants -from Halloween to Dia de los Muertos- enrich America as much as the immigrants themselves. Isolationism and radical paranoia hurt everybody. They make us less strong and ensure that those people trapped on the wrong side of the border from their families will suffer a final death, as they do in Coco.

We believe, that it is no coincidence that the Pixar film portrays the border between life and death as a sort of modern immigration process. Its inclusion puts a modern and familiar face on the process of border crossing, and that is not by accident. The experience of Hector in the movie: facing rejection by border agents; attempting to lie, cheat, and ultimately just rush through the border; and being heartbreakingly unsuccessful at it is a part of the immigrant experience. And much like how certain Morón Presidentes claim that those jumping our border are “bringing crime,” Hector at first appears to be nothing more than a two-bit-hustler, a conman… err con-skeleton. Yet, as the story goes on we start to learn that he is a father, desperately trying to see his daughter, Coco. He is trying to escape a fate worse than death and wants nothing more than to get back to his family. He is the type of person that his reality has made him, but he is a good person and someone we come to cheer for by the end of the movie. There are a thousand people like Hector out there, right now. They are escaping violence and gang warfare. They are just trying to see their daughter, or their son, or their wife, or their family. They don’t want to be killed by very real violence in their own countries, and then shut out and forgotten by their families in this one.

Donald de la Mar-A-Lago
And yet that is exactly what is happening. They are already forgotten. To the people of this nation they are just statistics and to Donald Trump they are just faceless pawns, people to be held hostage for a political agenda. Make no mistake, Donald Trump is the Ernesto del la Cruz in this story. He is the pompous, self-important imbécil who will sacrifice anyone or anything that stands in his way. He will use any means possible to keep his star burning, and he is certainly using children, like Miguel, as he sees fit. At least Ernesto seemed somewhat remorseful at his betrayal. We see none of that from El Donald. Yet, it is he who cares the most about being forgotten. He is the one who fears that final death more than anyone. His constant tweeting, his petty grabs for attention, political stunts, and many many crimes point to a man that is terrified of fading from memory, even for a moment.

So, let’s give the hijo de puta what he wants. Let’s show that we will never forget the atrocities he commits in the name of his own vanity. Let’s come together as a family -an American family- and drop a liberty bell on his head. This Saturday, June 30, 2018, take part in one of the Families Belong Together rallies going on around the country. Do it for all the Miguels and baby Coco’s out there. Do it for the families being held apart by borders and detention centers. Do it for those who have already suffered that final death so that no more will feel the slow sting of that fate. America is the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” Let’s prove to every child, every immigrant currently trapped in cages or shut out by walls and fear that we mean what we say. Show them that the land of the brave is not afraid to stand up to Ernesto de la Trump for the freedom of everyone.

We will be marching in NYC on June 30. Come out and join us, or find another march near year. We have to keep fighting or Miguel will be trapped in the Land of the Dead forever.

sanctuary cities

There are people among us who are hunted, marginalized, and whose very existence in this country is considered to be a danger to others. We are of course talking about mutants, but we could as just easily mean illegal immigrants. After all, Donald Trump and others like him paint this small population as if they were sinister and super-powered criminals who are responsible for the woes of our society, as if they were actually capable of firing laser beams from their eyes or manipulating metal with thought. Yet even the mutants of Marvel Comics had a place where they could call their own, a safe haven away from the politicians and the paramilitary organizations hunting for their heads. For people like Storm, Wolverine, and even Jubilee, there was Xavier’s Mansion, and for undocumented immigrants there are sanctuary cities. Yet, what are these cities and what do they actually do to protect those who live there?

The House of M…igrants
A recent survey touted by Trump stated that 80% of Americans were against sanctuary cities. Of course that statistic turned out to be misleading to the point of inaccuracy. The truth is that a lot of Americans do not even really know what sanctuary cities are. To most it is just another vague and misleading buzzword like “engine malfunction” or “Sir Patrick Stewart.” So let’s start by demystifying the term a bit.

Vox, has a fairly satisfactory explanation of what a sanctuary city is. There are multiple places in the United States that could be considered a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, but most people think of places like San Fransisco, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, etc, but this is not just about large cities. ICE has identified 165 counties and cities across the country that have policies against cooperation in matters of illegal immigrants. Sanctuary cities do not go around actively harboring illegal immigrants, so much as they just turn a blind to their presence within the city’s limits. Technically any city or town that has a law or an unofficial policy that limits municipal funds or personnel from assisting Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers could be considered a sanctuary city. ICE cannot force local law enforcement officers to cooperate in detaining and handing over illegal immigrants, all they can do is make a request, and the distinction of sanctuary versus non-sanctuary usually comes down to how municipalities treat that request.

For local police departments and city officials this often leads to a dilemma. If a city police department ignores an ICE request to detain or hand over an undocumented immigrant, than the federal or even state government could retaliate by withholding funds, as Trump has attempted to do. This could be a real issue, as the Justice Department gives millions of dollars in assistance grants to local police, especially in cities such as San Fransisco, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, and others. However, choosing to turn over undocumented immigrants, could mean holding them without bail, often for multiple days, and usually on minor or no official charges. Additionally, cooperating with ICE requests breaks down trust between local law enforcement and the communities they serve. If illegal immigrants believe that they are going to be deported every time they talk with the police as a witness or when they report a crime, than they will stop doing those things. That ultimately makes the job of policing harder, especially considering undocumented immigrants are already less likely  to report crimes to the police. That is why their population is at the highest risk of being victims of crimes -such as domestic violence, sexual assault, or rape- and not its perpetrators.

Come to think of it… that may be why Magneto can attack the X-Men so often and yet Xavier never calls the police. Mutants who are constantly vilified in the media and by the government have as much to fear from the authorities as they do from the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. In the Marvel universe politicians and hate groups cast them as literal dangers to society. Thus, if the police show up to a scene where a mutant is the victim, there seems to be no guarantee how they will be treated regardless of their fault in the crime. They could be arrested simply because they have giant metal claws coming out of their hands. Illegal immigrants may not have special or dangerous powers, but their fear is equally real, especially with the pervasive rhetoric of Donald Trump labeling them all as criminals and rapists.

Four Hombres of Apocalypse
A lot of the rhetoric surrounding sanctuary cities and the illegal immigrants who populate them has to do with the crime rates of those cities. Yet, the facts don’t bare out any sort of evidence that sanctuary cities are more lawless or more dangerous because of their undocumented population. In fact, the truth may be the opposite. Using an Immigration and Customs Enforcement data-set obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, the Center for American Progress analyzed various indicators that compared the success of sanctuary cities and non-sanctuary cities and came up with some interesting conclusions.

According to their statistical analysis there are, on average, 35.5 fewer crimes committed per 10,000 people in sanctuary counties compared to non-sanctuary counties. In a small way, this makes sense as –we have already discussed– undocumented and documented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than citizens. A look at census data between 1980 and 2010 shows that for men between the ages of 18 to 49, immigrants were 50% to 80% less likely to be incarcerated as those born in the United States. Justice Department figures show that -across all ages and sexes- immigrants only make up 5% of the American prison population, yet make up 7% of the general American population. Trump and others sometimes point to the fact that 22% of federal inmates are immigrants, but that fact is misleading, as about one-third of those federal inmates are serving time for immigration offenses which are not covered by any specific state laws -thus they are not eligible for state prisons.

To return to the X-Men analogy, a person who is already part of a persecuted minority tends to do their best to stay out of trouble, rather than involve themselves in it. After all, if you are a mutant walking around you are going to be more wary of who you interact with or what situations you involve yourself in. Of course, there are always opposite and anecdotal examples that hardliners will trout to make their point, but when you examine the national trends and statistics you see that they tend to be the minority. Most illegal immigrants, like most mutants are just trying to live their lives, regardless of the target on their back. Maybe that is why sanctuary cities are just as safe -if not safer- as non-sanctuary cities or counties.

The Pays of Future Cash
Perhaps even more surprising, sanctuary cities perform better in certain metrics than their non-sanctuary counterparts. The annual median household income in sanctuary cities, on average, is $4,353 higher compared to non-sanctuary counties. On average, the poverty rate is 2.3% lower and unemployment is 11.1% lower in sanctuary cities compared to non-sanctuary counties. Now at least some of these discrepancies can be attributed to the fact that sanctuary cities tend be larger metropolitan areas with more opportunity than smaller -and more rural- non-sanctuary areas. However, it is also proven that immigrants -even illegal immigrants- have positive economic impacts on the areas in which they inhabit.

An increase in economical indicators in sanctuary areas has at least some correlation with the availability of cheap labor, but also with the availability of ambition. Immigrants -especially illegal immigrants- who risk everything to come to America do so to make a life for themselves. In fact, according to a study conducted at Harvard, undocumented immigrant men are more likely to be employed than documented immigrant men, who themselves are more likely to be employed than men who are US citizens. Undocumented immigrants now account for about 5% of US labor. And with more people employed -and not on welfare, because having no documents literally means that you cannot apply for welfare- than that is more money that gets pumped back into the local economies of those sanctuary cities. That means more people purchasing, and paying taxes -because yes illegal immigrants do pay billions in taxes.

In Marvel Comics there is only one small gene that separates humans and mutants. However, in our world there is no difference between “average” Americans and undocumented immigrants. We are all looking for the same opportunities, the same comforts, emotions, and the basic protections that all humans are owed.Professor X created his school and his opened his home as a safe space for a persecuted population. He knew that given the chance the mutants under his care would flourish and find their purpose in life. Together he believed that they could build a safe community where everyone was given a fair chance, and that equality among regular humans and mutants would ultimately raise up both groups up together.

Sanctuary cities, like Professor X’s mansion, are nothing more than places where those who are being hunted can feel safe. They are places where illegal immigrants can expect at least some basic considerations, where they do not have to always fear that ever siren or every person on the street could mean their end. We do not have a small marginalized population that can fly or walk through walls, but we do have a population of people who are invisible, and without places like sanctuary cities, they would suffer even more than they already are.

Now cue the best damn theme song in cartoon history:

Perhaps you recently read that we here at The NYRD have decided that it is time to introduce a new party to the hot, sticky, and unseemly jungle that is American politics. Thus, the Nerd Party has been born and we are committed to doing what is right for Americans, young and old, man and woman, poindexter or dweeb, alike. As a party we believe in values like justice, fairness, equality-ness, and cosplay, but it’s hard to launch a campaign on those vague ideas, especially cosplay. That is why we thought it might be time to clarify our positions on some very important topics.

Since March of 2010 America has endured under the economic weight of the Affordable Care Act. This legislation, passed by partisan votes in the House and Senate, has become one of the most divisive bills in American history, and has suffered tragically in runaway costs, websites that don’t work, and fewer choices of robots. So, we at the Nerd Party believe that there is another way, a better way, a mechanical way.

On day one in office we will ask Congress to repeal Obamacare and replace this divisive law with a plan we are calling Robocare. Much like the Republican candidates and their esteemed orange front-runner we believe that the free market can fix all our problems, like a magic wand made of elm with a core of a single strand of toupee of Trump. So, we asked ourselves, what is the most proven tactic for the free market economy? Then we answered ourselves: automation.

This proven tactic helped drive down costs and increase production in factories all across the American heartland and it is painfully obvious that if we want to truly reduce the costs of our medical system, robots are our only logical choice. So, the Nerd Party is committed to the belief that anyone in America has the right to visit any robot physician they choos. Best of all the GOP Congress will have to vote for it. It embodies all the the cold, unfeeling, and mechanical aspects of a free market healthcare plan that they are looking for, because when getting a prostate exam there is nothing quite like the metallic finger of the free market. So, America, we don’t care if you’re visiting a state of the art surgery-droid or a Roomba with a scalpel duct taped to it. It is your God given American right to be able to have access to any robot of your choosing, because if Donald Trump gets his way most people will probably only be able to afford Dr. Siri anyway.

International Relations
A main component of our China policy is leadership, and demanding extra egg rolls. We strongly believe that good international relations are key to the prosperity of America, but we are not afraid to get tough about it either. That is why we will never back down and never compromise with tyrant countries like China, Mexico or Smurf Village. The rest of the world has come to see the United States as soft over the past 8 years. They have even begun to believe that we might be a country willing to work toward reasonable global partnership, as if we actually cared about the rest of the world.

So we at the Nerd Party have a plan to fix all that. To start we will be ordering Wakanda to forgive all our debts for Vibranium purchases going back to World War II. After all, we legally purchased the material and promised payment in good faith, but screw them. We’re Americans, not Lannisters. We don’t have to pay our debts. Also, we are fully prepared to order the US military into Narnia if thier religious dictator of a lion refuses to build a wall around every wardrobe in this country. We can no longer tolerate them sending us their murders, rapists, and satyrs. More importantly, we are fully prepared to order airstrikes on all training camps used by terrorists and dark wizards. We cannot let places like Hogwarts -an admitted school of witchcraft- continue unchallenged.

Political Finance Reform
The Nerd Party finances its own campaign, mostly through the selling of our old comics and Star Wars action figures -still in the original packaging- but there are a select few politicians that believe there is too much money in politics. Currently big corporations and billionaire donors can give unlimited money to Super PACs, anonymously. Super PACs can then use that unlimited cash flow to support any candidate they choose, and by “any candidate”  we mean the candidate that set up the Super PAC in the first place. However, we here at the Nerd Party believe that there should be even more money in politics, and different types of money too. We’re talking BitCoins, Steam credit, and even Amazon gift cards, because if it’s good enough to be a gift from our grandmothers, than surely it’s good enough as a campaign donation.

The way we see it, money in politics is like money in video games. Sure you can work hard, level your character, and gain experience and gold through honest gameplay, but that’s for suckers. Why not just use your credit card information to purchase that Level 100 Glowing Weapon of Awesomeness or that +20 Strength Armor of Impenetrable Steel? Who cares if wearing them unfairly represents the actual level of skill and trust that you have earned in a game that so many others have devoted months and years of their life to playing fairly? Politics isn’t about trust, its about winning, so why should we have to settle for that Level 5 Campaign Poster when we can get a few rich kids to pay for the +30 Platinum Campaign Ad Blitz. After all, they’re just doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s not like we’re going to owe them anything at some point down the line… right?

Tax Reform
Too few Americans are working, too many jobs have been shipped overseas, and too many families cannot make ends meet. The Democrats want to blame this problem on the top 1% and say that we should raise their taxes to compensate for our failing middle class. Yet, we here at the Nerd Party feel that we need to place blame where blame is due, and that is squarely on the scaly shoulders of those who deserve it, dragons. For too long these giant fire-breathing lizards have terrorized farm lands and horded our gold reserves, putting good working class families out of business and obtaining wealth that they have no intention to reinvest in the economy. Who really needs to sleep on a mound of gold, other than Donald Trump, but we hear that’s just for lumbar support.

The rich are not to blame. We give them tax breaks and they give the rest of us wonderful gifts in return, such as low wage jobs, union crushing lawsuits, and the Kardashians. No the real culprits are dragons and it is time we start raising taxes on Smaug and his ilk of fiendish lizard misers. Unlike bank CEO’s or trust fund managers, their greed knows no bounds. They only live to acquire more wealth  than they possibly need. That is bad for the economy because if money or Dwarven gold is not invested properly into the market than it cannot grow or be taxed to help provide public services or private industry growth. That is why under the Nerd Party we will be implementing a 35% Dragon Horde tax. Every year we will send a group of IRS agents to the lair of every dragon in America to collect a percentage of their gold. Those that come back alive will surely bring with them enough new tax money to help boost our flagging economy. You might laugh at us now, but even you have to agree that taxing dragons is at least less of a fairy tale economic strategy than giving breaks to the already wealthiest 1% of this country.

Real immigration reform puts the needs of working people first, and that is why the Nerd Party we will not back down from our powerful neighbors to the south. We have had enough of Mexican tyranny. Sure, they are ranked 15th in GDP, and we’re ranked number 1. Sure, they import more American goods than almost any other country, but we are tired of their sass and lack of construction efforts. When the Nerd Party takes power, we will not only force them to make a wall, but also a ceiling, some nice laminated wood panel flooring, and maybe even a sun porch.

This wall will be the biggest wall you have ever seen, but that is only the beginning, because after we build it we will form a group of dedicated individuals who will stand atop that wall and swear an oath to hold no lands, father no children, wear no crowns -not even those paper Burger King ones- and win no glory. They will live and die at their post, and make sure no Mexican, Wildling, or White Walker can ever get across. Our first priority needs to be securing our borders against anyone who just wants to make a better life for themselves.

That is also why we will be closing our borders to all Jedi Knights. Please know that we are not unreasonable, and we acknowledge that not all Jedi are Sith, but can we really take that kind of a risk with the safety of American lives. Last year Dark Jedi killed millions during the Starkiller attacks, and even though that was the work of only one or two individuals, we will irrationally blame every person identifying as a Jedi. Please also note that this will only be a temporary measure, but it will be aimed at keeping out any knight, padawan, or anyone else in a bathrobe. We will turn them all away, even those who are desperately and innocently fleeing the very things we are afraid of: terrorism, war, and Order 66. We cannot let these types of religious fanatics into America, especially when we already have so many of our own types of religious fanatics already here.

Second Amendment
The Second Amendment to our constition is clear -well kinda/sorta clear- and that is why we have made our position on this issue equally clear. However, we feel this amendment needs to go further. That is why the Nerd Party is pushing for an expansion to allow citizens the right to keep and bear doomsday devices, without limit. We are talking about weather dominators, moon-based laser cannons, fission bombs hidden away on islands shaped like skulls. The world has changed and muskets alone are no longer enough to overthrow a tyrannical government on a whim, and for far too long only super-villains have had access to these types of weapons. We, as Americans, cannot rely on British super spies to be there every time one of those criminals wants to hold a global nation hostage for ransom money. The only way to stop a bad guy with a thermonuclear device is a good guy with a thermonuclear device. Thus, our stance on the Second Amendment is much like America’s stance on nuclear weapons in the Cold War, mutually assured… something. We never really paid attention too well in history class, and it doesn’t matter.

You see, our real problem is that we need to reform our mental health care system. Places like Arkham Asylum are nothing but revolving door facilities, and super-villains by definition are criminally insane. We need to improve our medical screening process to be on the look out for megalomaniacs who might have the power and resources to do real damage to this country. All super-villainous acts have one thing in common- there were red flags that were ignored. People of power and influence, with giant egos and small hands, who were allowed to continue in their megalomania undiagnosed, until they were pushed too far. One day a man is a typical billionaire real estate mogul/reality star and the next he is wearing an iron mask and calling himself a ridiculous villain name like “The Revenger,” “The Doomsayer,” or  “The Donald.”

The Nerd Party truly believes that we need a better system for identifying these types of people and getting them off the streets, because at least the majority of people who own guns can only hurt a few innocents, but megalomaniacs can hurt our entire nation, sometimes even without missile based satellite technology.

So, remember to get out there and vote Nerd, because really what other choices do you have left?

Look up in the sky. It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s a flying illegal immigrant. Immigration, both legal and illegal, has been a hot topic issue for over a decade, but with the upcoming election it is gaining new prominence, thanks in part to our own toupee-wearing version of Lex Luthor. Donald Trump has proven his obsession with immigrants in much the same way that the bald CEO of Luthor Corp both hates and fears a certain undocumented worker at the Daily Planet. Both men even enjoy putting their names on the side of buildings, but this article isn’t about Trump or Luthor or any other super-villain running for President. This is about looking at how modern immigration works for both legal and non-legal residents, because when you start to look at the paperwork, the rhetoric, the costs, and the red-tape, you begin to understand that even the Man of Steel would have problems leaping through them all in a single bound.

The Golden Age of Immigration
The immigrant story has always been a core part of who Superman is, a being come to live in a place where he never feels as if he belongs, but striving to do all he can to help his new home prosper. There is a reason for this. Both Joel Shuster and Jerry Siegel were the sons of Jewish immigrants. In fact Shuster himself was originally from Canada. They created Superman in the late 1930’s, at a time when Jewish immigrants were trying to escape Germany and the encroaching horrors of the holocaust. America -still emerging from the Great Depression- was torn on whether or not accept them. Thus, in 1938 Superman arrived on the scene, an immigrant with extraordinary abilities. We’re not claiming that Superman was created as some sort of political statement about immigration policies, only to point out that we are not the first nor the last generation of Americans to struggle with questions of immigration.


For much of the 18th and 19th century, this country had a fairly open policy when it came to migrants, whether they be German, Irish, or Kyrptonian. It was not until after the Civil War when economic hardships forced states to pass their own immigration laws that things started to become more complicated. In response, the Supreme Court ruled that only the Federal Government could regulate immigration, and regulate it they did. They created laws like the Chinese Exclusion Act, which did exactly what it sounds like. From that point forward laws governing citizenship and immigration grew more convoluted and biased, until 1965 when Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act. It ended a 1924 quota system, which heavily favored Western European immigrants over all others, and aimed at bringing skilled workers to the United States whatever their ethnic backgrounds.

The Migrant of Steel
Essentially, the 1965 law ended immigration preferences based on race, sex, or place of birth. It also heralded a rapid decline in white European immigrants. In 1965 European and Canadian immigration made up 60% of the migrants entering the USA. By 1970 that number had dropped to 20%. The total non-Hispanic white population in America declined from 85% in 1965 to 62.2% in 2014. Certain politicians -like Lex Luthor and his orange real-world counterpart- use fear and bigotry as a justification for closing our borders, often claiming Mexicans and other illegal immigrants are coming to take Americans’ jobs, but really we have not been talking about illegal immigration up to this point. The changing racial and ethnic make-up of America is not due to people here illegally, but because of those that came through the proper channels. In fact, undocumented residents make up a very small proportion of the people who enter the United States every year, but you would never know that by the rhetoric of some politicians.

Would it also surprise you to know that only 81% of illegal immigrants are from Latin America? Did you know that the illegal migrant population has actually declined from 12.2 million in 2009 to 11.3 million and has remained steady ever since, or that Mexicans only make up 49% of the undocumented population? When most people think of illegal immigrants they have a clear picture in their heads, and the Lex Luthors of the world often exploit those stereotypes to put blame particularly on Mexico for sending us their “criminals and rapists,” who burden the good people of America.

Superman is an illegal immigrant, and far worse Clark Kent lives each day under a forged birth certificate and a falsely issued social security number. Most undocumented migrants do not have that luxury, but the Man of Steel, on the other hand, is eligible for healthcare -not that he really gets sick- and social security benefits, -not that he really ages- but we don’t think of people who look like Kal-El when we think of undocumented residents? Maybe we forgive Superman because of his abilities, but what if that is not the only reason? What if it has less to do with his heat vision and more to do with the color of his skin? There has always been an ugliness to the American immigration system, one that is often lessened for white immigrants. The more you examine the history of US Immigration policies the more racial and regional biases become apparent, and that is doubly so when it comes to illegal migrants.

Faster Than a Speeding Green Card
You might be saying, “Why don’t they just come here legally, like everybody else?” Current American laws are complex and take a lot of time and money. Not everyone has access to either of those things, especially when trying to escape violence, drought, or starvation. In many cases the people that would benefit most from immigration are the ones that simply cannot do it.

The legal immigration process is fraught with more obstacles than a deathtrap designed by the Riddler. There are only four conditions under which a person is allowed to legally immigrate to the United States:

  1. Already have a family member who is a citizen;
  2. Marry a citizen;
  3. Have a valuable skill set; or
  4. Be a refugee fleeing from a country.

Each of those four criteria come with their own host of problems. For example, marrying an American citizen is not the “easy-street” process that movies and hilarious sitcoms make it seem. Not only do you still need to go through the regular channels of immigration, but your marriage will be evaluated and tested by the government at every turn. Being a refugee is not much easier either. America accepted less than 80,000 refugees last year and the paperwork, inspections, and background checks could take years, even for people in urgent need of relocation. Normal immigrants could wait literally decades to be allowed to enter into the country, and the process takes a lot of money. Medical examinations, interviews, legal consultation, and more interviews. The process is far from straight-froward and the paperwork is often confusing. Mistakes are common and that could mean delays, more legal fees, and even starting again from scratch. Most people will find themselves paying thousands of dollars and could be left waiting for up to 20 years to be accepted. There are over 1.3 million Mexican immigrants waiting on backlog to come to America legally, right now.

We at the NYRD are not excusing illegal immigration, but when your home planet is exploding you don’t always have the time to fill out the proper paperwork. When you live in a place where drug cartels behead people and your child has to subsist on diseased water you probably cannot afford to wait two decades. Where does that leave Clark Kent? An argument could be made for refugee status, or foreign adoption, or even that he has a unique skill set. After all, the immigration policy literally says that they are looking for “aliens with extraordinary abilities.” Yet, Jonathon and Martha Kent followed no legal channels. They forged documents and created false records, offering sanctuary to a literal illegal alien. Does that put them in the wrong? What about Jor-El? Should we demonize that Marlon-Brando-wannabe for not going through the proper channels before sending his baby to Earth? Is the plight of Kal-El so much different than the plight of a child from Honduras or Mexico, whose parents can only hope that they are doing everything they can to send them away to a better world?

Believing a Man Can Fly
Lastly, it is worth dispelling certain notions that people have about illegal immigrants. First off, 69% of Americans, are actually against deporting the undocumented whom are already in this country, and maybe that is because those people understand that illegal immigrants are not “taking American jobs” or “sucking dry the welfare system.” When you logically think about the argument, it seems more absurd than that time Superman flew backwards around the planet. By definition undocumented immigrants are undocumented. That means they do not have a social security numbers or even a birth certificate. They don’t have the proper paperwork to get a driver’s license let alone apply for unemployment, food stamps, medicare, or any of the other systems that certain people claim they are overburdening. Illegal immigrants are already here and they are already contributing. In fact, illegal immigrants only make up 3.5% of the US population, but they make up an estimated 5.1% of the US labor force, and not because they are taking people’s jobs as doctors, lawyers, or journalists with the Daily Planet. Many have to work multiple low-income, highly physical, and hour intensive jobs just to support their families. Another recent study found that illegal immigrants actually pay about 11.8 billion in taxes, with no chance of receiving any of that money back through refunds or services.

Of course, this situation does hurts the rest of us as well. Some estimates say that illegal immigrants cost Americans residents 100 billion each year, but not in the way you think. Illegal immigrants can’t drive because they don’t have driver’s licenses, but on the rare occasion they are forced to drive -whether for work or due to an emergency- and they hit your car, then guess who will have to pay for all the damages. Undocumented residents also tend to avoid hospitals because they are afraid of being deported, which means they only seek medical help for the most dire of problems. Unfortunately, they are not eligible for healthcare, so the cost is shouldered by the hospital who then shifts that burden to other patients. Deporting Clark Kent and other illegal immigrants is not the solution either, as the deportation process is lengthy and costly. The irony here, is that the best course of action is to actually give these 11.3 billion migrants legal status so they can contribute and work in our nation in legal and meaningful ways, because if Superman is meant to teach us anything it is that people can be extraordinary if they are given the right chance.

There have been more than a few studies to prove that immigration works. Immigrants, of any color or creed, help revitalize areas like Detroit. Many do work that native residents often shun, while others start business and bring fresh ideas to boost the economy. Migrants also help keep our country young at a time when modern and developed countries are facing an aging crisis. Places like China and Japan are looking at an aging population, while we will continue have a fresh workforce and young taxpayers. Immigration has shaped this country for the better, but we need to move beyond those old fears and bigotries. America has always been about taking in the tired, poor, and huddled masses yearning to breathe free the rays of a yellow sun that will make them stronger here then they were at home.

Yes, we 100% need to reform the immigration system, but we cannot close our borders, nor forget the people who are already here. To do so would mean a chance on missing out on the next Einstein, Shuster, Siegel, or maybe even the next Superman.