On Tuesday, Politico published “Sponsor an Immigrant Yourself”—a thought exercise from people allegedly named “Eric Posner” and “Glen Weyl” that attempts to solve our immigration debate by thinking so far out of the box that the box now can only be seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. They’re so out of the box, in fact, that they’ve completed a full revolution around the sun and they’re back in the same fucking box. A box that someone needs to staple shut and drop-kick into a puddle.
A few hundred words into the piece, they attempt to explain their rationale with an example of how it would work—a hypothetical featuring recently laid-off West Virginians with dog-walking side hustles so thriving they need to hit up Craigslist ... but for undocumented immigrants for help. If there were a Pulitzer for “Writing While Aggressively White,” this passage would definitely be a nominee:
Imagine a woman named Mary Turner, who lives in Wheeling, West Virginia. She was recently laid off from a chicken-processing plant and makes ends meet by walking and taking care of her neighbors’ pets. Mary could expand her little business by hiring some workers, but no one in the area would accept a wage she can afford. Mary goes online—to a new kind of international gig economy website, a Fiverr for immigrants—and applies to sponsor a migrant. She enters information about what she needs: someone with rudimentary English skills, no criminal record and an affection for animals. She offers a room in her basement, meals and $5 an hour. (Sponsors under this program would be exempt from paying minimum wage.) The website offers Mary some matches—people living in foreign countries who would like to spend some time in the United States and earn some money. After some back and forth, Mary interviews a woman named Sofia who lives in Paraguay.
Sofia, who grew up in a village, has endured hardships that few Americans can imagine. She is eager to earn some money so that she could move to her nation’s capital city and get some vocational training. A few weeks later, Sofia arrives in Wheeling, after taking a one-week training course on American ways. If things don’t work out, the agency that runs the website will find a new match for Sofia, and Mary will find someone new as well.
Anyway, I read the entire piece so you don’t have to. Below are the 10 worst (and whitest) things about this idea.
1. It’s slavery.
2. No, seriously. Its slavery.
3. It’s not even slavery-adjacent.
4. Or “slavery-flavored”—which is what I call black licorice.
5. Nah, this is fucking slavery.
6. I mean, it includes the line, “Sponsors under this program would be exempt from paying minimum wage.” So you could, conceivably, pay a migrant in bite-sized Snickers if you chose to. Which would be delicious. But it would be delicious slavery.
7. “Wait,” I hear you asking, “are you saying that Politico published a piece in two thousand fucking eighteen arguing for fucking slavery?”
8. Yes. I am saying exactly that.
9. “Why would they do such a thing? Who approved this? Who commissioned it? Who are their editors? Who raised these feckless fucks?”
10. White people.