Sunday, May 6, 2012

Illegal Immigration - NBA Edition

*(Note: in line with my previous post, I support greatly reducing the restrictions on who is or isn't allowed to enter the country. But I also support enforcing what few restrictions should exist, and that means deporting those who enter the country illegally. This is an essay I wrote two years ago making an analogy to help explain why.)

On Cinco de Mayo, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver announced that his team would wear a specially designed jersey that read "Los Suns" for their playoff game that evening, partially as a celebration of Arizona's Mexican population on their special holiday, and partially as a protest against the state's new illegal immigration act. He released a statement which read "The frustration with the federal government's failure to deal with the issue of illegal immigration resulted in passage of a flawed state law. However intended, the result of passing this law is that our basic principles of equal rights and protection under the law are being called into question, and Arizona's already struggling economy will suffer even further setbacks at a time when the state can ill-afford them."

Regardless of the fact that that is not what the Arizona law does at all, it’s intriguing that Sarver feels he is such an expert on how illegal immigration affects Arizona's "struggling economy," so much so that he feels qualified to use his unrelated sports franchise as forum of protest. Perhaps his comprehension of this economic impact would be enhanced if illegal immigration were put in terms Sarver can surely understand: that is, the economic results of an "illegal immigration" to a Phoenix Suns game.

There are over 30 million illegal immigrants in the United States, a nation which has 300 million citizens. That represents 10% of our population. According to, the Phoenix Suns’ stadium (the US Airways Center) has a capacity of 19,023 seats. So imagine that for this playoff game, 2,000 Spurs fans who did not buy tickets to the game decide to burst past the security guards and ticket checkers, hop the turnstiles, and take a seat at the game. Obviously, the security guards would catch some of these people, but the overflow of simultaneous turnstile-hoppers would easily outnumber them, and about 2,000 would be able to gain entrance to the stadium and take a seat.

When the late-arriving ticket holders arrive at their seats, they find them taken by somebody else, who will not move from their seat, forcing the ticket holders to stand around while the 2,000 intruders enjoy the game.

Midway through the first quarter, these Spurs fans notice that everyone around them is happily devouring hot dogs, ice cream, cotton candy, and other crowd favorites. The turnstile-hoppers did not bring their wallets, and cannot buy such amenities. So, they all loudly complain about this abhorrent injustice: “Why is it that everybody else gets food and we don't?”

By the start of the second quarter, all the Spurs fans are so hungry that they begin starting fights with the legal ticket holders in the crowd to take their food. While drunken fights do occur with some frequency at sporting events, these fights are far more prevalent than are fights amongst ticket holders. After all, the ticket holders already have food, so why would they need to fight one another to acquire it?

At halftime, the ticket holders who are either left without a seat or beat-up complain to the Security Guards and ask that something be done. Recognizing the ridiculousness of this situation, the Security Guards ask the seatless ticket-holders and the beat-up ticket holders to lead them to their seat number so that they may find the perpetrators and kick them back into the street. But when the ticket-less Spurs fans are checked, they complain loudly that the security guards are not also checking everybody else in the stadium for their tickets: “The only way you could possibly determine who's supposed to be at the game and who illegally broke-and-entered the stadium is by looking at what jersey's we are wearing!” they notice. “How come you're not checking people wearing Suns jerseys? What about all the Spurs fans in attendance who did legally buy a ticket? How dare you check my ticket without checking everyone else in the row!”

So the security guards oblige. They check everybody else in the row as well, and when the Spurs fans cannot provide their tickets, they confess to their crimes. But when the security guards apprehend them, kick them out of their seat, and return those seats to the paying ticket holders, half the bleachers explode in protest. "Aw, come on, he's already been here for 2 quarters!" they say. "You might as well let him stay now, he's been here just as long as any of us have been!"

By this time the 3rd quarter is well underway, and but the pandemonium in the crowd is so distracting that it's very difficult to play the game. The protests against the removal of the Spurs fans become so fervent that scores of people, fans of both the Spurs and the Suns, rush the court holding signs protesting this jersey-discrimination and demanding lower ticket prices so that maybe these poor Spurs would have been able to afford a ticket in the first place. After all, Spurs fans come from Texas, which means it's much harder for them to attend Arizona sporting events than it is us privileged citizens of Phoenix. It's only fair that their ticket price be waived!

You see, folks, this is exactly what has happened in our country. The basketball game is our economy, Spurs fans are Mexicans, ticket holders are citizens, security guards are cops, seats are jobs, fights are crime, and the various types of food are healthcare, drivers licenses, public education, and other amenities citizens enjoy. Illegal aliens barge into our nation and demand the same govt. services our citizens receive, without paying one cent of the taxes that support these services. Any attempt to crack down on the madness is met with unending protest by those who sympathize with their poverty.

For some reason, if Suns games were infiltrated in a similar way, I think Robert Sarver might have a change in heart.

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