'Why Can't I Micro-Chip an Illegal?'

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Arizona's harsh new immigration law has elicited heated words from both sides. But Iowa Republican Congressional candidate Pat Bertroche delivered the most inflammatory dictum on the subject when he suggested implanting microchips in illegal immigrants to track their movements.

I think we should catch ’em, we should document ’em, make sure we know where they are and where they are going. I actually support micro-chipping them. I can micro-chip my dog so I can find it. Why can't I micro-chip an illegal?

The comments sparked a predictable wave of disgusted one-line responses from left-wing bloggers. But a pair of liberal pundits weren't content with a simple dismissal, explicating the stupidity and bigotry of Bertroche's idea.

  • Political Satire Comes to Life  The Atlanta Journal Constitution's Jay Bookman wryly notes that he sarcastically suggested this exact proposal in a recent tongue-in-cheek post. "Illegal, after all, is illegal and real Americans shouldn’t be upset if they’re required to accept microchips as a way to keep our borders secure and our precious bodily fluids untainted," he recalls before shaking his head at Bertroche's remarks. "The only problem is, satire in modern America has become impossible."
  • This Needs to Stop  "Pat Bertroche, a Republican primary candidate for Congress in Iowa, has illustrated perfectly why you don't refer to human beings as "illegals": it's dehumanizing," snaps Change.org's Alex DiBranco, who unleashes a fulminating rant that touches on all forms of prejudice.
What ironclad logic. After all when you think of a person as "an illegal," as sub-human, it makes sense that you could treat them like a dog, right? Only citizens are human beings; they're just animals to be bagged and tagged. They certainly don't deserve any rights; they're lucky we don't put them on leashes, just like Bertroche would his dog. Hey, why don't we start buying and selling them, too? Just ignore those cries that they're free persons with inherent human dignity and cannot be treated as slaves. And when it comes to the women, those bitches can be raped and sold for sex at will, am I right?

Human beings are not pets. They are not property. And the dehumanizing rhetoric that leads people to forget this needs to stop.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.