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Immigration news from Bizarroworld

In the old days of Comics, the Superman books often featured a character called "Bizarro," who was in "imperfect duplicate" of Superman. He did everything backwards. Later, there developed a whole planet called "Bizarroworld" that was as opposite from Earth as the writers could make it -- it was cube-shaped, people were born old and grew into children, firemen started fires, "me hate you" was a term of endearment, and so on. It was a silly little conceit, and I never really liked it. One of the great things about the Superman "reboot" of the mid-80's was the purging of the Bizarro universe.

But this morning's paper made me think that someone was using that old "imperfect duplicating ray" on our immigration policy. There were two stories that leaped out at me.

First, there was the latest installment of the attempts to try illegal aliens on the "criminal trespass" statute. Jorge Ramirez faced a hearing today on his lawyers' attempt to get the charges dismissed.

The second story was about three Romanian students who had come to New Hampshire to work for the summer. When they arrived, they found out that the jobs were gone (the employer had withdrawn the offer), but they hadn't gotten the word in time. The agency who had arranged their visit offered them less-paying jobs at a McDonald's in New York City, but they couldn't afford to take them. They're trying to find other jobs here in Cow Hampshire.

Let's look at this for a moment. Mr. Ramirez came to the United States illegally, got a job, a cell phone, an SUV (unregistered and uninsured), then drove (without a license) to his job when he was caught. These three kids did everything right -- did all the paperwork, all the legwork, dotted every "i" and crossed every "t" -- and now can't even afford an apartment and a telephone.

I'm sincerely hoping that the story in the Union Leader will get those kids some decent jobs. Lord knows we NEED to encourage people to come here legally. But right now it looks like it's a hell of a lot more profitable to just follow Mr. Ramirez' example.


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Comments (1)

If you ever wonder why ille... (Below threshold)

If you ever wonder why illegal immigration is so rampant, this is why. There is often not much benefit to the legal route. If you dot all the i's and cross all the t's, wait forever, then get really, really lucky, you may make it. Even then you could easily get shafted by the system down the line, such as people on H-1B's who get laid off, or like these Romanian students, or like the Danecek's. Our immigration system is outdated and racist. The last major structural changes to it were made by anti-immigrant political groups.

As a consequence many would be immigrants decide it's not worth the trouble to go the legal route. I've met enough immigrants of both sorts to have a pretty good sense, I think, that by and large both the legal and illegal immigrant groups represent distinctly net positive contributions to our country. However, it helps not a bit that the latter are pushed outside the law by our insane immigration policy and bureaucracy. I see it really as a mirror of the drug war. Perhaps somewhere there is a seed of good intention, but it is buried under so much hideous dross that it might as well not exist. Perhaps some day we as a society will be able to openly break through the preconceptions (of immigrants, of drugs, etc.) to bring some sanity to these systems, but that's hoping a bit much in the short term, I think.




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