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The right and wrong way to deal with immigrants

Yesterday was an interesting day in Boston. Two groups of aliens gathered around Beantown, each seeking changes in their status.

On Boston Common, a big "immigrants rights" rally was held. They brought hundreds of crosses, commemorating those who have died trying to cross our southern border. I don't quite get their message, but they seem to be calling for increased quotas and streamlined policies for legal immigraiton and citizenship -- something I happen to agree with. But they lost me when they said they just want to "get in line" with those already going through the legal process.

The problem is, the line forms at the rear. Get in line BEHIND those already trying to do it legally. Only once we've cleared out those folks should we even THINK about addressing the illegal ones. I don't like line-cutters in the supermarket, at the bank, and we certainly should not accept it at the border.

Meanwhile, across town, 202 other aliens gathered. And there the government did the right thing -- this country now has 202 fewer aliens inside our borders. We no longer have to worry about those citizens of other nations running around loose in our country. After years and years of legal wrangling and endless mountains of paperwork, those aliens are not a problem any more.

Because yesterday, they took their oaths and became American citizens.

The "line," for them, started about ten years back. And while I think that might be a bit too long, it SHOULD be a very complicated and time-consuming process. Changing one's citizenship is a huge matter. It's more than just moving to a new nation. It's renouncing your prior allegiance, it's abandoning your native people and native culture, and becoming part of a whole new one.

American citizenship is one of the greatest things in the world. Far too many of us who have enjoyed that tremendous privilege through accident of birth too often take it for granted, and that's a damned shame. But we should not cheapen American citizenship (or, for that matter, citizenship of any nation, because every immigrant we accept is "voting with their feet" and rejecting their homeland) by making it too easy to obtain.

Today, I have something I did not have yesterday morning. I have 202 new fellow citizens, brethren who in all likelihood value that which forms our common bond far more dearly than I ever will. I envy them, in a way, and welcome them and what they bring to us.

And to those who assembled on Boston Common yesterday, I say this: put your money where your mouth is. You want to get in line? Fine. The end of the line is back in your home land. Stop pissing on those already in line. We're working on fixing our immigration problem, but your constant in-your-face tactics are only feeding the justifiable outrage of those who believe that laws, and procedures, and borders actually still mean something.


Comments (26)

Hmmmm.Ame... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

American citizenship is one of the greatest things in the world.

As someone who has taken the naturalization oath I can attest to this.

I've remarked before that I'm one of the luckiest people on Earth in that I've already won in one of the most important lotteries there are.

It would be nice if the imm... (Below threshold)

It would be nice if the immigration rules were easier to understand.

However, hard-to-understand rules aren't an excuse to break them.

I guess I do agree with thi... (Below threshold)

I guess I do agree with this in word and idea, but it's just so hard to figure out how to follow through with it. If there aren't jobs for their families in Mexico, can we blame them for coming over here? I think they should go about it in a legal way, but what should their families do in the mean time? While they wait for citizenship?

gamer girl:That's wh... (Below threshold)
Craig:

gamer girl:
That's why I tend to support punishing the employers, and not the immigrants. We should also encourage developement in Mexico.

It's hard to blame a man lookin' for work. But at the same time, employment doesn't make a person a loyal citizen. South Americans have good work-ethic. The fact that they cross the boarder to come here doesn't mean they like us, it just means they want to provide for their family.

People who spend 10 years trying to become citizens will most likely be loyal.

Add me to the list of those... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Add me to the list of those that did the ten year stint. Frankly, there are a lot of "natural" citizens of the US who don't deserve it and should be thankful that by accident of birth and geography they have what I sought to get.

Those embracing a socialist/communist style of government have no idea what they are espousing. I've lived in one. It is, IMHO, the worst thing to do to humanity. It robs a person of their soul/spirit/humanity.

I have a suggestion for tre... (Below threshold)
jp2:

I have a suggestion for treating immigrants better: don't call anyone a "wetback."

The fact that we are having... (Below threshold)
Twok:

The fact that we are having this debater further proves that the US will still be the only superpower by 2030, despite what many may wish.

Read the article.

jp2,Wetback only r... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

jp2,

Wetback only refers to ILLEGALS.

So not using the term for 'anyone' will not be treating immigrants any better at all.

Oh. I stand corrected. Feel... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Oh. I stand corrected. Feel free to use that specific racial slur now. Carry on!

Way to put words in my mout... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Way to put words in my mouth jp2!

Where did I advocate use of the term?

I merely pointed out that your suggestion was meaningless.

Craig said: That's why I... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Craig said: That's why I tend to support punishing the employers, and not the immigrants. We should also encourage developement in Mexico.

I agree about punishing the employers, but it should be in addition to, instead of in place of, punishing the immigrants. I think there should be a path to make the illegals "legal", but I say that only because it isn't practical to send them back to Mexico, in my opinion.

They broke the law, there should be some consequence to that. Bush's proposal to have the illegal immigrants pay back taxes and an additional $2000 "fine" (can't remember if that's what he called it) seems fair also.

I saw a headline today where Bush is calling on the US Tech firms to find ways to create an electronic surveillance "fence" at the border. That sounds to me like a better way to spend money than to have 6,000 members of the National Guard stepping all over each other trying to help. It would be a more permanent fix too.

I agree with Lee here...I..... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

I agree with Lee here...I...wait did I just say I agree with Lee?

Wow.

Illegals acquired that "in ... (Below threshold)
DOUG BOOK:

Illegals acquired that "in your face" attitude from venal, self-serving politicians who have spent the past few decades making it clear that the law runs a poor second to a vast pool of new voters.

I've talked to my Senator's... (Below threshold)
Tim:

I've talked to my Senator's office about an amendment on the immigration reform bill and I'm waiting to see if Sen. Burr (R-NC) brings it up. What I proposed was "No guest worker visa for any illegal who has been employed using a fake or stolen S.S. number." You would THINK the "no felony conviction" part of the bill would cover this, but I'm taking no chances.I figured since everyone thinks illegals are just day workers, this should pass. Being in the construction business I've seen how many use fake S.S. cards and I know of the underground network that makes them. This will force illegals who are currently at jobs using fake S.S. numbers to seek employment elsewhere or continue living in the shadows, pretending to be legal and not have a shot at a guest worker visa. If I can't make them leave the country, I can at least make them leave their current job.

I've talked about privatizi... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

I've talked about privatizing enforcement against employers many time, but I'm obviously wasting my time. So, how about amnesty for illegals who turn in employers who hire illegals? Prosecutors already cut deals with alleged law breakers in exchange for their cooperation in prosecuting bigger fish, so there would be nothing fundamentally new about such a program. All that's needed is a federal law giving local prosecutors the power to grant amnesty and green cards to illegals who help bring bigger fish to justice.

The point is that as long as the U.S. has jobs for illegal aliens, it will be extremely difficult to stop the flow across the border. Republicans are going to have to stand up to business groups who try to protect business that are breaking the law. The Federal government also owes employers a fool-proof means of verifying someone's status in the U.S. That may mean fingerprinting all of us, but if it's good enough for our military, then it's good enough for all of America.

I know the posters on this ... (Below threshold)
Drew E.:

I know the posters on this blog are more sophisticated than the average blog. As such I am sure you are aware of the responses our AG Alberto G. gave when asked if his grandparents entered our country in a legal fashion. He wasn't sure. C'mon if they did he would be sure. So...the main man responsible for inforcing our laws would not, maybe, even be here if his grand parents had not been "wetbacks". If needed I can provide links to his answers but as i said I am sure you have either accessed them or know how. If not say so and i will post.

Sheik,Jp2's point wa... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Sheik,
Jp2's point was worthless because she was the first person to use the term today.
What's next, asking if Jay still beats his wife?

Lest we forget...we would n... (Below threshold)
Drew E.:

Lest we forget...we would not have to be sending folks who have served in Iraq...The Republicans CUT FUNDS FOR MORE BORDER CONTROL IN 2005 ... google "cut funds border patrol 2005" pretending yesterday did not happen would work out fine if the net did not exist.... 9/11 happened in 2001....folks have been coming across without legal status since at least our AG's gradparents. Now there is a problem?

See the "be afraid, be very afraid" card is not working anymore.

Hmmm.I've... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

I've talked about privatizing enforcement against employers many time, but I'm obviously wasting my time.

I must admit that this idea is growing on me a great deal. For one thing it bypasses any institutional reluctance to prosecute. For another I believe there is already a precendent.

I seem to remember there being a law that allows private individuals to pursue debts owed to the government that the government was unwilling to recover. Perhaps because they were too small or overworked or something. I'm probably wrong on the particulars on this, but I do seem to remember that there are circumstances where private individuals can represent the government in civil litigation.

I've talked to my Senato... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

I've talked to my Senator's office about an amendment on the immigration reform bill and I'm waiting to see if Sen. Burr (R-NC) brings it up. What I proposed was "No guest worker visa for any illegal who has been employed using a fake or stolen S.S. number." You would THINK the "no felony conviction" part of the bill would cover this

Isn't the act of illegally crossing the border a felony in the first place, or is it just a misdemeanour? Perhaps, it's time to change that law.

After we have seen all the ... (Below threshold)
T.Siconolfi:

After we have seen all the mass protests, which were mobilized in a few days. Does anyone really think these illegals will pay fines, taxes or learn to speak English. They are going to say NO to all that. The marches scared the hell out of the politicians. How is the IRS going bring 12,000,000 to justice.? The average American would never get away without paying.

ed,I don't know ab... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

ed,

I don't know about the collecting debt law you mentioned, but some architectural barrier provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act authorize private enforcement. Under the ADA, private individuals can bring a civil suit against covered business that don't provide proper access for disable individuals. It's an extremely effective and cheap (for government) way of ensuring compliance with the law.

For any system of privatization or amnesty to work, the federal government would have to establish a fool-proof means of rapidly identifying who's legal and who's not. That means every American who wants to work is going to need their fingerprints on file. Anyone who has been in the military already has them on file, and I feel illegal immigration is such a threat to this nation that it justifies fingerprinting everyone.

Empathy is a wonderful thin... (Below threshold)
MT:

Empathy is a wonderful thing, and it's easy to have much of it for the illegals that are coming over simply looking to better their lives and to work. There are countless examples of people that are deserving of empathy while waiting their turn...someone late for an interview in a traffic jam, waiting in line at the DMV for hours, hopeful transplant recipients. The bottom line is that there IS a line, and as JayTea correctly points out, the end of it is on the other side of the border. McCain doesn't get that. Bush doesn't get that...many Senators don't get it. It's baffling.

[email protected] Mac Lorry<... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

@ Mac Lorry

Well considering that Bush spent a few minutes in his speech talking about highly secure foreign worker ID, I don't see why it shouldn't be applied to citizens.

Hell it might make a dent in the indentity theft business.

Drew E.,Are you aw... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Drew E.,

Are you aware of what laws YOUR grandparents may or may not have broken before you were born?

C'mon, if they didn't break any laws, surely you would know that, right?

Drew E.:Let's be r... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Drew E.:

Let's be relevant to the situation shall we? What is the problem in question...is it whether your or my grandparents came here legally or is it the 15 million or more illegal aliens in the country now? (for the record mine did, their names are at Ellis Island)

I'm sure it helps your case to not actually argue the point.




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