Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Hey, look who's back!

C'est moi. :-) It's not really worth explaining where I've been. The short story would be vacation and continued problems with severe fatigue. But, after simply cutting a pill in half on a daily basis for one week, I'm much better now. Peachy keen, even. Go figure.

And I'm terribly concerned that, while on my hiatus, I've turned into a Republican. I even, shudder, shudder, found myself agreeing with one thing our President said on tv. Fortunately, I can't remember what it was, other than it was about immigration.

Maybe I shouldn't be cutting those pills in half, even if it does make me feel better . . . .

So. About immigration. I guess I'm just not liberal enough. Why, exactly, should we legalize the citizenship of those who have come here illegally? Seems like we allow a whole lot of people to immigrate here to begin with. Our legal borders are pretty porous, let alone our easily crossed physical borders. And I'm fine with that. The legally porous borders, that is.

My most recently imported relative was my Great Grandpa Thompson, who emigrated from England to Chicago. After that, I have to move to three and four greats to find my immigrant relatives. But even those who have been here since the 1600s immigrated from somewhere else. And I want our borders open enough to let in people who are following their dreams, just as my ancestors did.

But. You just knew there was a but here. Why in heaven's name does anyone have a problem with having an actual physical border fence placed between us and Mexico? Either put up a damn fence and stop people from wandering in and out at will (practically), or open the floodgates and rid ourselves of all immigration quotas and requirements. And, if you're going to have immigration rules, then why not enforce them?

Do I think that being an illegal immigrant should be a felony? Nope. Why would we want to fill our jails with non-citizens? Makes no sense to feed, clothe, and educate, let alone punish those who are not citizens. It's a stupid idea. But enforcing the current rules, which make illegal immigration a civil immigration offense should be a no-brainer.

Then there's the whole issue of criminalizing the assistance of illegal immigrant. The Senate bill removed a portion of the bill that would made it a felony to help illegal immigrants (other than in emergencies). I'm surprised to find myself somewhat oogly about this issue. No, of course I don't believe it should be a felony to assist illegals. And I don't believe that people in need should go without. But I have some doubt as to the rightness of helping those who are breaking the law. Should our resources go to those who are here legally first? Don't we have enough citizens who are hurting, who need our help?

I dunno.

I don't think our borders should be tighter because of 9/11, homeland security, and all that Republican scary, scary stuff. I think our borders should be tighter because US citizenship, despite all that the Republicans HAVE done, is still a sought-after privilege. The benefits that accompany that privilege are huge. Our national debt is huge, too. We simply don't have the funds to provide those privileges to the entire world. Do we?

Part of my not understanding has to do with the huge groundswell of support for illegal immigrants. "People are joining in so spontaneously, it's almost like the immigrants have risen. I would call it a civil rights movement reborn in this country." A civil rights movement? I don't think so. Seems kind of insulting to the African American citizens who fought for the privileges that they should have been afforded by their government under the Constitution. Their Constitution. Their country's Constitution.

Here's a quote from a young man who is a the son of illegal immigrants. "It's not fair to workers here to just kick them out without giving them a legal way to be here. To be treated as criminals after all the work they did isn't fair." Son, there was a legal way for them to be here. It's called following the immigration policies of the US. Your parents chose to ignore them. Probably chose to ignore them for good reason. To better themselves, and their family. But ignore them they did.

Criminalize them? No, nor demonize them. But it's not unfair or wrong to expect those who want the privileges of US citizenship to follow the rules to get those privileges. Does that mean some will be unable to obtain those privileges. Yes. Life is unfair, sometimes.

It's not anti-immigration to enforce immigration laws, nor is it racist. It's anti-ILLEGAL immigration--from anywhere. Huge difference, me thinks.

Now, you want to talk anti-immigrant? The McCain-Kennedy guest worker proposal is anti-immigrant. If we want to support immigrants, we want to support those who want to become citizens. Why encourage people to come, take low-wage jobs with little to no protection for themselves, and leave? Tamar Jacoby says it best. "It might make sense initially, these voters said, to admit workers on a provisional basis. It might also make sense to create incentives for the more transient to go home at the end of their work stints. But if they worked hard, put down roots and invested in their communities, wouldn't we want to encourage them to stay? Don't we want immigrants to assimilate? Don't we want to attract the kind of hard-working, committed folks who plan for the future and invest?"

Until sometime soon,


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