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June 27, 2007

Immigration II, Slashed and Burned

Patricia A. Kelly

President Bush's immigration bill has the country in an uproar. One conservative talk radio host called it the Amnesty Bill, and reported polls stating that 84% of Republicans and 55% of Democrats are against it, preferring that our border be secured prior to dealing with the question of what to do with the large illegal population.

Our country was founded by immigrants. They, their descendants, and a few Native Americans, make up the entire population of the country today. They built a great society.

One thing past immigrants shared is that they were legal. At some point, when I wasn't paying attention, our borders closed to legal immigrants, and opened to streams of illegal ones.

I have a good friend whose wife was dying of a particularly nasty form of breast cancer, requiring extensive care and frequent dressing changes. Because, I assume, she was Salvadorian (and legal), her 60-year old, married, home-owning sister was not allowed to come to this country and care for her, the explanation being that she might stay illegally. How cruel to deny family support to a dying woman on this basis!

Once people do become illegals, they are protected. We don't ask their status as they enroll their children in school. We'll even teach their children in their native tongue, at taxpayers' expense, insuring their continued isolation from our society.

"Oh, but what about these poor children? What will happen to them if we don't educate them?" What does happen is that we allow their parents to teach them effective lying, and how to hide from the law.

My young cousin just married a Russian girl. Well-educated, and a linguist, who can contribute a lot to our society, she was held up for more than a year-and-a-half in trying to immigrate here. "You like America too much" she was told at the embassy. "You might stay illegally."

I've heard the suggestion that the better qualified you are, the more difficult it is to get in. The truth is closer to "the more you attempt to follow the law, the more difficult it is to get in."

Our legal immigration policy is very restrictive. From many countries, one has to win a lottery to come to America. We are excluding people who could dramatically enrich our society, while being too cowardly to do what is necessary to limit illegal immigration.

The universal story about illegal immigration is that it would be very difficult and expensive to stop.

The second big story is that our government, and the "big boys," doesn't want to stop illegal immigration. Trust me. If they weren't getting something out of it, there wouldn't be so much of it.

The third big story is that we need to close the southern land border of our country with a fence, our very own "Berlin Wall." Even that abomination didn't completely prevent border crossings, in spite of the addition of a minefield and guards, who would shoot you dead if they could get you.

Do we intend to electrify our fence? Man it with armed guards every hundred yards who would shoot the little "wetbacks" as they swim across the Rio Grande? Place a minefield alongside it?

To make a closed border that worked would not only empty our Treasury, but would require us to become murderous brutes.

Not only that, if you count our southern water border, the Gulf of Mexico, we have about five borders, not just one. What would stop people from switching illegal immigration traffic from a truck to a boat? I read recently that there are only two border guards watching the entire coast of Oregon.

If we allow our leaders to perpetrate this fraud upon us when there are so many other, comparatively inexpensive and much more effective measures available, we will truly deserve what we get.

The benefits of illegal presence in this country should be removed across the board. It wouldn't even be that hard, if we have the guts to do it.

A driver's license, or a picture I.D., is already required for many, transactions in this country. What would be so wrong with requiring a driver's license, and/or an already available photo I.D. card for non-drivers, or a green card for all major transactions? One would be required to show a verifiable I.D. to get a job, rent an apartment, buy a car, enroll one's child in school, etc. Employers would be penalized for not requiring this. So would landlords.

Of course, to control immigration, people would be required to prove legal status to obtain one of these cards. We couldn't allow the California plan of giving driver's licenses to illegals. Lord, save us from the world's wackos!

Anyone here illegally and charged with a crime should be deported immediately with their government notified of their flight number and charges. Period.

Next, we should review our immigration and amnesty laws, and become more welcoming to hardworking people who can enrich our society, and to those who are being persecuted at home. We should increase these numbers and make legal immigration fairer.

We should follow our own laws, or make laws that match our practice.

After we implement these measures, and if our citizens cannot fill the need, I would favor a guest worker program that would allow people to work for a specified period for a specified employer and no other. (Check out the Philippine government program to see what works.) These guest workers would have the same right to apply for legal immigrant status as anyone.

If you don't speak up, your voice won't be heard.

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