Tags: Immigration | Affects | All

Immigration Affects Us All

Friday, 15 June 2007 12:00 AM

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

— Emma Lazarus

This was the overwhelming, compassionate, and welcoming attitude of the American people when the above lines were engraved on a bronze tablet and affixed to the pedestal base of our Statue of Liberty in 1903.

Today in 2007, the prevailing attitude of the United States Congress, and even much of the administration, seems something like this: Hola — come 'n get it, amigos! Take what you want, Send some back to your home country, and keep the rest.

Your huddled masses can just move in, maybe pay no taxes, forget green cards, IDs, and all that legal stuff. Hospitals, schools, medical benefits, driver's licenses — all are yours, and you don't even have to speak English! Come one, come all—through the golden fence. This illegal immigration concern has become one blade of the giant scissors cutting American in two, the other blade being the war in Iraq, of course. Like most aware citizens, I've been doing some deep thinking about the whole thing, and I've come to some conclusions. These seem so obvious to me that I've been fashioning two columns, not just one; the first to present the problem clearly — and the second, to propose an obvious solution.

Presumptuous? Pompous? Maybe. Maybe not. You decide.

Just before I set fingertips to word processor, I heard the startling news that our national treasure Paris Hilton had been released from that dreadful special cell, after being incarcerated only three of the 23 days to which she was sentenced. Pleading a mysterious, unrevealed "medical reason," she and her representatives persuaded Sheriff Lee Baca to change her "sentence" to 40 days in the most elegant Hilton of all — her home! How was a young, pampered millionairess supposed to cope with this deprivation?

Almost immediately, the Rev. Al Sharpton appeared on TV screens all over the country like a lacquer-coiffed poltergeist, declaring "This is not equal justice under the law!" Amen, and amen. For once, I agreed wholeheartedly with Sharpton. And instantly, I saw what was happening with Ms. Hilton, the Barbie Doll of the media generation, as a dramatic example of what we're experiencing nationally regarding 12 to 14 million illegal aliens!

In both situations, laws have been trampled on, intentionally and knowingly; penalties have been legislated — and ignored — while impressive benefits and privileges, meant only and exclusively for law abiding citizens, have been accorded to the scofflaws, the lawbreakers. And, in both cases, officials responsible for keeping and enforcing the laws have been somehow persuaded that the lawbreakers — by definition, the criminals — have some excuse for trashing the laws and escaping the penalties prescribed for those who do. And unavoidably, the means of accommodating the crimes and criminals, while trying to maintain some workable structure for the continuance of society and nationhood, have been so far impossible to agree on.

Wonder why?

May I posit a couple of theorems?

1. Laws that are not enforced are meaningless. They might as well not exist.

2. No society can endure without enforceable, and enforced, laws.

I'll conclude this first of two columns by presenting the very crucial problem as clearly as it can be diagnosed. That's the only way to treat any malady: First, properly diagnose it, objectively, not emotionally, but with cold clarity.

I believe my friend the economic analyst and author Craig R. Smith did just that over a year ago, while the issue was really heating up. He put it in very personal terms, which is the best way to look at something, because this thing is very personal, for each illegal alien and every taxpaying citizen in America.

Here's what Craig wrote: "Last night, my wife and I had one of the worst experiences of our lives. In the middle of the night, five men broke into our house and made themselves at home. When I woke up this morning they had formed a protest in my front yard, demanding to stay, suggesting I offer them a 'Home Guest-Worker' program.

"In fact, they have now found an American Civil Liberties Union attorney and a willing, vote-hungry Congress to immediately overturn all state and federal laws against breaking and entering. The home invaders say they are willing to pay a $1,000 fine. They want to work for the next six years — as long as I allow them to stay in my home.

"At the end of the six years, they want me to make them permanent members of my family. Oh . . . and they also want their names put on the title to our home. The home my wife and I worked and sacrificed for over the last 30 years.

"I have tried to reason with them and politely ask them to leave, and have attempted to make it clear we do not want them in our home unless they are invited in. However, they keep chanting this line that all they are trying to do is make a better life for their families and the children they hope to birth while in my home, uninvited.

"They have been eating my food, using my medicine, and have taken over my library and television, trying to get a quick education at no cost. I hadn't figured these extra huge costs into my monthly budget, so I'm not sure how I'm going to pay for it all. Maybe I can get my neighbors to kick in a few bucks of their hard-earned money?

"Welcome to the new America. The America where the rule of law is no longer applicable. The America where illegal immigrants who claim they want to be part of the 'democratic' process of America, yet drape themselves in Mexican flags, gather en masse disrupting the very country they claim to love.

"Apparently they have mistaken mob rule for democratic process. They have elected to ignore the Constitution that thousands before them have fought, bled, and died for. Let the chaos begin. We have clearly turned the asylum over to the patients. Oh, by the way — seeing as the fellows who broke in have refused to leave, 'Hector, please pass the salsa.'"

OK, thanks Craig, I think we can see the problem distinctly. There are many factors, considerations, rationales, and opinions. I urge you, kind reader, to chew over all this, maybe pray about it, and let's convene here next week, when I promise to propose what may be the only sensible, workable solution.


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"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" - Emma Lazarus This was the overwhelming, compassionate,...
Friday, 15 June 2007 12:00 AM
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