Friday, April 30, 2010

Let Me In, Immigration Man (Crosby, Stills, and Nash...FYI)

Well, this is a hot one isn’t it? Arizona’s new law will be stimulating some serious debate over the next few months. It will likely be challenged but I’m not even close to the knowledge required in Constitutional Law to predict the outcome. But I will say this, and it may shock some of you…. I’m kind of split on this one.

Now before you throw me to the wolves, let me first state that I don’t SUPPORT it. I’m just not sure I’m vehemently against it. The cons are glaring. It will promote racial profiling. They say it won’t but we all know it will. I can see the banter in court now. “He only checked my immigration status because I’m Mexican”. But how do you prove that, especially when the cop will be denying it. It’s a given that citizens and legal immigrants will be hassled. I don’t like either of these scenarios.

But here’s the rub. If you are here illegally, you are breaking the law. It’s really pretty black and white. You either entered the country legally, or you didn’t. It seems that half the country wants to deport and the other half wants to grant amnesty. I see problems with both.

If we grant amnesty, what kind of message does that send? And what does it do to curb the problem going forward? In fact, if we go this route, wouldn’t that encourage those that want in to try even harder? I believe those that preach this remedy say that a “drop dead date” would need to be established and anyone coming forward after that would be assumed to have entered the country AFTER the amnesty was granted. But I see a whole lot of expense and legal wrangling in our future with or without a drop dead date. It will be messy, to say the least. Just consider the numbers. Currently, an estimated 12 – 20 million undocumented aliens are in the USA. That’s a lot of amnesty!

But it’s a lot of deportation too. Who covers THAT expense? And how do we round all these people up? Deportation is a messy business as well. What about parents who have had children here? Are the kids citizens? I think they are. But the parents are not (and please feel free to jump in here if I’m getting any of this wrong). We don’t really want to split up families but that would invariably happen I’m sure. People might choose to leave their kids with friends and relatives so they can enjoy the opportunities here that aren’t available in their countries of origin. And you know they would try to sneak back in. It will be like bailing out a leaky boat.

I was reading an op-ed piece today that basically said everyone needs to chill. The law isn’t that bad. I was buying into it 100% until I got to the part that stated the Obama administration is at fault for not protecting the interests and security of Arizonans. Then I realized it was written by a right wing douche bag. Did this problem just recently present itself? Is this a number one priority for the administration? When Obama took office we were engaged in two wars, the economy was in the toilet, and the health care debate took on a life of its own (anybody see any “death panels” yet)? Was illegal immigration supposed to trump all of that? What did THE MORON do about it when he was running the show? Put up a little fence?

I’m not sold on either side of this issue but I do think we have an immigration problem and there is shit going on out there that really annoys the hell out of me. If I do business in this country, I should be able to understand who I’m speaking with. All too often I find myself on the phone, or in a bank, or at a restaurant, or a drive through window, or a convenience store, or a myriad of other places and I can’t understand what the person I’m dealing with is saying. It’s one thing if you’re on the phone with a call center in India. I mean, that sucks too but WTF… the people you’re talking to are from India! But when I’m talking to someone in Chicago…

I also think we are too crowded as it is. I’m old enough to remember what it was like when it wasn’t this crowded. You could find parking. Traffic was nothing like it is today. Going to the “country” didn’t take as long because development hadn’t reached out as far as it has now. Twelve to twenty million people is around 7 percent of the population. That seems like a lot to me.

I encountered a situation several years ago that really pissed me off. My neighborhood had experienced some mail theft so I, along with two neighbors, took it upon ourselves to rebuild the frame that houses our mailboxes and replace the old ones with locking boxes. We did the frame work at our expense. The boxes were around 70 bucks each. Every neighbor was eager to get it done. I mean, who wants to get their mail stolen right? Every neighbor, except one. And that neighbor happened to be a somewhat recent immigrant. In fact, they were recent enough to not speak a whole lot of English. You know what they said? They said they shouldn’t have to pay for the mailbox. The government should.

Now, it’s entirely possible that at some subliminal level this is why I’m split on the issue. I’ve lived here all my life and never once did I even remotely entertain the possibility that the government should pay for my mailbox! We wound up getting him a new NON-locking mailbox that was black so it would at least match colors with the others in the frame. And yes we paid for it. I hope he suffered repeated mail theft for the remainder of his stay in the neighborhood (the family has since moved).

So, what do we do? I don’t think we can deport all these people. We don’t have the resources or the money to do it. But if we grant them amnesty, it sends a dangerous message that could encourage even more illegal immigration. I think the answer lies in better securing our borders. And we have a shit load of border to secure. That might not be possible either. But I bet the billions and billions of dollars spent on Iraq and Afghanistan would have gotten us off to a good start!

Feel free to weigh in on this one. It’s a tough issue. Maybe you can help me decide where I stand on it. I’m a pretty humane individual so I think I’m leaning towards the amnesty. But for crying out loud, if we go that route, I’m hoping fluency in English will be included in the package. I hear they hate us in France, in part because we don’t speak French. Hey, I get it…..


Common Sense

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