Thursday, June 16, 2011

Speaking up again

Lest anyone think I am driven by hate toward those of different national origins, particularly those from the Hispanic nations of north, central, or south America, I can assure you that I have a great respect and love for the hard-working among them who desire to come to the United States in order to make a better life for themselves. However, I cannot condone the blatant disregard for the laws of this land by some who enter illegally. Nor can I condone the efforts of those who wish to reward those who have broken the laws of the land by establishing some form of amnesty and legalization of status. To do so would be a slap in the face of those who have made the effort and sacrificed much to follow the legal paths to immigration. We must not reward those who break the law with a path to citizenship unless they first return and follow legal means to come here.

At one time, this nation had a viable guest-worker program that allowed people to come in and work legally. The current situation is a result of changing that program, leaving no legal way for those who desire to come here and work to do so. It is high time for our representatives to realize the negative impact of the current system and to do something about it.

The current situation does not allow control of entry. People who can ill afford it pay large fees to "coyotes" to bring them into this country. They are packed into the back of tractor-trailer rigs and hauled to the border. Sometimes, the one hauling them realizes that he cannot get them through and unhitches and abandons the trailer with the people packed inside with no adequate ventilation, food, water, or sanitary facilities. Many have suffered this way and many have died. Others are led on paths through the desert with inadequate water and subject to being robbed by the very ones they paid to take them though the desert.

Consider also the impact on the land. Those who live in the border areas regularly have these illegal aliens trespassing across their property, destroying fences, leaving behind litter, and despoiling the beauty of the land. Those who come out to confront the trespassers are subject to violence, some being shot at and at least one being murdered by the illegal aliens (and yes, they are illegal aliens, not "undocumented immigrants," which is politically correct mumbo-jumbo that confuses the issue and hinders real discussion of the situation). We have laws in place, but those who are supposed to enforce them do so with inadequate staffing and with rules so strict that they cannot even effectively defend themselves if assaulted by the illegal aliens.

The situation as it exists is complex, only because of the way this has not been effectively addressed. During President Reagan's administration, there was what should have been a one-time amnesty granted. With that was supposed to come effective control of the border. The border remained porous, and many more poured across, thinking that the "one-time" amnesty would morph into repeated amnesties. Indeed, there have been many discussions to do so. To date, they have not succeeded, and must not do so. However, there have been no effective discussion on solutions that would provide a legal means for workers to come here openly.

Why not? Why can we not address the underlying issue? Why can we not have a viable guest-worker program whereby those who desire to do so could do so legally. Why can we with that not have a strong and enforceable border that would be effective in keeping out those who are undesirable--those who are drug runners or those coming to do harm. If those who are currently crossing the desert to come in order to work could cross legally at established checkpoints and walk openly with full documentation as to their status, then the presumption could be that those crossing at other points fall into those who wish us harm, either by terrorism, gang violence, or running drugs. More potent force to intercept and deal with those criminal forces could then be brought to bear since those crossing for work would be able to do so easily.

Why not let those who wish to come to work be able to do so with pride and not with a sense of fear? Why not let them work openly and above board, being fairly compensated for their labor and not being paid under-the-table in an underground economy which is then not taxed fairly? Why not let them be contributors to society instead of a burden to our health-care systems? Compassion is not extending some form of amnesty, regardless of whether you disguise it by giving it some other politically-correct name. Compassion is giving these people a real, legal means to come in and work, and allowing them to move freely with documentation between their work and homes, assisting their families in countries where their earnings are supporting their families who live in sometimes desperate circumstances. Compassion is treating with respect those who come here legally and taking appropriate means against those who come here illegally.

What about children brought here, who have grown up here, and have no recollection of the land of their nativity? Yes, that is a difficult situation, but if the issue of adults who enter illegally, knowingly and willfully breaking our laws, and who are accountable for their actions, is first dealt with, then the more difficult one of these children who were brought in and are not willful lawbreakers can and should be dealt with differently. For these, mercy should be exercised. And for these, there should be discussion as to ways by which these can be integrated into society or assisted in integrating into the society of the nation of their birth. To discuss things like granting in-state tuition to these children when citizens of this country do not get such privileges is again disrespectful to all those who have made the effort to do things legally and have struggled to be able to afford to attend institutions of higher learning. Until there is a legal status, there should be no discussion of state of residence and privileges that go along with such residence.

There will also need to be discussion and resolution of the "anchor baby" situation. Since these people come here illegally, such a birth should not grant automatic citizenship in the United States of America. This would also remove the incentive for many to come here illegally, and would keep women from endangering their lives and the lives of their unborn children in order to have a baby here. It would also lessen the burden on our hospitals and health care professionals who are mandated to provide care but have no means to collect the money needed for such care from the indigent people who come under such circumstances.

I do not pretend to have all of the answers, or even that my proposals are viable. However, I do know that the current situation is untenable and that there needs to be substantive discussion of viable solutions, not political posturing which only seeks to gain votes for one's party while doing nothing to actually fix the problem. It is my earnest prayer that our leaders will understand that real solutions are needed. May God grant them insight into ways to address this situation.

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