THINKing outside the box

No issue demonstrates the myth of equality, the hypocrisy of individuals or the opportunism of our elected officials more than the immigration debate. The “reform” proposals on the table are at best misguided and at worst, not too thinly veiled racism. Don’t for a minute believe that the focus is on reform, it’s on avoidance.

Illegal immigration is nothing new. Laws against it have always been on the books, but ignored. As long as illegal immigrants were content to be invisible people and take the jobs nobody else wanted, they could mow, nanny, clean and then disappear.

Most of these people didn’t come to take unfair advantage of our society; they came to feed and protect their families and escape the crushing poverty and political oppression in their own countries.

There are now more than eleven million illegal immigrants in this country. They come from virtually every country on earth, not just south of the border. Because our social services cannot support the numbers of people that need assistance, we blame the people that we tacitly encouraged to come here in the first place!

This convenient way of shifting the blame is morally and pragmatically wrong.

Everyone that ever hired someone they knew they was illegal, every political leader who ignored the upward trend in illegal immigration, and every one of us who pretended this was somebody else’s problem is.

The system is now so broken that the only fix it is to do the following:

Those of the eleven million that are already here and gainfully established (employed, stable, community members) must be granted amnesty and fast tracked to citizenship. This is not to reward them for breaking the law, it is the quickest way we can correct the fact that we didn’t enforce the law for so many decades.

Those who are criminals or have systematically defrauded the social service system have to be imprisoned and/or deported, and the cost of illegally entering or reentering the US must be made unacceptable by imposing increasingly severe sentences for repeat offenders.

Legal entry procedures must be streamlined. Applicants must agree to take assigned employment in the areas to which they locate until they have completed their citizenship requirements. They must learn English prior to emigration, and be held to observing the responsibilities and courtesies that accompany the rights guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights. They must understand that following the rules of an adopted home are required, not optional, and we are not obligated to modify our “way of life” to accommodate the cultural mores of the country they left.

We no longer have the luxury of inaction.

We must remember that our strength has always come from those who sought our shores in search of a better way of life. The lives of millions depend on our decisiveness in quickly resolving this issue.

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