Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Immigration Debate

Why is it that today, 40 years after the civil rights struggles of the 60s, we are still judging our fellow man based on the color of their skin or the language of their tongue? The first thing I want to comment on is the coming about of a spanish-spoken version of the national anthem of the United States. Why such condemnation? The fact is, there are many legal (yes that's right contrary to popular perception that every latino is an illegal) residents of the USA whose first language is spanish. Since they are legal, isn't it then their national anthem as well? After all, many of them are citizens and subject to the same laws and benefits of living in America, so why regulate what language they have to sing the anthem in? Historically speaking, core values aren't lost when the language changes, if that were the case then Christianity would have ceased as an organized religion long ago when the Bible was first translated away from Latin, and that clearly hasn't been the case.

Then we have the minutemen, a civilian vigilante group that patrols the borders apprehending illegal aleans. While I defend any persons right to live in the United States, it must be done so legally, those that try to gain entry illegally are really just trying to cut in line. Unfortunately, the claim the minutemen make is that they are protecting the country from terrorism. God I hate fear mongering. The reality is that very few people crossing the border are coming in with ill intentions. We all remember 9/11, every terrorist that was involved that day came into the country legally, so the argument that minutemen are protecting our borders from terrorism simply doesn't hold water. That being said, there is a debate as to whether or not INS is telling mexican officials where minutemen are located, a practice which is understandably angering certain minuteman groups. If this intelligence sharing is actually happening, then the minutemen have very good reason to be angry. The Mexican government came under fire some weeks back when it was found that they were publishing pamflets on how to get across the border safely into America. The government of Mexico isn't exactly known for its flying of the straight and narrow, they are historically ripe with corruption. It is concievable that the mexican government could be sharing information (including the location of minutemen) to migrant cartels, groups of people who are paid by migrants to get them across the border. The cartels are often ruthless and violent, and have been known to go to violent measures to get payment for their services. They're also known for their sub-human treatment of their clients, often cramming 100 or more people into semis, overloading them such that the people inside can suffocate, overheat, or die from other illness passed around in the cramp quarters. It can be assumed that if the cartels hold such practices and they know where minutemen are, the minutemen can be put at great risk. They have a right to be angry with the INS because the INS could have knowingly put the lives of american citizens at risk and the way I see it, that's wrong.

About the new immigration reforms being passed, I hear that one of the laws that is planned is to give work permits to illegal aliens who have jobs and are working within the states. I have no problem with that except that the illegals as I said above are in effect cutting in line for citizenship. As long as the work permits delay their citizenship to the point that they only recieve actual citizenship in due order not in front of those who chose the legal way, I think its a very good idea. Welcoming with open arms is what America is all about. "Give us your tired, your poor,..." Is the motto America is known for but it's a shame that many people today like to replace the line "...Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." With the line "then send them back." because, well, it makes us all look like a collective bunch of assholes, and trust me, America is not one giant buttock home to 300 million assholes.