Monday, March 03, 2008

Illegal Immigration

Let's get started with part three, in our continuing series, addressing Claudi (Fran) Davilla's comments to me about Mitt Romney. As I said before, she brings up some very important topics and I want to address them. Frankly, she's given me the impetus to actually blog about them, as opposed to just sitting back and saying, "I should blog about that."

"Personally, I cannot understand how a person's or group's beliefs can be based on a force of love (Jesus), and at the same time be against people (immigrants, non-christians, the poor) and continue tarnishing our life-giving ecosystem (by supporting industry growth and energy consumption instead of environmental preservation). He encourages family values, but are Mexican immigrants (mostly christian, by the way) not displaying family values in trying to forge a better life for their disadvantaged children? How does loving your brother, or neighbour, justifyably translate into protecting one creed at the expense of all others? But John, from everything I've read on your blogs, I know you are a peace-loving egalitarian. This is not what Romney seems to be."

To be honest, I don't know what Mitt's views on illegal immigration are. I do know it's been a hot bed topic here in Utah. Let's face facts. No matter how people like to frame this, the biggest problem is illegal immigration from Mexico. More people are screaming about illegal Mexican immigration than illegal Canadian immigration, or from any other country for that matter. While I think some of this can be attributed to racial bigotry, the majority of the problem is simply this: more illegal immigration is coming by way of the U.S. Mexican border than any other entry point.

This is where it starts to get interesting. I've heard from many people who want to "round 'em all up and ship 'em back to Mexico." They content that these people have broken the laws and they should be punished. No room for mercy, here.

This is completely unrealistic. It would be a logistical nightmare. You can't just say, "Come out to Rice Eccles Stadium tomorrow so we can deport you." That's just stupid. It's not like the Department of Homeland Security or the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are coming out en masse.

Others have suggested we should help the ICE agents by deputizing local law enforcement agencies. As a friend to many officers within local Utah law enforcement, I can tell you that each and every one of them that I know is against this. Their reasons are clear and obvious.

  1. It creates additional burden on the officers by making them responsible for federal law enforcement.
  2. It discourages illegal aliens from calling on law enforcement to stop other bad guys because they're afraid they'll be deported.
  3. Such discouragement will encourage further, more dangerous, illegal behavior on the part of illegal aliens.

This would be a horrible thing that I simply don't want to see at the local level. I want our policemen to be able to take care of the bad guys, those who want to hurt us, that peddle dangerous substances, that want to rob from us, not people who are otherwise law-abiding contributors to our society.

Those bad guys would be able to terrorize otherwise good people just by the threat of deportation. "I'm going to set up a meth lab in your basement and take over your house. If you say anything to anyone, they'll deport you."

Yes, there is a small portion of illegal immigrants that turn to illegal activities to make a living, and an even smaller portion that come her to do illegal things in the first place. These are bad guys and need to be punished according to the law. The vast majority of illegal immigrants, however, are here just trying to make a better living for their families because they can't do it in Mexico.

What's the answer, then? Are illegal immigrants a drain on social services and education? Yes, they probably are. I can't imagine it's any more that other poor people are. Having been numbered among the poor during certain points in my life, I feel like we need to take care of our poor, but that's a debate for another day.

Having said that, we still need to do something about the problem of illegal immigration if only from the standpoint of securing our borders.

The answer must come from the federal level, in my opinion. I think that George Bush's proposed immigration bill was a good start. This was a true bi-partisan bill, with representatives from both sides of the aisle backing it. For some reason, Nancy Pilosi decided not to bring it up for a vote in congress before the deadline and effectively killed it, even though it would have likely passed, given the large number of democrats that were behind it. I suspect it was simply a move to sabotage George Bush. Speaker Pilosi seems to be against anything that comes out of the Bush administration, whether it's a good thing or not.

Many people here in Utah claim that bill "offered amnesty." That couldn't be farther from the truth. It required illegal aliens to register themselves by a particular day. If they registered, they could start naturalization proceedings as if they had come into the country the day they registered. Those that chose not to register would then be deported, once caught. That's not amnesty. Amnesty is a free ticket. This wasn't free. It just recognized that the situation was a mess and offered a way out that didn't interfere with those who had come to this country legally. It also didn't punish the children of illegal immigrants, who may be U.S. citizens based on the fact that they were born in this country.

Do you want to throw a U.S. citizen out of the country because his or her parents have to leave? Do you want to take them from their parents and put them into a social care system paid by your tax dollars?

Neither solution makes sense to me.

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