Don’t ask, don’t tell approach in immigration has created a monster…

I don’t think Mexican President Felipe Calderon did much good in the illegal immigration debate by saying today during a visit to the U.S. that he disapproved of Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigration law and calling for a re-institution of the assault weapons  ban in the U.S. He said drug violence from the Mexican cartels seems to have increased as the result of the ban being lifted. I appreciate his concern, but he needs to get his own house in order — I mean why do Mexicans flee Mexico? violence, no jobs. And like someone was quoted as asking on TV, how does Mexico deal with illegal immigration into its own territory from the south?

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I’m not sure what the best answer in the illegal alien controversy is, but I do think we either have rules or we don’t and that all immigrants should have to follow them.

No one really knows how many illegal immigrants are in the U.S. I have read estimates between 11 million to 20 million. This is an unaccountable (and uncountable) population that uses our social services and other public services, competes for jobs, part of which is involved in crime, and some of whomcould be here as terrorists or agents of forces who would seek to destroy our nation (although I have to note the terrorists so far do not seem to have come from the southern border, and probably the majority of illegal aliens are productive members of society and pose no theat in and of themselves, but they are still an unaccountable part of our society). Some of them are probably so established that they vote, and this brings up another point:

I bring this up because I read an item in the San Francisco Chronicle that there is a proposal that would appear on the November ballot that would allow non-citizen immigrants (presumably to include illegal aliens) who have children enrolled in school to vote in local school board elections.

I had mentioned in a previous post that I thought I had read that voting by illegal aliens (or legal aliens too, I guess) was allowed in some jurisdictions. And I think that has been the case in other jurisdictions.

(Okay, the only research I have dug up so far indicates non-citizen voting was allowed in some states until the 1920s — and I still thought I read somewhere it was allowed more recently (not by way of fraud) in Texas or New Mexico — maybe I’m wrong on that.)

While I can appreciate the rationale in letting non-citizens vote in matters in which their children are directly affected, I nonetheless don’t think voting should be extended to non citizens. Voting is, or should be, a perk (a right) that comes with citizenship. That’s part of what citizenship is all about. Or if not, then what?

Most of us who are against illegal immigration are not against legal immigration or the immigrants themselves, it’s just that one should have to follow the rules. And we have a problem with offering public services that have to be paid for by citizen taxpayers to illegal aliens (even if it is true that illegals often pay taxes). Most of us have enough compassion and humanity that we would not deny emergency health services to illegal aliens, but as for allowing them to cross the border to get on the public dole or even to enroll in our colleges (sometimes as less tuition than local citizens pay, as has been the case in California), well that is a different thing.

What I really reject here is the intellectually dishonest notion by so many that if you call for enforcement against illegal immigration you are anti-immigrant. No you are anti-illegal immigration. It is true that some people who so strongly oppose illegals may be also against Hispanic immigration in particular — so does that consign everyone who calls for law enforcement, to include enforcement against illegal immigration, to the class of bigotry? No, of course not.

So, what do we do? I mean how practical would it be even if we all agreed illegal aliens have no right being here to ship them all out? There’s millions of them.

And we have, wink wink, nod nod, allowed them to settle and work here, most often at relatively low-paying jobs (and sometimes at not-so-low-paying jobs).

And, do we deport parents and leave the children who were born here behind? That’s a tough one. But the parents knew the law and we should not be threatened by a mass invasion of uncontrolled immigration with people using children to blackmail our government. (and notice I wrote “our government” not the government.)

A kind of interesting aside to all of this was a video clip this week of a precocious second grader telling First Lady Michelle Obama that her mother told her that “Barack Obama” is deporting anyone who does “not have papers”. It seems to indicate to me that the fact is they (illegal aliens) live among us because society has for the most part tacitly accepted them and they were reasonably comfortable but now they and their children are nervous. Even though President Obama came out against the recent Arizona illegal alien law, one story I read said that his administration is deporting as many or more illegal aliens as the Bush administration did.

It seems to me we either have immigration laws or we just let everyone in, no conditions.

I think by necessity (for economic and security reasons) we need to control immigration.

There needs to be heavy penalties on employers who hire them. Supposedly there are already penalties, but since there are millions of illegals in the country and since most of them are employed, apparently the penalties are not high enough and even more the law is not enforced in a heavy enough fashion. I imagine — don’t know — that both the Border Patrol and the federal agencies involved in immigration enforcement are understaffed.

After doing a quick background check on the amnesty program of 1986 I came away feeling that is not the answer. From what I read the end result was increased illegal immigration.

And here’s a little side note: talking with people I know I found out that there may be some hard feelings among immigrants and potential immigrants from the Philippines (and no doubt a lot of other places) who are hard workers but don’t see themselves getting the breaks those from Mexico (and maybe some other Latin American countries) get.

And I think I would prefer that the emphasis on immigration enforcement be on keeping more illegals from coming in, rather than going out of our way to tear families apart (even though when cases come before authorities they may have to do just that).

We may have to let time pass and work through the current crop of illegals on a case by case basis when and if they come to our attention (much like we do now). We need to stop encouraging people to immigrate into the U.S. illegally. Among other things, we need to root out or eliminate the use of public services (except in dire emergency) by illegals (court decisions on the subject notwithstanding).

Taxpayers should not have to fund non-citizens — otherwise what does citizenship mean? Legal immigrants should not be made to jump through hoops and sacrifice when others do not.

And the current movement in which at least one ethnic group thinks that they should not be subject to U.S. rules and that their language and culture should take preference in schools (yes, I’m talking about Tucson, Az., as an example), only serves to prove that there needs to be a process under which immigrants become citizens and learn their responsibilities and accept the culture of the United States of America.

And we should all realize that our unique culture is somewhat of a hybrid one, but it had its beginnings among primarily English colonists who were drawing from largely European culture and an evolving movement toward democracy.

Through the history of the United States we have gradually liberalized our view in accepting those from different cultures or ethnic groups.

Various ethnic groups — Irish, German, Italian, as examples — have gone through some struggle being accepted, but these new immigrants readily adapted to the existing culture and wanted to be part of it — freedom and opportunity meant that much to them.

Asians have had a particularly rough time of it in the past — the Chinese were seen as the “yellow peril”. Part of this was simple bigotry. But, also their dress and culture and appearance seemed so different. But again, the new immigrants and particularly their descendants bought into the existing culture (for the most part), although some retained much of the culture from their heritage at the same time (who doesn’t love to visit Chinatown?).

The whole cowboy culture of the West came to us via the Spanish traditions through Mexico and into Texas and California and into the rest of the American west and has become ingrained into the culture of the whole nation.

Most black Americans were brought over here as slaves in direct contradiction to what was being created in the new world — a  democracy where all men were free with no class distinction placed upon them by higher authority.

But a civil war and much — way too much — struggle later, resulted in an although still not a perfect resolution, some would say, a major advancement nonetheless. Certainly in law black people have equal rights and protections as all citizens, as they should have had all along, and they even have someone of their own as president of the United States (that has to be a sign of a changing society).

A lot has taken place, to include many wars, since 1776.

It ought to mean something to be a U.S. citizen.

We either enforce our rules of citizenship or we don’t.

And one more thing:

It is too bad that millions of immigrants, particularly from Mexico, have gotten the message that while we officially say no to illegal immigration we really mean yes (just be careful you don’t get caught). But we are not going to solve the problem by continuing along in the same vein, or should I say continuing in the don‘t ask, don‘t tell approach to illegal immigration.

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