Sarah Palin is Going Rogue, so I've decided to Go Bobcat. To be a writer it takes courage to write what you believe, regardless if it offends anyone. Consider this an "op-ed" piece; if you don't agree, that is perfectly fine. We live in the beautiful nation of the USA and can enjoy freedom of speech. Isn't that grand?
Today, let's talk about IMMIGRATION.
I am pretty knowledgeable about how our country was founded. People came from all over to pioneer a new life in the untamed land, now known at the United States of America. We were born from men and women who wanted something better...something more. They hungered for freedoms not allowed under certain monarchies or governments. They longed to be free from tyrants and to be in charge of their own destiny rather than be told their lot in life by a few elite and privileged. Can you imagine leaving your homeland to set up your life in a new land? Courageous. And although our nation isn't but just a babe compared to others, we have expanded and grown from coast to coast, border to border. We are ripe with people living as Americans who came from all over the world to enjoy the freedom and "American Dream".
Because of our amazing history, the US has become the world-wide example of freedom, democracy and hope. Some hate us for that, but that's a different conversation for another time. I'm focusing on those who like what we stand for. We help countries all over the world build democracies and governments based on our admired principles. We even fight battles and shed blood in other countries to help them achieve a status of democracy that respects their customs and beliefs. We urge countries to use our system as a model to build their governments - ggovernments that are for the people by the people...it gives them an ideal to live out their own dream in their own country. Not every country agrees with this approach and because of that, there are people who want to come to the US because they have hope it's going to be better here than where they are.
It's fairly obvious why we have so many people who want to come to America to begin anew. And it should come as no shock that people will come into our country no matter what it takes, even if it is to enter our borders illegally. Some are fueled by desperation and come illegally hoping to get away from their life. Some come without the intention of staying. They just want to work and earn money to raise their family in their homeland; they figure why go through the hoops of becoming a legal US citizen when they are only here for work and leaving when the work ends. Some use our county to transfer drugs and people across borders, which probably equates to big money for them. This would be classified as a double whammy - illegal activity being carried out by people in our country illegally.
Let me just say loud and clear: I am NOT against immigration. OK? Let me say it again: I AM NOT AGAINST IMMIGRATION. Got it? I am proud to be an American and can totally understand and support why people want to become Americans. I can share this great nation with others. And I truly respect those who have come here legally to live or to work. Our nation needs you to make us who we are. That is our history, our heritage, our belief.
What I am against is ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. I'm against anything illegal, but I am truly and passionately against ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. Got it? Are we clear? I'm against people coming into the US to live and work without going through the proper channels. I don't care where they come from or what their circumstances are. There isn't an excuse to break the law, especially since we (the US) are happy to have them here. We just need to know who they are, why they are here, how long they are staying. If they are staying long-term, we expect them to start the process of becoming a citizen or be documented under a legal status. Of course this all rests on whether they happen to be legitimate vs. a fugitive or terrorist, in which case we would make a few phone calls and send them back to face the music in their own country. Those things aside, c'mon in. Welcome to America. If people have nothing to hide and just want to relocate to the US, our government asking questions and having documentation on these folks shouldn't be a problem. People do it all the time - LEGALLY.
I applaud states like Arizona for finally standing up and saying "We've had enough!" Waiting for the federal government to make clearer and stricter immigration laws got them no where and they now face a staggering illegal immigration problem. In fact, waiting got Arizona increased crime, homicides, drug trafficking and fiscal nightmares, which can be linked directly back to illegal immigrants coming into their state. (Of course they would have some of those problems anyway, but the increased problems are a direct result of a lack of strong federal laws and enforcement prohibiting illegal immigration.) Of course an officer of the LAW should be able to ask anyone - me included - if they are in their state or the US legally. Again, if you have nothing to hide, what is the big deal? If you are here legally you would be proud to show it because you went through the proper channels and earned your legal status.
The issue of racial profiling - especially now in Arizona due to their new law - seems to be at the forefront of concern and what the media plays up. Racial profiling is wrong. Period. I don't agree with it. I do see this being a big gray area where it could be an issue through abuse of power, particularly in cases regarding illegal immigration or terrorism. However, I must say again, if you have nothing to hide, what is the big deal? You want to be in the US, this is how we conduct business. Officers of the law in any state are given the duty to uphold the law. It's their JOB. It's not to uphold just the laws that won't offend anyone or hurt any one's feelings. They must uphold ALL laws. If someone is suspected (suspicious!) of being illegal, officers in Arizona can ask to see proof of their status. Isn't that fair to those of us who ARE in the US legally? Isn't that what we WANT from our law enforcement? Enforcement?
I see clip after clip on the tv news shows about people crying...sobbing....because they are worried about their family members being profiled in Arizona because of the new law. We've probably all seen or heard about the demonstrations against racial profiling. (Keep in mind other countries have laws against demonstrations, especially when you are an illegal immigrant demonstrating...but we allow it in the US.) Turning the law in Arizona - designed to enforce the legal immigration issue - into a race issue is an example in ignorance. This is a law to stop illegal activity. I wonder if these same people would be upset if a someone were to ask for their driver's license or ID/papers going through security at the airport? Would these same people happily hand over their ID to the clerk at the 7-11 to confirm their legal age to buy beer? If you are breaking the law, you are breaking the law no matter what the law and no matter what your racial background. Let's try some comparisons. If someone of a specific race stole your car or robbed a bank or killed your mom, wouldn't you want them held accountable no matter their racial background? And to find that person, maybe there is a line-up at the police station of 7 people who all look similar. A witness could pick the law breaker out and secure justice for the death of your mom...but since the people in the line-up all look similar, is that racial profiling? Should we toss out an integral part of using eye witnesses to crimes just because they might pull in 7 people who look the same (one of which might be guilty!)?
It's time to whip out the old cliche. If you don't like the concept - our concept in the United States of America - of having laws and people in place to uphold the laws, then go somewhere else. Go anywhere else. Just go away. I'm sick and tired of hearing you whine that you want to be here and then whine when you or someone you know is being punished for breaking one of our laws. And while you're at it, go ahead and try illegally entering the new country you've chosen to live. See how they treat you if you are breaking their illegal immigration laws. I guarantee if you bother to research immigration laws in other countries you will find they are extremely harsh.While I'm calling people out, I also want to comment on 60 Minutes regarding a story aired on May 2nd (2010) about the deaths occurring when people try to cross an irrigation canal to get into the US illegally. I don't have a problem with 60 Minutes airing the story. I have a problem with some of the people interviewed. Over 500 unidentified people - illegal immigrant wannabes - are buried by the canal because they drowned trying to cross the canal. There's an argument now how the state of California should put ladders and safety lines in the canal so people can get out safely.
Are you kidding me? It's an IRRIGATION canal, not a means for transportation, recreation or ILLEGAL activity. It's clearly posted - in TWO languages - that the canal is dangerous and not for swimming. I guess it should also say - in two languages - "Not to be used for illegal immigration - you might die." One woman - a legal immigrant to the US from Germany (at least she did that part right) - who was interviewed for the show had married an illegal immigrant, had a child and was living the "American" dream. Her husband was working construction and it was discovered he was in the US illegally so he was deported back to his country. (In other words, the law was being upheld.) He tried to re-enter the US illegally via the canal not once, not twice, but THREE times. He drowned on this third attempt. His wife completely blamed the death on the lack of ladders or safety measures in place to get people out of the canal should they get in. Now wait a minute...does anyone else out there see anything wrong with this picture?
First, he was in the US ILLEGALLY from the beginning. BREAKING THE LAW. Second, after he was married (or heck, even before!) why didn't he begin going through the proper channels to become a LEGAL citizen or have legal status to be in the US? Why didn't he do it for his wife? And why not after his child was born? He had plenty of opportunities to make his situation legal. (It amazes me he was even allowed a marriage license...how does that work?) Third, when he got deported why in the world didn't the wife go to his country and try to help sort it out from there? And if he wasn't going to be allowed back into the US, I guess she would have had some tough choices to make...divorce...stay in his country and live there...live in the US and visit her husband in his country... Yeah, none of these is a good solution, but we don't make good solutions to problems caused by BREAKING THE LAW. And why in God's name (and believe me, I've asked Him about this) did the guy keep trying to cross the canal - ILLEGALLY - when he didn't succeed the first time? Or the second? I get he was desperate to get back to his family and his job, but didn't he understand the risk? If he died, he wouldn't be around anymore - legally or illegally - for anyone? And now he's dead.
I'm not a cold-hearted bitch. Really. Yes, it's sad he died. And it's sad all the other people died who tried to cross that canal. But, just because something is sad or tragic, doesn't make it right...or LEGAL. And when those people wanted to enter the US illegally, they signed up for the "this is risky and could get me into trouble or kill me" life plan. And life is about choices...they made theirs.
Some how, some way this has got to stop. I certainly don't have the answers, but I certainly know legal from illegal. If someone breaks a law, they must be punished. And if someone breaks a law and dies doing it - while tragic - that is what can happen when you break a law. Let's compare the deaths at the canal to other situations. Wouldn't it be the same as speeding in your vehicle and causing a horrendous crash with casualties? Isn't it the same as driving while intoxicated and crashing your car into a brick wall and dying on impact? Or how about someone taking hostages and getting killed by a sharp shooter to save those hostages? How about a homeowner legally possessing a firearm (under the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution, thank you very much!) shooting an intruder dead to protect his family? Isn't this the same thing as dying while trying to enter our country illegally? Breaking the law - ANY law - can result in death. That's just life.
I can understand how people can be so miserable and desperate they are willing to break the law to get to the US. We are the strongest nation in the world, built on freedoms many don't have in some other countries. I get it. I live here and so I understand why some people want to get away from their situation and start fresh here. And I love that about our country. We are a rich, diverse population and we encourage immigration. I totally agree with that opportunity for others. Coming here illegally, however, no matter what your circumstances, is still breaking the law and punishable. Our legal system was put into place taking peace, democracy and human rights into consideration. I find it ironic people entering here illegally want to be here, but can't respect our laws and legal system. You cannot have it both ways. I don't like every law either, but I follow them because I'm an American and this is the way it is done in America. If I break them, I fully expect to be punished. If you enter here illegally, expect to be punished or maybe even die. If you choose to enter here illegally, it was your choice and you have to live with the consequences. Follow the law, gain legal status and reap the benefits of our great nation. We'll work with you through the system. When you're legal, we'll welcome you with open arms.