Illegal Immigration – Un Problema Creciente

By YeOldeScribe ~ March 17th, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

FreeTranslation.com says that’s how you say “A Growing Problem” in Spanish. Our writer took French in high school and college, and that wouldn’t have made much sense (unless we’re talking about our border with Quebec), so the free translation will have to do. If we just butchered the Spanish language, somos arrepentidos.

Illegal immigration is one of those hot button issues like abortion and gun control where the facts themselves never seem to matter because people are so passionate. It’s rare to find someone who is indifferent on the subject – most people either want to round up all the illegals and send them home, or they want to automatically make them citizens.

We’ll do our best to address this issue by breaking it down into three pieces: Arizona’s law regarding racial profiling, President Obama’s proposed DREAM Act, and the border wall between America and Mexico.

Last year, Arizona passed the most restrictive immigration law on the books. The law made it a misdemeanor for an immigrant not to carry documentation of their immigration status. More importantly, the law requires police officers, when practicable, to to detain people they reasonably suspect are in the country without authorization. Opponents of the law alleges that this will force police officers to engage in racial profiling. Supporters don’t disagree with that and say that profiling is a good thing. So what do we mean when we say racial profiling? One scholar defines it by saying that racial profiling occurs whenever police routinely use race as a factor that, along with an accumulation of other factors, causes an officer to react with suspicion and take action.  We don’t understand why some people think this is a good thing. This law not only gives police officers the right to say “you look differently, I’m going to detain you,” it actually forces them to do it. And this is a good thing? Get real.

President Obama got a lot done during the lame duck session of congress last Christmas, but he called not getting the DREAM Act passed in 2010 his “greatest regret”. The act provides conditional permanent residency to children who are illegal immigrants, brought into the country by their parents, so long as they either complete two years of military service, or four years at an institution of higher learning. The bill passed the House, but was beaten by a filibuster in the Senate in 2010. With the new Republican layout in the House and a vast restructuring in the Senate, the bill is all but doomed not to become law until at least 2012. PoliticalProgressives.com is okay with this act. We feel that as long as these illegals (many of whom had no choice in the matter or didn’t even know they were here illegally for most of their lives) are willing to serve their country or better educate themselves and serve our economy via the job market, there’s nothing wrong with granting them residency. The bill does not make them citizens – if it did, we would have a problem with it.  Immigration tests exist for a reason. Then again, how many of you natural-born citizens could pass an immigration exam? (Note: Link opens a PDF. It’s not a virus, we promise.)

Finally, let’s take a closer look at the border fence. In 2006, President Bush signed into law the Secure Fence Act, which directed the Department of Homeland Security to construct “at least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors” along large stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border. This doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, right? Except for the fact that the law couldn’t be enacted because it conflicted with other Federal laws, especially environmental ones. Determined to not let something silly like the law of the land get in Dubyah’s crusade to keep the Mexicans out of the US of A, he attached legislation relating to the Secure Fence Act onto the Real ID act which was attached to an appropriations bill on the Iraq-Afghanistan wars (that’s some hot pork on pork action, for those of you following along at home). That little blurb reads: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive all legal requirements… in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads.”  Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff promptly used this authority to ignore a few minor laws such as the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act to build his wall. The kicker? The law further states that the Secretary’s decisions are exempt from normal judicial review. All of that for a fence that works so well it took two teenage girls less than 20 seconds to circumvent it – on their first try.

We hope this brings some rationality to the debate on illegal immigration. While we certainly haven’t answered all the questions and issues regarding this broad topic, we remind people that progressives are supposed to be patriotic, not xenophobic. We’d argue that it’s not possible to be both – that laws which target people based on race aren’t patriotic. That offering citizenship to children of illegal immigrants who show strong moral character is. And that no matter how you try to justify it, spending $40 billion on a wall that doesn’t do it’s job is a really stupid idea.

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1 Response to Illegal Immigration – Un Problema Creciente

  1. Sarah McKinney

    As a Spanish teacher, I have to say that your Spanish here is correct. Freetranslation doesn’t always get it right, but I guess this time it did! Fabuloso!

    I like the DREAM act, and I hope it is passed eventually. Like you said, if an immigrant is willing to serve in the armed services or get a college education, they would be an asset to our country. Why wouldn’t we want more educated people in our country?

    Also, I’m happy to say that I could probably pass the immigration test. Yay me!

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