Monday, May 9, 2011

Immigration "Reform"

Updated May 10, 2011 - "Obama Pushes Immigration Reform Despite Congressional Standstill" - No matter how you  feel about "a pathway to citizenship for immigrants", Hispanics traditionally vote for Democrats, and Democrats have traditionally voted on issues favorable to average workers - and we need Democrats to pass better banking laws, and are tougher on corporations who outsource American jobs overseas. 

Democrats will raise taxes on the rich (letting the Bush tax cuts expire) so we can get our national and state budgets reigned in. A vote for immigrants is a vote for you if you earn less than $250,000 a year, are unemployed, had your home foreclosed on, and are tired of being gouged by the taxpayer-funded government subsidies for the tobacco companies, oil companies, and the all the corporate welfare being extended to big corporations who are doing business in the defense industry with no-bid contracts.

Vote for immigrants, and WE ALL might see the middle-class restored to America.

This post is off-topic from what I usually write about (the economy, taxes, corporations, politics, unemployment, etc.), but our immigration policy does play a big roll in all these things.

I grew up as a "military brat" when I was a kid, exposed to all different races and ethnic people while growing up and going to school with African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics. The U.S. Armed Forces has been a very diverse organization for many years. Race wasn't usually an issue with the children, unless of course, their parents taught them to be that way.

When I was in my early 20's (in the 1970's), while on vacation, a girlfriend and I flew from Massachusetts to California to visit my mother. We borrowed her Cadillac and drove to Ensenada, Mexico (about 70 miles south of the border from Tijuana). We stayed for several days, shopping and drinking Margaritas. The people were very friendly, and they all treated us very well. Maybe it was just because of our American tourists dollars. But it wasn't until we returned to California, and while having my mom's car put through a car wash, did the Mexican employees "key" her Cadillac. It was then I surmised that it wasn't how Americans treated Mexicans while on vacation in Mexico, but how we treated Mexicans here in this country, that has caused so much of their resentment...and not so much because of the Mexican-American War.

I can't change the world (like Bill Gate has), no more than I can change my country of origin or the color of my skin, but I can still voice an opinion in America.

Racism and prejudice has always existed in humanity, and most likely always will - even in America, a county of immigrants. Skin color wasn't the only reason. The Germans, Italians, and Irish were all at odds with one another too when they first mass-immigrated from abroad, and they were mostly Caucasians. There has always been conflict between peoples who were nationally or religiously different from one another - - - and all around the world, there still is. Tribe against tribe, neighbor against neighbor. Nothing has changed. But in America we try to practice "diversity" and "tolerance".

Immigration laws have been in effect since the founding of this, and most other nations, for varying reasons...but most notably because of economic reasons and the distribution of food, land, and natural resources. For many of the same reasons why nations go to war today.

But in America (in 2011) we should stop bickering about the people who risked their life and freedom - and those that spent their life savings - to migrate to America in search of better economic conditions, and to be with their extended families. They're already here, so let's just face that reality and move on. Yes, they broke our immigration laws, but those laws weren't being enforced anyway. So let's just get over it already and move forward from here. 

"Someone has already left the barn door open", so whether you feel uncomfortable or not about being overwhelmed with foreigners (immigrants), or losing your status as a racial majority, it's probably too late to turn back the it's time to adjust and move on.

I used to feel much differently about the subject, but then one day I realized it was much more complicated than just what I thought was fair or what I felt was "just". There were many others who had a stake in this, and their opinions mattered just as much as mine.

If a starving and cold man snuck into my home in the middle of the night while I slept, just to seek food and shelter, and if I woke up and discovered him inside my home, I'd call the police. But if he were outside in the rain digging through my garbage can looking for a scrap to eat, should I have him arrested for trespassing? If he were from Canada, should I have him deported?

I understand that taxpayers don't want to pay for the healthcare of "illegal" immigrants. But then again, I've lived in America all my life and the taxpayers don't want to pay me unemployment benefits or provide me with healthcare either. And I'm just your average all-American white guy who fell on hard times during the Great Recession.

But it's pointless to condemn people who, for various reasons, may already resent us. Maybe some resent this country and our way of life, and just come here for a job to provide for their children...that's only human. I know I resent a lot about this country the political corruption that runs rampant, a judicial system that isn't fair, and a tax code that's upside down when it comes to the rich and poor. I, like most others though, tell myself that it's better than most other countries (at least, it used to be). But why not try to win the hearts and minds of those who are already here among us, just like we do in our wars in the foreign lands of Afghanistan and Iraq?

The vast majority of our migrant workers are not criminals until we criminalize them for just being here. So here's what I propose:

Grant them all a blanket amnesty to those who are already here, with the exception of those who were arrested and convicted for selling or smuggling drugs, and/or for committing violent crimes.

For everyone else that comes forward by a certain date, register them (and their children) as U.S. citizens with no conditions attached (speaking English, fines, citizenship tests, etc). Issue them all a Social Security number so that they can legally work, pay taxes, insure their cars, vote, and respond to the U.S. census - - - then cut our losses.

I would only ask one thing: That they pledge their allegiance to America first, and their original nationality will only be referred to as "their heritage". No dual-citizenships. If someone wants to live in America to take advantage of economic opportunities and freedoms, they must become Americans...they can NOT wave the flag of their country of origin...that would be traitorous. If they can't agree to this, then they don't DESERVE American citizenship, because they wouldn't BE a citizen of the country...not as citizenship is defined. If they were born and raised in Canada, they would become an American first, with a Canadian heritage...their allegiance would be to the United States if they really wanted to integrate into America. In a time of war, they would be expected to support the United States, not their country of origin if that was who America was at war.

And what about celebrating "holidays" like Cinco de Mayo? Do Americans living in Germany celebrate VE Day, or do Americans living in Japan celebrate VJ Day? That's just plain ludicrous. Americans don't need to celebrate these holidays abroad. They don't need that "right" to cling to their "American heritage" while living as the guests of a foreign country. It's just plain disrespectful. National holidays honoring war victories by other countries need not be celebrated here...why? It's divisive.

No further exceptions. A year's notice will be given for any other extended family members, so as not to break up families.

Then, from that time forward, any NEW immigrants from all foreign lands will have to enter through one of several points of entry (by land: Tijuana and Seattle, by air or sea: San Francisco and New York) and be fingerprinted, medically examined, and registered like America once used to do at Ellis Island (but can exclude de-lousing).

Border security will be the lynch pin, because without enforcing any future immigration laws, the amnesty will mean nothing at all. Law enforcement has always had the legal right to ask anyone for an ID if they are investigating a crime or issuing a vehicular violation, and will be required to ask EVERYONE: "Are you a U.S. citizen?" just as they are required to read someone their Miranda Rights. No one "of color" can claim racism* or harassment just because the police asks for ID. They ask for a reason, I'm sure they would have more important things to do if they didn't need to. I have to show my ID, why not everybody else? 

* It is predicted that Caucasians will be a minority population in 50 years anyway, so this would become a mute point.

Then amend/change the Fourteenth Amendment regarding citizenship; it is out-dated and was originally meant for freed slaves. If a pregnant woman from a foreign country vacations (or migrates to) to the United States and then goes into labor and gives birth, the baby is not automatically a U.S. citizen unless the women applies for, and is granted, permission to migrate to the U.S. under the new reformed immigration laws - and then eventually becomes a U.S. citizen.

All employers FROM THAT TIME FORWARD will be required to see a legal State-issued ID (driver's license, etc.) and Social Security card before hiring anybody and the information is logged in to a database at the Social Security Administration office and crossed-referenced with name and SS number (this would be very simple to do as it's already done in other applications). After that, nobody can claim that "illegal aliens" are taking American jobs, or that "they are doing jobs that Americans don't want to do".

After this VERY LAST amnesty is permitted, it's important to remember the failures of past amnesties due to lack of enforcement of current immigration laws. Those who are granted amnesty can no longer lay claim to any parts of the land within the current borders of the United States due to wars from the past (that's just plain silly). Alaska once belonged to Russia, and in the future, the borders elsewhere around the world will our border with Mexico changed from a past war. Just like we can't give back the whole country to the native American Indians either (who never actually believed in concept of the "ownership" of land anyway, until Indian casinos became the norm); we just have to go forward from here.

Citizens of the world will be put on notice as to America's NEW immigration laws and can not claim racism as the basis for being refused entry into the country or for being "carded" by law enforcement personnel. Every country in the world has a sovereign right to protect and monitor it's national borders, just as private citizens have the right to protect and monitor the fences dividing theirs and their neighbor's back yards.

For many people, the new amnesty will be a bitter pill to swallow, but if no compromise is made for the 11 million+ people already living here, we will all keep bickering over this issue, and it will never be properly resolved. Don't just focus on the status of your own race today, but consider the future generations of American citizens.

I'm white, born in the USA from a father who was the son of a son of a German immigrant (a stowaway, an "illegal immigrant"). Unlike Germany, I don't expect America to always be a "white country" because WE ARE a country of immigrants. And after all, this country wasn't always a white country. Remember the native Americans? Or the native Mexicans? Or the native Canadians? I was born by way of a native German.

But when you think about it, it's always been the rich white people (of Western European descent) who have always controlled the banks and the big businesses that governed the economy and politics of America, beginning with African slaves picking cotton in the southern states, to "slave laborers" in the mills and factories of the northern states, to the Chinese railroad workers and miners in the western states, to the Mexican and Chinese workers now "slaving" for modern American corporations in the factories of Mexico and China today.

Let's just imagine that 60% of the U.S. population were Hispanic by the year 2065; wouldn't you prefer that the majority of the citizens were favorable to fair immigration laws and protected the basic principals of the U.S. Constitution....and that if a country like Mexico were ever to wage a war with the United States, the American citizens (with a Mexican heritage) defended this country to their death?

Maybe it's time we make peace with our Hispanic brothers and sisters. After all, they already make up half of the Western Hemisphere. And who knows, maybe by the year 2065 the minority whites in America won't be treated as badly as our "undocumented workers" are today.

And in the final analyses, when you put everything into perspective, our "immigration problem" is only a very minor nuisance compared to all the other, much bigger, problems this country faces today. As a nation, we have to survive, or it won't matter what the heritage of her citizens are.

Personally, I'm just prejudiced against corporations and banks, not people. And I like Mexican and Chinese food much better than German food.

And who knows, with "globalization", and if mankind survives for another million years, maybe we'll all be a people of "one color", and there might also be one religion too...or we might not have any religious beliefs at all.

And if you disagree with me, then you must think I'm just another free-loading, benefit-grabbing, kid-producing, violent, non-English speaking asshole that loves those other hairy-faced, sandal-wearing, bomb-making, goat-loving, raggedy-ass bastards!

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