More dogs on Main Street
I’m the first to say I don’t have a solution to the complicated issues surrounding immigration. No idea. Gaining control of our borders seems like a good idea in the abstract — knowing who’s here and what they are up to, and all that. Finding a way to protect immigrant workers from exploitation by businesses that underpay them, or threaten them with deportation if they don’t perform dangerous jobs without adequate safety gear seems reasonable. I’m not sure I believe that they are taking jobs away from anybody in the U.S. I know I’m not looking for work eviscerating chickens all day. Maybe if we didn’t have the army of foreign workers here, we could round up somebody to do those jobs. Maybe hundreds of poor inner-city kids living in housing projects would suddenly take an interest in becoming ski instructors and lift operators and move to the resort towns. Maybe.
There’s nothing alarming about me not having a clue what to do about an issue that has been troubling to Americans since the Potato Famine, if not before. What is alarming, is the buffleheaded crap coming out of Congress to "solve" the problem. The proposals coming out of Congress are just plain stupid. They can cure anything with legislation. They might as well legislate the laws of physics.
For example, there is the idea of building a fence along the Mexican border. Never mind that they uncover tunnels under the existing border controls on a regular basis. Are we really ready to build the equivalent of the Berlin Wall? If there is a fence, and somebody approaches it with a pair of wire cutters, what is the appropriate response? Would our wise Congressmen simply arrest the guy breaching the fence and send him home to cut the wire elsewhere tomorrow? Or do we establish a shoot-to-kill policy? Tell me, Congressman Doofus, which is it?
The latest proposal would make it a felony to be in the country without proper immigration documents. OK, so it’s a felony. It’s already illegal, though not in the same league as armed robbery, rape or murder. But it is illegal to enter the country illegally. That’s why they are called "illegals." We apparently have neither the means nor the will to enforce existing law. Upgrading the severity of the offense doesn’t really change the reality that we do not have enough immigration agents to arrest an estimated 12 million people. And if it is a felony, once they are under arrest, the idea is that we put them in jail rather than just ship them home. We would prosecute these criminals in expensive court cases with public defenders provided for the indigent defendants. How many judges, lawyers, and jail beds for 12 million cases? Not a problem. We can pay for that with, um, well, with the increased income taxes collected when we are paying the kid at McDonald’s the same hourly rate as a New York lawyer. Which could happen if we pull 12 million people out of the workforce.
The boneheads also have proposed to make it felony to offer any assistance to an illegal immigrant, whether social services or medical care. Doctors and nurses providing care to the sick and injured could go to jail (busy places, these jails) for providing medical care to them. So the guy who gets his arm lopped off on a construction site is dragged to the hospital (by his co-workers because he doesn’t qualify for an ambulance without proof of legal status). When the emergency room people detect that he might be illegal because he (a) is brown skinned, (b) speaks Spanish, (c) has no insurance, or (d) is working at a dangerous job without adequate safety gear — the doctor is supposed to say "Take him out back and let him bleed to death." Yep, that’s going to work out just fine. Just between you and me, if you have a doctor who would abide by that law, you may want to look elsewhere for medical care. And if you have a Congressman who would propose such idiocy
As an aside, though, I have to wonder what would have happened if Terri Schiavo had been an undocumented immigrant in a coma for all those years. Would we have seen the same Congressional frenzy to shove a feeding tube down her illegal throat, or would they have opted to pull the plug because she lacked the proper immigration status? What would Bill Frist or Rick Santorum do?
I have to wonder if any one of us, called to jury duty in the prosecution of a person charged with the high crime of dispensing medical care to an undocumented worker, would hesitate more than a second before acquitting. Outside the halls of Congress, the rest of us are still human beings and capable of compassion.
Another brilliant idea floating around the House is that we should round up and deport all the undocumented workers now in the country. Twelve million people — or roughly entire populations of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. Like that’s going to happen. Who’s army are we going to outsource that one to? Our own seems to have their hands full at the moment. The logistics of trying to pull that many people out of general population, confine them someplace until they can be transported, and finding enough buses, planes or other means to drive them to the border seem, well, impossible. It’s only 200,000 trips with a 60 passenger bus. America’s beacon of liberty, shining brightly on concentration camps full of food-service workers awaiting deportation. Meanwhile, the economy collapses without their work.
How disconnected from reality are these members of Congress? Do they really think any of that could actually happen? I heard somebody on TV say that we could probably find 535 illegal immigrants who would do the work of Congressmen for half what they are paid now. Sounds like a good start. Let’s deport the idiots in Congress and replace them with the people who mow their lawns and clean their houses. I suspect we would all be better off as a result.
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Columnist Teri Orr writes that on a trip to Boulder, Utah, she met a shooting star — Kael Weston, a congressional candidate in the state’s 2nd District.