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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Immigration Laws Rule!

Broken Laws, Broken Home is a WaPo opinion column that is proof as to why we cannot, under any circumstances, have a female president. The basic precept is: this woman has been married to an illegal immigrant for a while, and she finds it sad that he might be deported. The fact that this is exceedingly unlikely doesn’t factor in, but she is “enraged” at the thought that their perfect little family unit could be torn apart by something as silly as immigration law.

A few things to note – first, their family would not be automatically ripped apart. Assuming he is not an illegal immigrant from Europe (she cites the Pew Hispanic Center – and she’s from Manassas – so it seems likely he’s from Mexico or Central America), she would be welcome to move back to his country of origin with him and their son, should she so choose. This sense of entitlement that people feel is just sickening. If you are born here – fine, we acknowledge that you don’t really have a choice, and so to avoid burdening you with the cost of leaving and finding somewhere else – who might also not want you – we’ll keep you around. But if someone willingly and intentionally leaves wherever they have a right to be in order to gain economic benefits from America (or Canada, or wherever) then they don’t really get the rights claim. Instead, they can ask to be admitted. This is true of any voluntary organization, even if parts of the organization are involuntary.

Second, the author of the column claims that the law ought to be changed to reflect the hardship of having their family ripped apart. Let’s see… he was an illegal when you married him. He is an illegal now. You got into the marriage and family arrangement, and had a child knowing this and consenting to the risk of the circumstance. So now it’s the law that needs to change because you’re an emotional basketcase? She doesn’t even attack the law on any other grounds – her serious and heartfelt critique is “I don’t like that someone close to me is affected by this.” And while it’s very un-free market of me, I do sincerely feel that an influx into America of millions of people, all of whom are entitled to the benefits of our partial welfare state, would be bad. Either we abolish welfare (screws over segments of our society) or we keep the immigration laws. And while I’ve heard a lot of crap thrown around by Hispanic groups calling this sort of accusation racist, I haven’t heard any real reason why it’s incorrect. The illegal immigrants who are currently here take the jobs “we don’t want.” But the reason they are able to do this is that they can accept substandard wages – they’re undocumented. This system would break down if they were made legal. Their usefulness is predicated upon their illegality. Exploitation rules.

Moreover, the rationale works for pretty much any crime. Yes, there is an inevitable harm to the family unit when people who do illegal things are not allowed to continue to sit at home and make fucking chorizo. Drug offenses, carjacking, whatever. If they were forced to pay restitution (she suggests $10k for this), then they wouldn’t have to go to prison, which costs taxpayers money. So what? In the case of immigration, there’s even an exception to this – undue hardship. If the immigrant is the primary breadwinner and legal citizens would be harmed unduly by the extraction, then they’re allowed to stay. But the columnist is put off by this, since she makes (assuming her math is right – which, as she is a woman, is doubtful) about $80k a year and has one child, the government doesn’t recognize her hardship.

Okay. The hardship exception is generous and exists to prevent starvation and eviction. “My Latin Lover can’t give me his sweet love-burrito” is not the same thing. So she’s welcome to shut up.

And finally,
For most of the 11 million undocumented people in this country, this is the first law they have ever broken -- a law that makes no more sense to them than the laws requiring segregated seating on buses made to Rosa Parks. If it were suddenly and universally enforced, it would produce an economic disaster.

Yes. Because immigration laws, which have been adopted by necessity by every Western country on the planet, and which are totally colorblind and apply equally to everyone, are exactly the same as segregation. This American Life’s Sarah Vowell did an excellent piece on everyone – from Katherine Harris on down – comparing themselves to Rosa Parks, and she’s right. This is just ludicrous. “The laws don’t make sense to us, therefore, it must be equivalent to apartheid” is not an argument. It’s incoherent, and the posturing is sickening.
Yes, my husband came here illegally. Yes, he broke the law -- a law that is badly in need of revision. And the fruit of this illegal act was a family and gainful employment. If this hard-working, upstanding man is deported, his American family and his employer will suffer with him.

The reason there’s a law in place is because people stand to benefit from the action. If he broke the law and died a horrible, flaming death then I’d have more sympathy – but the very fact of the incentive to do the illegal act is the reason we need laws in the first place. And sorry, but when you lock up a druglord, the local Bently dealership might lose a valued customer. His family might be sad. That’s not an attack on drug laws. Immigration laws might be the worst, most terrible things ever – but at the same time, none of what she gibbers on about is relevant to that question.

cranked out at 7:27 AM | |

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