Friday, April 30, 2010

Where Are Your Papers?

The plight of the illegal alien is a study in dichotomy. On the one hand, they are human beings, often from poor countries with little prospect of finding decent work at a living wage in their native land, migrating to America in search of jobs to send money home to support their families. They take great risks in entering our country illegally, the threat of discovery and deportation hanging over them like the Sword of Damocles. We can sympathize, as it is our fervent wish to feed and clothe and house our families, too.

On the other hand, they are here illegally. As a nation that prides itself on the rule of law, and with exacting standards governing our immigration policy, it is an affront to us to have these people pouring across our borders, utilizing our resources, paying virtually no taxes to compensate us, and shipping millions of dollars out of the country. They are taking the place of American citizens in any number of job areas, and in such a deep recession as we now face, their unwanted presence marks them as easy targets.

Mind you, when the economy was fine, and people were getting rich off their Internet start-ups and real estate, and still others were moving up from their humdrum jobs into more lucrative areas like IT and finance, the presence of illegal aliens was tolerated. They swept into abandoned positions no one else wanted, were willing to work for next to nothing -- comparative riches in their native country -- for long hours, and were readily available. In a culture being driven more and more by the maxim "more and cheaper," their presence was just another way to cut costs, trim the fat, and give the consumer what they wanted: cheaper goods, cheaper food, greener lawns.

Now, with the economy of easy riches and cheaper goods set back on its heels by the avarice of the deal makers and the folly of the risk takers, and jobs being shed like a dog's winter coat, the illegal immigrants are now pariahs, to be reviled for their arrogance in stealing across our borders and taking our jobs! As with any economic downturn, it is not those lofty, high-and-might, barons of industry and finance who incur the true wrath of the citizenry, safe as they are behind their gates or on their yachts offshore, but those more vulnerable and immediately at hand, who must bear the brunt of American misfortune.

And so, Arizona, under the pretense of trying to crack down on rampant crime, has set its sights on the group they so handily ignored for so long. The illegal immigrant is now the true source of all our woes, sucking at the teats of the American dream and drinking them dry, forcing good, decent, hard-working Americans to suffer as a result. The time has come to take out the trash!

What the supporters of this law fail to understand or consider, is that the present situation, like the economic crisis, like our energy dependence, like out tottering tax system, is one of our own making. So few resources were tasked to stemming the flow of illegal immigrants over the decades, that their numbers soared into the millions at one time, because we had more important things to do. Once the problem got out of hand, people simply came to accept the new status quo, and used these people to their advantage, like a disposable lighter for the economic cigar.

Now it is fashionable to turn on those who were exploited, but not just turn on them, but make them the test case for the further erosion of personal liberty and freedom in this country. It is not enough to hunt illegal immigrants like animals, but to sweeten the deal, citizens will be expected to carry documents proving they are citizens of the United States. Arizona, a state which flatly opposed the REAL ID Act -- which would have created a universal identity card -- is now proposing to force its citizens to carry proof of their citizenship. If they are stopped for any reason, or just on the suspicion that they may be illegal immigrants, they will have to produce said documentation, or face a trip to jail. Of course, only one group of Americans really need fear this -- Hispanics -- and that is one group too many.

That is where it starts; where it ends is anyone's guess. But when a people are convinced that giving up a little personal freedom and liberty in the name of security is a good idea, it is not long before more and more is asked, until "freedom and liberty" are the freedom and the liberty of the government to do as it wishes. Arizona, through hypocritical short-sightedness, has set in motion a series of events that may, once and for all, secure the blessings of liberty as they are supposed to be, or plunge us deeper into division and strife. The power of democracy and the strength of republic, hangs in the balance.

No comments:

Post a Comment