Thursday, May 27, 2010

In reply: There has to be a line between "American" and "not American," "legal" and "not legal"

In reply to: Dozens Arrested at Immigration Civil Disobedience in Chicago - Long Island Wins
Shouting “legalization, not deportation” and hoisting signs that read “Boycott Arizona,” a crowd of about 200 protesters gathered outside the offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and refused to move despite requests from Department of Homeland Security officers.
I'm a liberal, but this is where I part company with many of my ideological peers.

I believe America is in many ways the finest place on Earth, but that to maintain that, we have to have borders denoting "America" and "not America;" clear lines showing where US rights, responsibilities, and freedoms begin and end. (I also believe there are God/nature-given HUMAN rights that apply to everyone, but not all rights granted citizens here in the US are or necessarily should be universally granted... As an American, I believe people born in other lands should want the rights we have, but (and?) should fight to achieve them where they live by changing their own governments, as we did.)

In order to protect and maintain those unique rights, responsibilities, freedoms, and benefits we've struggled to achieve and to improve here in the US, we need to have laws that define who is and is not a citizen of this country eligible to partake of all those goodies, and responsible for protecting and defending them, when necessary. Those borders are a part of that. (Yes, it is largely an accident of birth that determines who is and is not an American. That's just the way the cookie crumbles. It's as fair a system as being born handsome, or athletic, or healthy. All one can do is thank--or blame--one's parents and one's God, depending on what an individual got/didn't get out of his/her birth...)

If we let everyone in--essentially removing the borders and definitions of who and what is/isn't an American--we cease to be unique and special. The rights and benefits that Americans have nurtured and struggled for since the founding of this country become everyone's rights, as long as they can get here, and damn the fact that we have limited space and other resources to handle an unlimited influx of automatic "citizens," or whether all of them share our American values.

I believe in regulated legal immigration--in some ways easier and certainly quicker than it is now--but limited in scope and with an eye toward American values and needs. Obviously there is going to have to be some degree of amnesty + a fine for illegals who've established themselves here, but some people are going to face deportation. (And no matter what the timeframe is... 5 years, 10 years, ..., there's going to be many individuals and families who've been here one month less than they needed to be, and "heartlessly" put in line for deportation because of it--to which I again repeat that there have to be firm lines of demarkation, or "borders," between one side and the other, "American" and "not American," "legal" and "not legal," or our laws cease to mean anything...)

I still believe in Emma Lazarus's famous words about America's golden door for huddled masses yearning to breathe free, but even back then, that door had latches and locks--some more stringent than much of anyone mainstream would even think of imposing on immigrants today...

(In case I haven't made it clear enough, I'm looking for some of those liberal/progressive people who disagree with me to explain why I'm wrong on this issue -- See: Mr Young's eloquent discussion about not letting folks--including ourselves--get away with bulls@@@.)
Posted 5/27/10, 10:07 AM (no comment links)

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