Another Reason Not To Legalize Illegal Immigrants -- Simple Fairness

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First, let me reiterate my position that immigration is good for America. The immigrants I have known in my life have been, without exception, hard-working, upstanding members of society. My wife's job is teaching English to immigrants. Her students regularly work at least one job, often two, and still spend several hours a day in English classes. There is no doubt in my mind that such people are good for the United States, and that we should significantly increase our immigration quotas.

The issue at hand is not immigration per se, but illegal immigration, specifically whether we should legalize our current crop of illegal immigrants. There are a number of reasons I oppose legalization, but primarily it is an issue of fairness. Many people have been waiting many years to immigrate legally. Allowing those people currently in the United States illegally to stay would be unfair to those who have waited so long and obeyed our laws.

The current bill, S.1348, would indeed by an ex post facto law. The reason the U.S. Constitution forbids such laws is not only that someone could be penalized for an action that was legal when it was committed, but that people who get an advantage by breaking the law would not be rewarded for their lawbreaking at the expense of those obeying the law.

Below the fold, I would like to mention a few of the immigrants whom I am proud to know:

Oladpo Adu, who is an International Master in Chess from Nigeria, Arlington Chess Club's Blitz Champion, one of the nicest people I know, and who is great with kids, even getting down on the fllor to play blitz games with them between games at tournaments.

Mr. Hammerle, of Virginia Beach. He was the father of a high school classmate and college roommate. He came to the United States from Austria with out only a high school degree, and built a very successful drafting business. His son went to one of the best high schools in the nation, and became an engineer and patent lawyer.

Jacob's father and uncle. Survivors of the Soviet occupation of Poland. I will let Jacob expound their virtues if he likes, but they built a very successful contruction company.

A former co-worker of mine, who name I am sorry to say I've forgotten over the last 14 years. She was one of the Vietnamese boat people. Because the boat was so overcrowded, with no power, no food, and little water, she, being very sick, was to be thrown overboard at dawn. One hour before dawn, they were rescued by a passing ship. She eventually came the the United States, knowing no English, and became one of the best software engineers I have ever had the priviledge of working with.

Paul Truong, FIDE chess master and immigrant from Viet Nam, whom I met several years ago at a chess tournament in Virginia Beach, along with the woman who is now his wife, Susan Polgar, and immigrant from Hungary. Please read his memoir here.

The above mentioned Susan Polgar, the first woman to earn the title of FIDE Grand Master. (Her younger sister Judit broke Bobby Fischer's record for the youngest Grand Master ever.) Susan is a tireless promoter of chess for children.

There are many more. Mere acquaintances whose names I never learned, but whose contributions to the United States cannot be underestimated. One in particular, a doctor in his home country, cannot practice medicine here. He would rather be here, though, and is working to learn English and get a license to practice in the United States. Others who toil in the heat of restaurant kitchens for 10-12 hours a day, after which they go to English class from 5:00 to 9:00, to get up at 5:00 the next morning and do it all again.

The United States is a better place with these people than without them. We need more such people to come here. Legally.

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16 Comments

zimzo said:

Since when did you care about fairness, Jack? Seriously, the crap you guys are spouting to make your opposition to legalizing illegal immigrants look reasonable and even altruistic is truly mind-boggling.

An ex post facto law is a law that criminalizes conduct that was legal or increses penalties after the fact. It does not work in reverse. It is not a law that legalizes a crime or eases penalties.

And seriously did you ask Oladpo Adu or Paul Truong whether they would like to see immigrants harassed about their papers and then deported if they could not provide them, whether they would like to see small businessmen "frog-marched" to prison for hiring illegal immigrants? Did you aks them how they feel about having illegal immigrants waiting behind them in line to get citizenship, many of whom have been in the coutry just as long as they have and have endured more hardship. Do you really think in the interest of "fairness" they would prefer that these people be deported or face more hardship? Why don't you ask them, Jack? I doubt they do because most people don't believe that "fairness" is wishing for other people to suffer as much or more than you do. Or is that how the Golden Rule is translated in your Bible?

What about fairness to the people already living here, Zimzo, who pay taxes and obey the laws? You know, Americans.

Oh, I guess I just answered my own question.

Jack said:

Fairness is what laws are all about, zimzo.

Why don't you ask some of those that have been on the waiting list for the last five years whether it is fair to let the illegal immigrants stay? Those are the people getting the short end of the stick, not the legal immigrants who are already here.

An ex post facto law is any law that changes the legality of an action after that action was taken: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_post_facto

Loudoun Conservative said:

Another immigrant worth our admiration is the woman I met in line for Reagan's viewing. She emigrated from Cambodia as the Khmer Rouge were taking over, having lost almost her entire family to their brutality. She came to Reagan's viewing and waited in line to honor him for over 8 hours. Why? Bbecause she voted for him in the very first election after she gained her citizenship.

I'm so grateful for the legal immigrants who have helped build our nation.

To denigrate their contributions by legalizing those who have flagrantly disregarded our laws and may not even love America is wrong.

Like Jack, I'd be all for increasing legal immigration quotas -- even substantially -- as long as we start taking enforcing our immigration laws seriously and kick the folks out who don't respect those laws.

stay puft said:

"increasing legal immigration quotas -- even substantially -- as long as we start taking enforcing our immigration laws"

...seems like the way to go. But can't anyone else here see how turning 13 million people into fugitives could be a bad idea?

I understand the concerns for fairness and rule of law and everything. I understand the idea that just because we can't catch everyone doesn't mean we shouldn't try to get some of them.

...but given that there are millions of people, that they are families, etc. is there no need to look at this situation as a special case? Yes it is important that we enforce our laws, but is it The most important thing?

Jack said:

"But can't anyone else here see how turning 13 million people into fugitives could be a bad idea?"

They are already fugitives, puffalump.

"...but given that there are millions of people, that they are families, etc. is there no need to look at this situation as a special case?"

There are millions of theives in this country, too. They, too have families. However, a thief cannot take his family to jail, while a deported illegal immigrant can take his family with him. That is already a special case.

"Yes it is important that we enforce our laws, but is it The most important thing?"

For the legal system, yes, it is. If we enforce the laws, and find them wanting, then we can change them. If we will not enforce the laws, then why do we have laws? Justice is supposed to be blind, not given to exceptions in "special cases."

Kevin said:

"If we enforce the laws, and find them wanting, then we can change them. If we will not enforce the laws, then why do we have laws? Justice is supposed to be blind, not given to exceptions in 'special cases.'"

huh? Slow down there, Jack. You're thinking too fast for me. I'm sure you can take the time to elaborate and uravel the kernel of wisdom in your statement. (BTW, thank you for your endless patience in this matter).

PS. I'll be back on Monday.

Jack said:

I shall try, but it is difficult to slow my thinking to the pace of a liberal. :-)

We have immigration laws that are not being enforced. Our immigration agents release those that are caught. We prosecute very few employers of illegal immigrants. But we say the laws are not working, when they have not been given a chance to work. So we will change the law and then not enforce the new one? What's the point of that? It would be better to have no law at all, than to engender such disrespect for the law.

Puffalump suggested that, "given that there are millions of people, that they are families, etc. is there no need to look at this situation as a special case?"

No, we cannot prosecute the law in some cases and not in others. Most lawbreakers have families. At least the deported illegal immigrants can take their families with them.

stay puft said:

Javert,

we aren't talking about thieves. we need to enforce our laws, but for Christ's sake (lit.) we also need to think about the human impact that our enforcement methods will have.

stop looking at this purely rhetorically and think about what you're saying for a second. You're advocating the uprooting of entire communities, and destroying millions of people's lives. For what? For, "the rule of law"? as if the presence of these people has somehow negated our entire legal system?!

I know, I know. You say, "I care about the lives of American workers who loose their jobs..." Well that's great. I don't want anyone to loose their jobs, but being an unskilled minimum wage jobs aren't known for their security. Lots of things cause these workers to loose their jobs. meanwhile, 13 million more people means 13 million more consumers of stuff, 13 million more renters, 13 million more people participating in the American economy. Surely that's a source of job creation as well as job loss.

At the end of the day, the biggest crime these folks have committed is to have cut in line. In the scheme of things, that's not so horrible! Yes, our laws should be enforced, but for crying out loud the punishment should match the crime!

Anyone who has waited in line for 10 years has waited long enough. Give them citizenship now! Then, allow people who are already here to begin the process of becoming citizens. Meanwhile, do whatever is necessary to secure the border AND bump up the immigration quotas so that going through the legal channels is a better deal than sneaking across the borders. Then you could screen people for whatever you want, and you can assume that the people who are still opting to sneak in must really be up to no good.

I guess I've said enough for now

Had Enough said:

Z: "is that how the Golden Rule is translated in your Bible?"

In the Bible? Pastor Chuck Baldwin quotes from the BIble:

In John 10:1, Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber."

Pastor Chuck Baldwin refuses to take part in the "New Sanctuary Movement."

He also wrote: "Furthermore, it is more than troubling to learn that some of my Christian brethren seem to be so undiscerning as to be willing to facilitate lawlessness and even potential terrorism by assisting those who have no respect for our nation's laws or national borders.

Make no mistake about it: illegal aliens are no more our "neighbors" and "friends" than are other criminals. They knowingly and deliberately violate our nation's immigration laws and then have the audacity to demand that we accept and even protect them? I don't think so.

And lest someone accuse me of being uncompassionate, think again. You should know that my church congregation is composed of several immigrants from many nationalities and ethnicities. And they all have one thing in common: they were willing to immigrate to America lawfully. They played by the rules. They stood in line. And they have found nothing but love and friendship from those of us privileged to be born in this great country."

He realizes that a country without borders and laws is not a country.

We have had a double standard in this country too long. Only the Citizens are forced to obey the laws.

Kevin said:

"Make no mistake about it: illegal aliens are no more our 'neighbors' and 'friends' than are other criminals."

HE, you are stark raving mad. Period. Christ was friends with criminals. Heck, he even invited the one on the cross next to him to "join Me in paradise". My guess is he would have asked him regardless of what society he belonged to, as long as he accepted him as their savior. And are you Jewish? If you're not then you can basically thank the philosophical idea of "amnesty" for allowing you to become Christian in the first place, a la Paul. Do you seriously believe that that bit of scripture you quoted above was in relation to illegal immigration?

Ugh. Oh, and I'm confront you out of brotherly love, and all that business.

Jack said:

"Yes, our laws should be enforced, but for crying out loud the punishment should match the crime!"

It does. You come here illegally, you are deported. What could be more fitting?

When you are deported, you may take your family with you if you like, so we are not destroying your family, and the children that you had here are still citizens, and may return anytime.

Ames Tiedeman said:

Where is the leadership we need?

What the hell is wrong with our country?

We are going toward third world status..


God save America!

Jack said:

What's wrong with this country is the socialists and anarchists (also known as liberals and Democrats) who hate this country, and the cowardly conservatives and Republicans who cave into them in the vain hope that the socialists in the media won't beat them up so much.

stay puft said:

omfg

jacob said:

Marshmallow,
'omfg'
I thought you did not beleive in God? ;^)

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