The Three I’s – Immigration, Illegals and Irony

Immigration reform is a hot topic in the United States, particularly if you live in a southwestern border state. The issue is growing and Arizona’s recent immigration law[1] ( read blog post ) which will allow law enforcement to demand papers of anyone that they pull over with reasonable suspicion of being illegally in the country. The law is not supposed to be used in any way that could be construed as racial profiling, but with the problem in Arizona being mainly with immigration from Mexico, and the population of the state containing over 2.3 million legal people who are of Latino, Native American or Pacific Islander/Hawaiian origin[2] I do not see how this will be able to avoid profiling and harassment of legal residents and citizens of Arizona.

There are a number of pages on Facebook that purport to be supportive of the Arizona law and at the same time claim there is no racial bias or bigotry. Yet it does not take long to find a page that spews so many non facts and does not back up anything they say with any documentation. One in particular is “Not Giving Welfare to Illegal Immigrants”[3] This page approaches 40,000 members and thinks that people come into the United States in gigantic waves from Mexico and immediately latch onto breast of the nation and start suckling the welfare and food stamp benefits. Not to take the steam out of their engines but it is not that easy.

Welfare is only available to US citizens or people that are allowed into the country legally. There are exceptions (such as children that are legal and their parents are not) where the system is not perfect. But even so – the Constitution states that if you are born here you are a citizen – I would hope no one is suggesting that we separate children from their parents over this issue as that would prove an even bigger entitlement burden upon the state. Features of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act include:

Benefits available to immigrants include school lunch and breakfast programs, immunizations, emergency medical services, disaster relief, and others programs that are necessary to protect life and safety as identified by the attorney general, regardless of immigration status. Illegal immigrants are barred from the following federal public benefits: grants, contracts, loans, licenses, retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, post secondary education, food assistance, and unemployment benefits. States are barred from providing state or locally funded benefits to illegal immigrants unless a state law is enacted granting such authority.[4]

To get far enough along to be considered for welfare a Social Security card is required. These cards cannot be picked up by any illegal immigrant the morning after they hop the fence near Ciudad Juarez. An illegal cannot get a Social Security card – only US citizens or those who are here legally with work visas can obtain this important card.[5]

We find our country moving towards a rampant form of nationalism and protectionism which is downright scary. Nationalism was a strong instigator in both World Wars and is something we see in violent conflicts throughout the world – from Africa to the Balkans to the Middle East. Of course, racism is a dirty word – either you are racist and cannot admit it – or you are not racist and you are reaching for a label to attach to the opposition. People that support the legislation passed in Arizona will swear they are not racist and that they do not support racism – but the Arizona bill is designed to be racist. If you are not racist but you favor a law that will harass over two million legal Latinos what are you? Over one third of the legal population must have their papers in order at all times or risk immediate arrest and surrender to federal authorities. A law could work (but would be impractical – but only be a bit more than the new law) if it required law enforcement to require papers from everyone that they pull over – the ambiguity of reasonable suspicion needs to be removed and cannot be tolerated in a free society.

Arizona may only be the start. This week Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker unveiled his “Baker’s Dozen,” a plan to correct the ills of the Massachusetts government and economy. Item seven is a gem that wants to require anyone wanting to collect welfare to prove that they are legally here.[6] Also in the past week Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) introduced the Terrorist Expatriation Act[7] which if passed would allow the State Department to strip the citizenship of any person who aides, allies or joins a terrorist organization without any formal charges or any trial. These laws seem innocent enough on the surface but they show a willingness of law makers to erode the protections of the Constitution and are reminiscent of the Nuremberg Laws in 1930s Germany that led to further persecution of the Jews and other “undesirables.”

We now arrive at the third “I” – irony. The United States is unique in the world as it was created by immigrants who arrived on our shores at first for religious freedom and later for economic freedom. Since that time the nation has grown by leaps and bounds because people wanted to come here for a better opportunity for themselves and their families. Most of us would be a part of a poor agrarian society in some backwater country if we were lucky, or the victims of war and other atrocities if it not for our good fortune to have had forbearers who came to America. In their time our families were not always welcome but they worked hard and in time were accepted – as most of us our now. We should embrace the immigrants of today to honor the memory of our immigrant ancestors. Yes, we may be Italian, Irish, German, from Asia or Africa or from any other country, continent or religious background – but we are first and foremost Americans. I welcome others who want to be here and better themselves and we should make it easier for those who want to be here to work and get a better life. Also ironic is that so many illegals are here to work in illegal jobs that no one wants to have and that are never prosecuted by the government for paying sub-minimum wages or evading payroll taxes. We could easily crackdown on the immigration problem by forcing businesses to pay fair wages and employment taxes and offer reasonable working conditions. Reform is needed – but not at the price of human rights, liberty and decency.


[1] http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/49leg/2r/bills/sb1070s.pdf

[2] http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/04000.html

[3] http://www.facebook.com/illegal.immigration?v=wall#!/illegal.immigration?ref=ts

[4] The inset paragraph highlights some of the features and restrictions of the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, which was passed by a Republican Congress and signed by President Clinton – it sharply curtailed the prior welfare system and gave recipients a limited amount of time to collect relief. The full text of the bill can be found here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c104:H.R.3734.ENR:

[5] http://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber/

[6] http://www.charliebaker2010.com/Bakers%20Dozen.pdf

[7] http://lieberman.senate.gov/assets/pdf/TEA_full.pdf

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5 Responses to “The Three I’s – Immigration, Illegals and Irony”

  1. livingdilbert Says:

    VERY well said. I agree 100%.

  2. SylphSong Says:

    BRAVO! Thank you.

  3. patty wahlquist Says:

    well written-truth-funny!

  4. Arizona Immigration Reform 60 Days Later « Symptom of the Universe Says:

    […] https://sapblatt.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/the-three-i%e2%80%99s-immigration-illegals-and-irony/ […]

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