Wednesday, December 07, 2005


J. Paul Clark, who writes a lot of letters to the ABH, weighs in on immigration today.  Suffice it to say, he’s no fan of brown people who sneak into the US.  In the interests of afflicting the comfortable, comforting the afflicted, and cleaning the snarky puddle of distortion from the pillow of rhetoric, we’ve got to clear a few things up.  Mostly, what we want to address with reference to J Paul’s letter specifically, is his contention that, “Theft by conversion can be applied to any legislator who takes tax money from the constituency that put them in office and converts it to the upkeep of illegal immigrants.”

How so?  Is he asserting that legislators who use my tax dollars to support expenditures I don’t like are also guilty of theft by conversion?  If so, I’d like to file charges against whoever voted to give the Gubner a helicopter.  Seriously, I’m not sure if I trust Sonny on a Big Wheel, much less a few million dollars worth of high-quality chopper.  And you know he flies it.

We assume, although J. Paul doesn’t cite a specific bill, that he’s referring to the proposed legislation by State Senator Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) that seeks to bar illegals and their children from enrolling in any public college or university in the state.  He could also be talking about the blatantly unconstitutional bill being introduced next year by Rep. Roger Williams (R-Dalton) that wants to deny – well, pretty much everything to illegals.  (Background can be found here and here.)

Here’s the thing though.  The only people being hurt by these bills are the only ones who can’t defend themselves – the children.  You’ll pardon us for generalizing here, but we’re betting that the mother of two who endured God knows what kind of hardship to get into the US is not thinking about an advanced degree in economics.  But she’s thinking about it for her kids; America is, after all, the land of opportunity.

And about those kids.  If they’re born in the US, then they’re free to enroll in any college they want to.  DiDDY or Adrian or someone will correct me if I’m wrong, but a child born in the US is a US citizen, and thus exempt from any provisions of Rogers’ bill.  If the child is not born in the US, then chances are, they didn’t have much say in the decision to come to America.  What’s an eight-year-old kid in Honduras going to say to change his parents’ minds?

So why punish the kids?  Because there isn’t much else you can do to the parents.

Look, we’re not saying that there’s an easy fix to the immigration issue.  We do believe that it’s an issue for the federal government to have primacy in, but we also believe with any issue if the feds aren’t getting the job done (they aren’t) then the states and localities have to step up to the plate.  We’ve got to wonder though, about the efficacy of Rogers’ and Williams’ bills.  

Punishing kids who didn’t have a choice about immigrating illegally after the die is cast?  There’s an element of closing the barn door after the cows get out to that idea.  The legislative focus on illegal immigration should be on prevention before the fact, not punishment after the fact.  Anything else is just mean-spirited, spiteful, and a waste of resources.

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