Political News June & July 07
On Illegal Residents
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(An opinion) by Barnaby Thrushwallow.  Send comments to thrushwallow9@msn.com   

First, the ubiquitous use of the word “immigrant” to describe persons who come to our nation in two distinctly different categories: i. e. legal and illegal, seems an obvious attempt to blur the status of each melding them into a single category. This must be stopped! It reduces the efforts made by legal immigrants from around the world to absolute zero.


People who work very hard to enter this nation by the rules---learning English, US History, the Constitution, etc.; following the legal steps in residence; filing proper paperwork; and completing other requirements deserve to become full-fledged citizens of the United States of America. They earn full Constitutional and civil rights and we welcome them heartily! Such immigrants have always been welcome---such are the immigrants who built this country. However, if individuals just walk across the national border and set up housekeeping in violation of many laws (actually deserving to be jailed) —and then have citizenship handed to them “on a silver platter” as it were, the efforts of those with integrity go unrewarded. This is blatantly unjust! Surely, the legal immigrants must ask, “Why?”


On a KPBS radio broadcast I heard a nameless illegal immigrant state at the recent demonstrations in Los Angeles that she had been living in the US for 25 years and “It’s about time I got my citizenship”—or words to that effect. To her, I reply, “When did you file your declaration—your “first papers?” (Immigration law allows an immigrant to file a declaration of Intent at any time after reaching US soil. Then a 5 year residence requirement begins at the end of which said immigrant may petition for full citizenship—providing that the same 5 years encompass a 2 year wait between the declaration and the petition. Military service is considered a substitution for the declaration and only a 1-year residency is required. If a child under age 18—enters the country, he or she must first attain his or her majority and then wait out the 5-year residency.)


A related tangent comes to mind, wherein a couple who entered the US illegally begged to be granted citizenship upon the basis that they had birthed a baby on US soil who, by virtue of that fact, had dual citizenship with their own country and the US. This is not a just or fair request since these parents were not refugees in any sense, and such a child cannot claim its rights for itself, but must rely on its parents until it attains majority. Therefore, the parents should take the child with them back to the country of their rightful citizenship. I am personally aware of a baby born in Japan shortly after World War II to US parents. These parents would never in a million years have attempted to claim for themselves a right to Japanese citizenship based upon his birth.


Much false or misguided compassion centers upon these individuals because they have thrown themselves into what was described by a radio commentator as the “shadowy world outside the law” and find themselves victimized by unscrupulous individuals. This is an unfortunate choice they make. They knowingly enter the country illegally. To do this anywhere is a risky proposition. Would they risk it trying to enter any other nation—Saudi Arabia, for example? There has been much ado made about their “immigrant rights” –meaning actually “illegal immigrants’ rights” –and “civil rights”. I call to your attention, dear reader, the fact that in the United States illegal immigrants have no rights—constitutional or civil. They enter the nation by breaking the law and in so doing make themselves criminals. For example, I am told that each individual must at some point use false identification documents (a jailable crime) and that if such an individual takes a job or rents a home, he or she must sign several employment and rent related documents including a W4 form, a job application, and a rental application, among others, stating under penalty of perjury that he or she has the legal right to work or live in this country. Of how many counts of perjury is each one of these individuals guilty? Former United States President Bill Clinton suffered the impeachment process based upon only a single count of perjury! Each count of perjury carries a penalty of at least 2 years in the Federal prison. In the US we jail criminals, we do not grant them social welfare benefits. Regarding civil rights, perhaps they do not yet know that even native-born US citizens who become criminals actually lose their civil rights while they are incarcerated. They do not have the right to freedom of assembly; they do not have protection from illegal search and seizure; they do not have the right to vote, etc. When they have served their time, paid their “debt to society”, and are released generally their civil rights can be restored—but sometimes they cannot—and have been lost forever.


Although, in fact, civil rights are reserved for full-fledged citizens of the United States, others still possess human rights, and we recognize these in the US. (At least until Alberto Gonzalez became US Attorney General we did.) Hence, the belongings of illegal immigrants should not be stolen or vandalized; their persons should not be mistreated or victimized in any way---but they should not be granted citizenship on that basis.


Persons from many countries sometimes immigrate to the US illegally, but by far and away most are from the Republic of Mexico. In 1847, the United States occupied Mexican territory as far south as the modern city of Vera Cruz. We gave it back— under the impression that the people there wanted an independent nation. Now, they have one and don’t want to live in it? Why not? I have traveled in Mexico. I have observed that they have houses with indoor plumbing, paved roads, skyscrapers, freeways, airplanes, airports, automobiles, TVs, radios, telephones, cell phones, computers, internet, stores, hospitals, churches, schools, universities, museums, parks, restaurants, theatres, and active commerce. What seems to be the problem? Why do they feel it necessary to put them into a criminal underworld, rather than work where they live? To the man who shouted, “I have made you rich, why can’t I have citizenship?” (or words to that effect) at the recent LA demonstration, I say, “You have not made me rich.” Everyone in the United States—even native-born citizens—is not rich. In fact, many people, like myself, find it a great struggle to survive living in only a modest fashion. Illegal immigrants who compose a pool of “cheap labor” actually damage the job market. They undercut the efforts made by citizens like Cesar Chavez and Woodie Guthrie, to organize labor and establish a “living wage” to enable every citizen to earn an honest living and escape poverty. The last time I checked — admittedly some time ago--- were the situation reversed, and I or any other United States citizen walked into the Republic of Mexico and applied for a job, it would not be tolerated for an instant. Rather than encourage illegal immigration it would seem more reasonable to urge US business to invest in Mexico and create jobs for these people in their own country, with their families, where they belong—rather than encourage them to live outside the protection of the law and become a virtual “slave labor” class in the US, that actually benefits no one but the super rich. To those who state that “Americans won’t take those jobs” (meaning the jobs currently filled by illegal immigrants), I reply that I once asked a native-born Anglo citizen who was job hunting why he didn’t apply to be a gardener since he loved working with plants so very much. He answered, “They won’t hire me. They only want to hire Mexicans.”


By Barnaby Thrushwallow





An immigrant is one who holds a valid green card (proof that has applied to be a citizen).  In most cases the term an Illegal immigrant is misapplied, for he is not an immigrant who in applying has provided false documents, but rather an illegal resident, one who is residing here in violation of the law.  They should be sent back, we should tighten our borders and in so doing support a higher wage for those who are Americans.  Labor makes all things, yet those who are in the neoliberalism camp have different plans.  They have high jacked through election donations the direction of government and are using as one of their tools to dismantle the benefits won through a century of labor strife the benefits won.  They have flooded the market with cheap labor, and then outsource jobs to shrink our employment opportunities.  In real wages, the average workers is much worse off than he was 50 years ago, and family even the average family income has dropped even though now most families have sent their wives to work--jk. 

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