The right and wrong way to deal with immigrants

Yesterday was an interesting day in Boston. Two groups of aliens gathered around Beantown, each seeking changes in their status.

On Boston Common, a big “immigrants rights” rally was held. They brought hundreds of crosses, commemorating those who have died trying to cross our southern border. I don’t quite get their message, but they seem to be calling for increased quotas and streamlined policies for legal immigraiton and citizenship — something I happen to agree with. But they lost me when they said they just want to “get in line” with those already going through the legal process.

The problem is, the line forms at the rear. Get in line BEHIND those already trying to do it legally. Only once we’ve cleared out those folks should we even THINK about addressing the illegal ones. I don’t like line-cutters in the supermarket, at the bank, and we certainly should not accept it at the border.

Meanwhile, across town, 202 other aliens gathered. And there the government did the right thing — this country now has 202 fewer aliens inside our borders. We no longer have to worry about those citizens of other nations running around loose in our country. After years and years of legal wrangling and endless mountains of paperwork, those aliens are not a problem any more.

Because yesterday, they took their oaths and became American citizens.

The “line,” for them, started about ten years back. And while I think that might be a bit too long, it SHOULD be a very complicated and time-consuming process. Changing one’s citizenship is a huge matter. It’s more than just moving to a new nation. It’s renouncing your prior allegiance, it’s abandoning your native people and native culture, and becoming part of a whole new one.

American citizenship is one of the greatest things in the world. Far too many of us who have enjoyed that tremendous privilege through accident of birth too often take it for granted, and that’s a damned shame. But we should not cheapen American citizenship (or, for that matter, citizenship of any nation, because every immigrant we accept is “voting with their feet” and rejecting their homeland) by making it too easy to obtain.

Today, I have something I did not have yesterday morning. I have 202 new fellow citizens, brethren who in all likelihood value that which forms our common bond far more dearly than I ever will. I envy them, in a way, and welcome them and what they bring to us.

And to those who assembled on Boston Common yesterday, I say this: put your money where your mouth is. You want to get in line? Fine. The end of the line is back in your home land. Stop pissing on those already in line. We’re working on fixing our immigration problem, but your constant in-your-face tactics are only feeding the justifiable outrage of those who believe that laws, and procedures, and borders actually still mean something.

Karl Rove Indicted For Perjury, Again
There goes the neighborhood


  1. ed May 18, 2006
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