Friday, December 16, 2005

700 miles of BS

From today's New York Times:
House Republicans voted on Thursday night to toughen a border security bill by requiring the Department of Homeland Security to build five fences along 698 miles of the United States border with Mexico to block the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs into this country. ... The bill would require mandatory detention of many immigrants, stiffen the penalties for employers who hire them and broaden the immigrant-smuggling statute to include employees of social service agencies and church groups who offer services to undocumented workers. It would not create the temporary guest worker program that President Bush has urged to legalize the status of the 11 million illegal immigrants believed to be living in this country.

Un-fucking-believable! The government is going to spend millions of dollars on a project that does not at all address the issue of illegal immigration in the United States. I'm so tired of hearing about "tougher borders" and "guest-worker" programs. It's all BS. Earlier this week, I read a newspaper story about how lawmakers want to change the law so that coming to the U.S. without documents will be a criminal felony instead of a civil offense. Lawmakers think reinforcing borders will keep out terrorists. Give me a break, a bunch of the 9/11 hijackers were in the U.S. on expired visas, where was border control then? As far as guest-worker programs, Bush thinks it's a great idea to have undocumented workers turn themselves in so the government can give them a specified amount of time to stay in the country and then deport them. So it's basically delayed doportation that says, "Let us greedy Americans exploit your labor capacity and then send you one home when we're done." Undocumented people are still people, we are not talking about cattle or rental cars.
The most effective solution would be to increase the quota of people allowed to migrate to the U.S. and streamline legalization processes so that it doesn't take years for people to gain legal status. It's obvious that there is capacity for more immigrants in this country, especially from Mexico, so why not eliminate "illegal" border crossings by making it easier for people to cross legally? The government should also grant amnesty to the millions of undocumented people who live here now. I don't agree with the idea that doing so would "reward illegal behavior." Was it legal when millions of white people squatted in places like Texas and California when those areas were still part of Mexico? No, but now those people are touted as pioneers and heros. Mexico and the U.S. have shared a border for hundreds of years and NOW the U.S. wants to build a 700 mile fence? It's too late.

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