Monday, May 01, 2006


I've written next to nothing about the illegal immigration issue. As usual, it's tough to get simple facts -- everything you read or see or hear about the issue is usually sensationalized or filtered through whoever's providing it.

So instead of making ill-founded pronouncements about illegal immigration, I'll pose a couple questions I've been left with.

First, how does the point that "we are a nation of immigrants" constitute an argument? I'm a first generation American myself -- but my parents came here (from Canada, which we aren't as worried about, apparently) legally. They're registered as "resident aliens," which my siblings and I thought was hilarious when we first heard about it.

The point is that there's a real difference between immigrants and illegal immigrants. The latter term, it seems, is a little misleading. Couldn't we justifiably refer to illegal immigrants as "people who sneak into the country"?

Hey, calm down. Let's not play the moral equivalency game and pretend I'm some kind of xenophobe. I'm all for immigration -- but I don't think it's fair to the folks waiting to enter this country legally that we should give special consideration to those who have deliberately "cut in line" and broken the law.

Now, as far as the "Day without a Mexican" demonstrations go, I can see the point. American industry is dependent on illegal labor -- which is a nice way of saying that there are lots of companies here who cut corners on wages and workers' rights by hiring people they don't put on the books. Who exactly is getting treated fairly here, and should migrant workers be "demanding" these rights?

Isn't the answer to this particular facet of the problem a re-examination of our immigration policies? It's often brought up that we "can't just deport" the 11 million illegals here already. Okay, but whatever solution we come up with as far as legislation goes should be applied equally to everyone seeking residence in the United States, right? Anything else amounts to special treatment for those who have broken the law by entering illegally, and that equals amnesty.

Maybe I'm way off base here. Are there aspects to this issue I haven't considered? Experts, I know you're out there -- clue me in.