Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Soapbox

Beivenidos a Realidad!
By Joe Shehan

In Saturday’s Dallas Morning News, the DMN chose their Texan of the year. Instead of deciding on an actual Texan they went the way of Time Magazine and chose something inane…the Illegal Immigrant! So, yes fair reader the illegal immigrant is the only Texan this year worthy of our gratitude and praise. It does not come as any surprise to the Texas Watchman that the DMN would find some counter-culture representative to honor, but I more expected Molly Ivins (who passed away this year) than The Illegal Immigrant! Yet again the Dallas Morning News shows its colors, and takes one more step towards being as pertinent as the Star-Telegram.

Illegal immigration is a real problem in this country. Whether it shows our inability to guard our own borders, or it reminds us all of the actual strain it puts on our economy, it is a problem that must be addressed. Yet, how can the civil discourse that needs to take place happen when the few news outlets we rely on to tell the story accurately and unbiased honor criminals and reveal their bias towards such a hot button issue? It’s hard enough getting positive stories out of Iraq, but now the DMN is shilling for illegals too.

I am a third generation American. I have grown up with the stories of signs that read “no Irish need apply”. What makes my story different is my grandparents came here with the permission of the American government, and still suffered discrimination. Many on the left and in the illegals’ camp want to paint those who do not support illegal immigration as xenophobes. This might be true if the bulk of us were against all immigrants, but we aren’t. Those we are against are the individuals who seek to break our laws to profit themselves. If they were citizens we would be throwing them in jail, but because they are the cheap labor greedy business owners desire, we look the other way.

It is time to understand that people who want to return illegal immigrants back to their country of origin do not hate these people, they are simply impassioned by the government’s inability and unwillingness to do what is necessary to stem the tide of illegals into this country. These people are also tired of hearing stories of how illegals would have starved if they stayed back in their country, but yeta majority saved $1000 to pay the coyote to get them here. I know that $1000 is not a lot of money, but in Mexico that can feed a family for months.

Granted the immigration process is convoluted and antiquated. I can admit that, but until we can control the tide of people getting in it is going to be harder to fix. We need greater border protection and enforcement. We need greater prosecution against employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. Cities such as Irving and other towns in Arizona have taken such measures, and have seen the number of illegals diminish almost over night. Their economies have not suffered because of it, and their crime has overwhelming gone down as well. Perhaps in this debate we should be focused on what betters the whole of society, than an important voting block during an election year.

Immigration has always been a hot button issue for this country, especially during economically unsure times. If it’s not the Mexicans, it was the Chinese. If it’s not the Irish, it was Italians. America has had its fair share of xenophobic jerks portraying their bigoted hatred as patriotism, but I do not believe this is the case this time. In the above immigration stories these people came here legally, and were brought here because they were cheap labor and needed work. Concerned Americans today could care less about the race of the individual, but care about their legal status. Yes, many people assume that a person of brown skin and a Hispanic last name may be illegal, but that comes from their own ignorance of the person in question, and that the overwhelming majority of the people who are illegal originate from Latin America.

The real issue here is that everyone is so worked up over this issue that we are talking past each other. Granted, some heated words and some hard truths need to be said, but the debate should not be childish. We need to look long and hard at this issue, and decide what the best course of action for all Americans should be. Compromises need to be made, and there will need to be a willingness by both sides to give up ground to find a real solution. It may take years to fix the problem, but then fixing the problem would be worth the wait. Remember it took Thomas Edison 2000 prototypes before he created 1 incandescent light bulb.

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