I wrote this in response to a less-than-correct Facebook status I saw today. The original, cutesy, let's-blame-someone-else message was this:
If you cross the N. Korean border illegally, you get 12 yrs. hard labor.
If you cross the Afghanistan border illegally, you get shot.
If you cross the U.S. border illegally you get a job, a driver's license, food stamps, a place to live, health care, housing & child benefits, education, & tax free business for 7 yrs.
No wonder we are a country in debt.
In response, I suggested the poster to take a look at the Wyoming requirement for driver's license and to see the difficulty involved with anyone getting a license, natural born or otherwise. To really know the situation, I also suggest they give this article a read as well.
Reform definitely needs to happen but a person touting this philosophy needs to ask themselves if the current Congress would do it. Their current game is about blame, but they seem more than off in who they should blame. In this situation, blaming an individual that comes for a promise of a job is no solution, as well as inaccurate and immoral.
If our generation wants to see Social Security benefits at our 70+ retirement age, immigration has to be opened to whomever wants to come. Pay a fee for the processing of documents, ideally less than what is paid to a Coyote, get a SS#, get that quadruple-checked driver's license, enroll the children in school and offer the 'American Dream' to those willing to pay into our system. There needs to be more hardworking, contributing individuals to support all the retiring, Reactionary News (insert news channel's name here) watching baby boomers. But, then, who would be blamed for what is not agreed with? Currently, an undocumented person working in the US has money withheld from their pay with no hope of ever seeing it again because they don't have a valid SS# or tax i.d and will never collect any of it in the way of retirement benefits. In reality, what they were promised in pay is even less at the end of the day or week or month.
I am the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of immigrants. Based on the records I've seen, my Irish g-gf came in through Canada. It was a much less expensive option than New York, Boston or New Orleans during the famine years when the coffin ships were filled with the starving from the west of Ireland. The landowners saw it as their only option, to free themselves of the starving individuals that worked their land for little more than a place to live. Upon the arrival of the immigrant Irish in the new country, those that survived the trip or born en route, found themselves only finding the jobs no one else wanted because they were the newest and lowest economic class. I think this may fall under the adage of 'the more things change, the more they stay the same.' There is always a disadvantaged class that is seen as responsible for the current economic woes, when it's usually the wealthier classes bearing much of the responsibility for the mismanagement, tax dodging and economic misdeeds. In today's Congress, see who is most against tax hikes for the wealthiest individuals and corporations; those same individuals aren't even willing to talk about fixing the current mess to legitimize and legalize as many immigrants as they could. What a way to kiss off piles of money that could come in to help those social programs that are on the chopping block!
I received a bumper sticker from a friend in Florida today that can be applied to this subject:
All people are created equal members of one human family
I just hope, with immigration reform and less blame of any immigrant group, we can also be one American family, too.
(And, my response to the original status update? It was deleted. When faced with compassion, truth and links, jingoism is much more attractive than reality.)