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Lazy Liberty

November 22, 2014

The current Chief Executive of the United States of America, Barack Obama—as just about anyone keeping at all up do date with North American politics knows—has decided to take it upon himself to modify the existing state of immigration. He has decided to do this by virtue of executive order. This has created something of a stir, and that demands some response, I think. Obviously I am only one more voice talking about this, but my thoughts may be unique, so it may help to have them out there for public consumption.

I have posted before about Obama and his tendency to overstep his authority, as well as (often in conjunction with) his disregard for moral implications of his decisions. I make it clear I don’t like the guy. Personally, I don’t think he had the political or geopolitical experience to take the office he holds. He has also proven to be a liar and a failure in most any promise he made regarding the preservation or protection of Constitutional freedoms, and this immigration measure may fall into that category no matter what his motives or its positive ramifications. All that said, I find myself in the unusual position of not disagreeing with his action here.

It is clear Obama has made opponents of the Republican Party and elements of his own with this initiative, especially if he actually has the gumption to follow through with any real changes pursuant of its goals. It seems like he made enemies of everyone. Historically, if both political sides of an issue have problems with an action, it tends to be a centrist course of action. Whether or not I like the Chief Executive is immaterial in this conclusion.

So, we come to the concept Obama has forwarded: immigration reform. He’s blamed for overstepping his bounds and for not making a more permanent solution in the same breath, which only demonstrates the idiocy of whoever says such things. You are stupid to say he shouldn’t do something and for not doing it in a more permanent fashion. You can’t have it both ways.

Is he overstepping? Maybe, but he is in command of the executive branch. Any policy changes are his to make unless Congress actually does something to counter that. Is he not doing a permanent change? No. But good. Matters of national regulation are the legislative branch’s responsibility. Either Obama is trying to give a lazy, conceited Congress a kick in the pants or he’s being politically spiteful, but still possibly accomplishing something good despite himself. Congress wants to sit on a necessary reform bill for more than a year and call him childish for that? Maybe so. But it is still more helpful for the country than Congress has proven to be, in that case. (I feel so proud of my government, by the way… just like when I fail a final exam.)

Let’s start by being honest: it’s not inherently a moral judgment to say illegal immigrants trespassed to live here. That is the correct legal terminology. If a criminal is discovered, it makes no sense to maintain the law if it is not kept faithfully. That conclusion applies anywhere, so it has nothing to do with racial bias. It also has no bearing on what should happen with illegal immigrants now, necessarily. Rather, I believe the fact there are millions of “undocumented” people having contributing to the community without being discovered, actually demands the need for immigration reform in some meaningful way before any such person is deported or otherwise punished. Clearly the system is screwed up if one got that far in the first place.

I don’t have any desire to delve into details of the program changes Obama has in mind, simply because I don’t have enough experience with such matters to judge how they are managed. I never emigrated and I haven’t done any job along that line. I do understand the concept of how illegal immigration can threaten and detriment a nation, though, and any responsible citizen has the right to speak to that topic. My initial reactions follow.

1.  The existence of “undocumented” aliens living gainful, community-based lives without having been deported already all but verifies the need for immigration reform, even if it takes an action like this to compel Congress out of indolence.  Firstly, the fact there are millions of “undocumented,” illegal immigrants represents an appalling lack of supervision on the part of regulating federal agencies who should notice such things—like the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS and other large agencies should be aware they are dealing directly with people who do not have the legal right to be here. When homes are purchased by such individuals, or taxes paid by them, someone should have noticed and deported these people long before Obama’s speech spared them.

Secondly, if there is ever a legal infraction of an illegal immigrant that makes it known the person incarcerated is not allowed to be here, barring some special case, I really don’t understand why that doesn’t lead to immediate deportation, anyway. If no such situation arose and people crossed the border, then continued to live on the grid by using credit cards and having long-term jobs, the fact no one managed to figure they were trespassers is simply incomprehensible. Are there not some sorts of background checking capable of learning this? There should be. Illegal immigrants grow paper trails like tax records, credit scores, and momentous acquisitions like houses and cars. When they are discovered, pending proof they have no extenuating circumstance preventing outright deportation, that undermines the entire reason for having an immigration approval policy at a federal level. Enforcement of law is meaningless if the agency of enforcement is inconsistent. Enforce it or change it.

2. Morally, any illegal immigrant who did manage to use benefits of the American citizen without having paid into the system should be liable to pay back the monetary equivalent. For that matter, any who enter illegally (or live here legally, for that matter) and are parasites to the community should be given every means to change that. If they refuse, they should be made to live somewhere they can contribute, or at least, not be an undue drain of resources. I don’t know of any cases where illegal immigrants used services designed for contributing citizens, but it could certainly have happened. This is the same rationale as if we pay into a system (like Social Security, especially since we have no option but to pay into it), we deserve full rights to use it.

The claim illegal immigrants use taxpayer services unrighteously—and this executive action only condoning it—is slightly irrelevant, if it is brought up. If such a case is discovered, make the person pay it back, deport him or her if it is not more detrimental to the broader situation to do so, and move on. I just wanted to point out no such situation should have significant bearing on the discussion of general reform. Let’s keep to the overarching thread.

3. If someone has come to the U. S. illegally because it was the only means to do so, and has proven to be no more dangerous to our republic than the majority of natural-born citizens, there is no just cause to withhold some measure of amnesty while deciding the federal government’s response. I don’t like the idea of hordes of foreigners coming here without any idea of who they are or what they bring with them (contagion, terrorism, a penchant for watching gossips like Wendy, is it?). I don’t like the idea of finding such a person and saying, “It’s alright, we like you now.” The fact is if someone trespassed to be here, there should be some kind of legal repercussions.

That said, though, millions of immigrants came illegally over the history of this country from all over the world. We must not let this become a veiled attack on Latino demographics because of some tacit bigotry. Most of our population is descended from those who disregarded federal statute in this way, and made the U. S. what it is now. Millions of illegal immigrants today and perhaps a majority, even from Spanish-speaking places like El Salvador and Mexico, are productive and positive members of communities, despite (or regardless of) their method of arrival. Most seem to have no alternative if they want a better life for themselves. If they don’t do more damage than those of us already here, let them make up for their trespass by taking a citizenship test and/or pay a fine. That should do well enough for them.

Deporting those who were children and not in real control of their illegal status should not be done unless keeping such people here is more damaging to the family unit and community. Deporting illegal immigrants who are parents to U. S. citizens should demand some sort of naturalization process but not necessarily deportation, either. At some level, the vast majority of American families started as immigrants. We should not adopt an elitist attitude about who gets in just because we got here before them. We European descendants weren’t even first, remember.

As such, the majority of illegal immigrants can be made citizens without deportation. The community parasites, legal or illegal, should be dealt with by any means necessary when elected legislatures fail to deal with the issue. If this does not lead to unconstitutional martial law or something just as dangerous to the framework of the Constitution, what’s the harm? The ones in “power” seem weak, detached, lazy or slow as a result, I know. That would be correct. It should be highlighted in such a case. I’m talking about you, Congress.

4. The process of immigration can be streamlined to permit more immigration without sacrificing security. I am not politically savvy, but I know how to work in a system, and any bureaucracy of the U. S. federal government can stand to be revised. I can’t imagine a reason comprehensive reform should take more than 500 days by one party to decide on how it should proceed, then have that party call the other’s leader childish for doing something to fulfill his unfinished promises. To any such Republican: hypocrite.

It should not be so difficult to make immigration easier for all those wanting to come here. If we accept it was permissible for our ancestors to come here in droves (barring population surplus like India, and the corresponding difficulty of resources for such populations), why not others now? The system should be made to facilitate the process better so it can at least have an idea of who is coming in, safely. Either that or it should acknowledge one of two things: a criminal lack of oversight pertaining to one of the system’s enumerated functions, or an unspoken policy of racial profiling against the predominant demographic trying to get here. We did that to the Chinese before, so I wonder if that is what Congress simply permits by sloth now, with regard to the Latino population today. That begs the question of whether Congress is simply too stupid to do its job or it is a nest of bigots, and they don’t have any desire to correct an outmoded system of immigration. That really is a tough question.

I don’t claim to know what precise guidelines should be implemented to make it easier for naturalization of foreigners, but I can’t agree with any argument against it if the majority of people trying to get here are doing so because they seek a better life. Until we realistically anticipate having too many people to feed, house, or provide services for, immigration should not be a means of racial or cultural insulation. We aren’t there yet. Even in such a case, any means to protect such a nation would be tenuous if republican institutions are at stake.

The state of U. S. immigration makes it unavoidable reform is necessary. It can bring millions of good and productive, though trespassing, immigrants into the fold, so to speak, without undue strain or deportation, and morally this is the best course. If Congress can’t or won’t act, the office of the President is bound by service for the public good to do something. That would mean he’s doing his job, as he can as the Chief Executive of the executive branch.

I just hope it doesn’t set a precedent subverting Constitutional rights. Frankly this is a bigger concern for me, since Obama’s administration has already asked to do that.

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From → commentary, politics

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