Thursday, February 22, 2007

La Migra

Recent ICE raids against illegal aliens have been reported by various media outlets, but most reporting I have seen seems to focus on the "fears" of the targeted group and sympathy for their plight. While it is human decency to feel sympathetic with the plight of other human beings, this focus is misguided.

The debate, preferably lead by the media, should be about how to enforce existing laws in a nation based on laws. It seems to have become fashionable to expect enforcement of some laws, but not others, depending on political correctness or individual preferences. As citizens in a free society we always have the option of having our elected officials change these laws. Meanwhile, it is our responsibility as citizens to obey our laws and demand of our law enforcement organizations that they be enforced, equally and uniformly.

Rather than focusing primarily on the fact that illegal aliens are subject to law enforcement, I would like to see a number of relevant issues reported on and debated as well: since many illegals affected are from Mexico, how do we convince the Mexican government to start creating a society and economy conducive to keeping its citizens happily at home, with their families? What services to tax-paying citizens, such as our seniors, are suffering as a result of services extended to those not entitled to them? How are local governments' budgets affected by the presence of illegals? And can we really afford not to enforce our laws against illegal immigration in this era of budget constraints?

A related argument occasionally debated in this context is the issue of cultural identity and language. As a LEGAL immigrant I feel particularly strongly about this. There should be no question that someone choosing to come to the USA should be prepared to become functional in the language of the country. Being competent in English is one of the prerequisites for success in a capitalist society; without good English skills an immigrant will never be competitive in the job market. This is a reality and if that is not acceptable, nobody is forced to come here. And causing citizens in some states to have to function in Spanish just to be able to communicate with some public employees is unacceptable.

Same goes for cultural identity. This country does not force anyone to abandon their cultural heritage, but rightly expects its immigrants to become part of society, rather than remaining separate, and in some cases, hostile. Again, if that is not acceptable, nobody is forced to come here.

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