The above quote by Richard Nixon in a speech he gave in November of 1973 to deny wrong doing in the Watergate affair came to my mind yesterday when I was watching coverage of the current immigration debate going on in the country.
I was struck by the literal absurdity of saying “illegal immigrants are not criminals.” On its face that statement is nonsense. If you violate a law you have committed a crime and are by definition a criminal. One can argue that perhaps the law is unjust. Or perhaps they shouldn’t be criminals but at present under the current law they are. Having said that I don’t mean to imply that any infraction of the most obscure law should brand you as a habitual criminal. However living in a country in violation of their immigration laws makes you a criminal on a daily basis until you either leave that country or find a way to legalize your existence there. Using the word illegal and the phrase “not a criminal” in the same sentence should give anyone with grasp of simple logic pause before uttering it.
The above argument dispatched in my mind I pondered the events of the day further. I kept reading about the “Guest Worker” program. Talking to my wife about that I blurted out: “Don’t we already have that?” She responded. “Yea, its called a green card.” The “Guest Worker” program that is being bandied about in the press and the halls of congress these days is a short term amnesty bill. It allows people already in the country to continue to work in the country legally for the next 6 years then requiring them to return home. One might wonder how we are going to enforce that if we can’t enforce the current laws that demand they return home immediately. Its a stall tactic against actually enforcing our immigration laws. No one in the administration wants to use the word amnesty but giving people six years to work legally after entering illegally is a short term amnesty bill that will lead to permanent amnesty for those workers. Does anyone actually believe that after 6 years a worker will be sent back?
The problem with not enforcing our immigration law is that it leaves the country open to people violating our boarders for far more insidious goals than just finding work. I fully support reforms and expansion of our immigration policy to allow foreign workers to come to this country and work. They must be registered, they must pay applicable taxes and obey the law though. If they can’t abide by those laws they need to be returned to their own country.
Having just returned to the country after a cruise with ports of call in Mexico I can tell you that our current immigration enforcement is spotty at best. When we entered the country at the port of Tampa the customs official barely looked at us or our declaration form and no one actually examined our photo ID’s to confirm we were who we claimed to be. The lack of attention to that sort of detail was a little insulting and very frightening.