Saturday, April 01, 2006

Images of the Immigration Debate

This photo has stuck in my craw since I saw it earlier in the week:

Apparently some high-schoolers in California did it to make a statement to Congress about proposed immigration reform legislation. I suspect this photo will do more to convince Americans the answer is to go hard on illegal immigrants than to give them a pass. The details of the story are over on Michelle Malkin's site.

Now I don’t think I am guilty of guilty of nationalistic and political idolatry here, although I know I do have that capacity in me. Gregory Boyd has some interesting insights about Christians in politics regarding that whole topic. My thinking was along those lines when I decided to steer away from politics in my ramblings here.

I realize there are flaws with my country. However I also know we live in a fallen world and I believe that our national system mitigates the flaws better than any others so far this side of eternity. A whole lot of people in the world agree with me because so many of them go to such extreme lengths to get here. Perhaps because I spent a few years in uniform I am a little sensitive toward our national symbols, especially our flag.

Nor am I anti-immigration. Gorgeous and I have an affinity toward foreigners. I suspect part of that may be a result of our being Yankees down here in the South.

Literally half of the guys in my office are foreign nationals. However they go through extraordinary lengths to work within our immigration system. And it is a painful process. For example they take days off work to overnight in Atlanta so they can be at the INS office first thing in the morning only to sit around all day waiting on the bureaucrats to take their finger prints every six months. I think they have a legitimate beef when they point out that their fingerprints don’t often change, so why take them so many multiple times?

Going through all the bureaucratic gyrations required to work within the system is especially galling for them when they see others flaunting their disregard for the law and getting away with it.

They, like me, don’t see that we have an immigration problem. We have an illegal immigration problem. Apparently there are somewhere between 10-15 million illegal aliens living in the US. That means they are pretty interwoven through the fabric of our society. We can’t simply round up all the illegals and ship them home without it adversely affecting our economy, perhaps significantly.

At the same token, we shouldn’t just pass a law that makes all the illegals here suddenly legal. The arguments for that run along the same lines as the ones for legalizing drugs. They pretty much boil down to something like this: Since law enforcement can’t seem to get a grip on the problem, therefore we should make it legal. I don’t agree with that. Just because something is hard sure doesn’t mean it is still the right thing to do.

The right answer to our current immigration issues is somewhere in between the two extremes. And I don’t have a clue what that right answer is.

Which brings me back to the photo above. To me the folks protesting about proposed immigration reforms are striking a rather persuasive tone. However I suspect they are pushing public opinion in the opposite direction from their apparent goals.

Degrading the primary symbol of the country you reside in illegally is not really the best way to persuade the citizens of that country to give you equal rights and status.

In case you might feel the flag thing was just the act of some impulsive immature high-school kids, take a look at these photos taken at the L.A protests:

Then again, maybe the goal of the protestors is not for equal status. Maybe they want to annex the Southwest and make it as impoverished as the country they left…

No comments: