I have been accused of “always having to be right” on a given issue. But, really, that’s only because I hold strong opinions on things I feel reasonably well-informed about. For instance, the war in Iraq was based on fraudulent “evidence.” I believed that in 2003, and I am vindicated in 2010 (way before that, but save that discussion for another day).
But an area I really DON’T feel qualified to offer a strong opinion on is what to do about the illegal immigrant situation unfolding in Arizona and on the national scene.
I don’t live in Arizona, don’t really know the lay of the land, politically or otherwise. We have seen a an influx of Mexican and perhaps a few other Latino immigrants in pockets of Ohio, but nothing on the scale (or longevity) of California, Texas, Florida or Arizona.
I hear anecdotal reports of illegals being involved in violent crime, of stealing jobs from Americans (but, really, when was the last time you stood at a street corner all day waiting for the opportunity to pick lettuce or shovel mulch in the baking sun?).
You see a few shaggy (mostly white, a few black) guys with hand-made signs begging for a job or a handout at local freeway exits. I think to myself, That could be me with a few turns of bad luck/stupid moves.
So now the federal guvmint is suing Arizona to block the illegal immigrant law recently passed in Arizona. In essence (we’re told) the Arizona law copies what is on the federal books, with the stated difference being that Arizona intends to enforce the law more stringently. Gonna crack some illegal skulls, send ’em back to Mehico!
I hear and read that with the Great Recession, the illegal immigrant situation is much less noticeable than before. The jobs they poured over the lightly patrolled border to get have largely evaporated and have yet to really return. No jobs, no illegals. Or at least fewer of ’em.
Maybe with this economic downturn and the dramatic shrinkage of certain industries (auto, manufacturing in general, newspapers and other media/advertising), Americans are becoming a little less picky about what sort of work puts food on the table. I’ve taken some real crap jobs since getting laid off at the Akron Beacon Journal in 2006. A crap job beats sitting around doing nothing (well, most of the time).
Hard-liners on one side of the argument shout that they’re ILLEGAL, after all, which means they’re breaking the law! True, but in the same sense that your second copy of the latest CD/iTunes is kind of illegal too. Or that rolling stop you took at the intersection when nobody was looking. Or that extra grape you pinched at the grocery store. Or the office supplies you smuggled home or the phantom deduction in your income tax returns.
The defense argues that illegal immigrants are simply folks trying to support a family and pursue the American Dream.
But I hear many immigrants, or second- and third-generation immigrants, who say they played by the rules and they expect the current immigrants to do the same.
Amnesty. Yes? No?
I really don’t know what the answer is.
But I’m looking into it … Can I get back to you?