Since the Virginia legislature convened, there have been over 100 bills proposed in the first two days concerning immigrants. During his State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Kaine talked extensively about the growing issue of illegal immigration. The very mention of this topic is significant considering it was not mentioned once in his speech last year. However the Governor has also made it clear he believes immigration policy should be left mainly up to the federal government. The mention as well as the significant number of bills proposed seems to show the commitment on both sides of the aisle towards achieving a solution.
One of the bills would require proof of U.S. citizenship in order to obtain a driving license in Virginia, another that the exams be conducted in English and more still establishing English as the official language of Virginia. Some say these bills target immigrants who may be here legally, however others such as Del. Jackson H. Miller (R-Manassas), the sponsor of a few of the bills including a bill that calls for defendants to pay for language interpreters in court if convicted, said in the Washington Post that legal immigrants are not the target:
“They’re welcome. That is not what the issue is about,” he said. “The issue is about the rule of law and fairness.” Out of the estimated ten million illegal immigrants in the country somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 reside in Virginia. Some Bills do not target the immigrants directly but rather address problems that can stem from the escalating population, such as single family homes being used as boarding houses.
Other bills call for home buyers to prove they are in the country legally to qualify for a mortgage, a valid birth certificate to be shown before allowing students to enter public K-12 schools or college and denial of bail for illegal aliens in violent crimes. Some berate the unfairness of these bills calling them racist and unfair, warning us of the impending economic doom if we have the audacity to crack down on those who live in this country illegally. Is it racism to encourage people who are residents of this country to learn our language? And if we can encourage this by requiring that the test required for the privilege of a driver’s license be given in English is that racism? Does it not seem unreasonable that a bank would consider giving a mortgage to someone with so little respect for this country’s laws that they would enter and reside here illegally?
It is essential that we show that the laws of this country are to be respected. We need to put our money where our mouths are, by allocating funds for the police to have funds to crack down on these illegal aliens. The money that we may lose in the patronage of the local establishments will be outweighed by the decrease of the use of our local infrastructure—including the schools, hospitals and roads—by those who reside here illegally.
Leah Kieff is a freshman.
Illegal immigrants are infiltrating America’s borders as part of a master plan to take over the country, institute a Latino dictatorship, and send us back to their home countries to clean their toilets. Or so you might think if you pay any mind to the fear-mongering presidential candidates who choose to fill our political discourse with this nonsense. Politicians and media members have a curious habit of downplaying the most important issues while building up lesser ones into heated, divisive debates. Four years ago, it was gay marriage. This year immigration is the unnecessary wedge issue of choice.
Much of the demagoguery has centered around the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country right now. Some candidates like Romney, Huckabee, and Giuliani support immediately removing these invalids and sending them back to their home countries. Unfortunately, research has revealed that most are not in fact walking around with ‘Illegal Alien’ stamped on their forehead, making the logistics of such an operation a tad tricky (see: expensive). Believe it or not, many have settled into America with jobs, friends, and families. One does not actually need a social security number to have social connections or human emotions.
Still, John McCain receives sneers from his Republican comrades for having a little compassion and proposing a less drastic alternative. Mike Huckabee, with Jesus firmly perched on his right shoulder, disdainfully dismisses McCain’s ‘amnesty’ approach as soft, despite the Christian value of forgiveness it so clearly employs. So he and others continue to insist that McCain is not tough on immigration – ahhh, the greatest of all sins! In an unprecedented Biblical alteration, they are drafting the 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Treat Illegals Like Actual Aliens.
The immigration hawks seem to think jaywalking, public sodomy, and driving drunk are the favorite activities of these immigrants. Apparently, not a one of them has ever so much as opened the door for a lady, tipped his waitress, or even lifted a toilet seat—aside from cleaning one, obviously.
Of course, many pundits are trying to connect our current economic woes to illegal immigration. The evidence of this is, at best, a bit fuzzy. Illegals still pay property taxes, sales taxes, and in many cases income taxes. While contributing to Social Security funds, they will never see on the other end, which sadly could be true for younger American citizens as well. Research by unbiased parties remains difficult to find, but reliable economists have released studies arguing that illegal immigrants’ consumption provides a boom to the economy and their cheap labor drives down inflation. From an economic perspective, the immigration uproar reeks of protectionism, a backwards look at the world that serves a small constituency while hurting America and the world at large.
Perhaps before we kick all the illegals out, we should have those touting such a plan take their jobs for a day. Bill O’Reilly could don a hairnet and fry tater tots at an elementary school in Texas, and if he’s lucky, Lou Dobbs might score a gig replacing urinal cakes.
Amnestygate ’08 is the ultimate red herring. Even if they are a detriment to the economy, illegal immigrants are way down a long list of such problems and unworthy of the scapegoat status they have received. Blaming our current economic downfall on immigration would be like blaming the Titanic disaster on some musicians who wouldn’t throw their cellos overboard.
But alas, I’ve given this issue more time than it’s worth. In the course of history, illegal immigration is just another transient hot air balloon.
Edward Carver is a senior