|Blogs > intierzha > Until Further Notice|
I had not been keeping up with some of the news recently, but had noticed the protesting and walkouts here in the D/FW area by immigrant (mostly Hispanic) students over the new immigration legislation that is being pushed by the Congress. Originally, the legislation was meant to be quite harsh, but has been toned down some and I wonder if it is going to come to pass.
Basically, the new laws will make it a crime for illegal immigrants to be in this country. Before, if one was caught, it was simply deportation, now this legislation originally proposed criminal penalties plus deportation. Apparently, the fines/penalties have been left out thanks to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but what was left in is what happens to those who aid illegals. Mostly fines, but some could be pretty rough. So, because of this anti-immigrant, well anti-illegal immigrant legislation, protestations have been the result... mostly peaceful, but some pretty rowdy. The reason for the students protesting is because I believe the laws would require the students to have proof of residency(ie a resident visa/student visa or a green card) to go to school. I should point out I am only commenting on what I am hearing and am not making any value judgments until I see what the final legislation is. I will say the current system is not working and something must be done. Ironically, the dove in this is the President, who favors a type of amnesty, giving out guest worker/visa status to those illegals who are gainfully employed. I tend to agree more with the President on this, for I have seen in a supposedly more socially refined country what a strong anti-immigration policy creates.
Australia has an extremely strong policy toward illegals... so much so they will deport (and have deported) students for going over the number of hours they are allowed to work on their student visas. I have seen their 'camps' in New South Wales, Western Australia, and South Australia (and was even the guest of the one in New South Wales... who knew they would be fussy about me overstaying my visa by a week or so where they hold illegals like criminals, and in some cases worse. They also hold some for extended periods of time. I met a gentleman from Iran who had been held for almost 3 years. Admittedly, he was the exception, for he could not go back to Iran because he came to Australia originally as a refugee. The average stay at one of these camps is about a month, though because of the horrors I saw on the reports concerning the South Australia and Western Australia camps, a month was too long. In any event, I was out in a week, thanks to a timely phone call to my consulate, and a week was enough. Now, I may seem a little harsh to the Aussies, for they do have a fine country. Still, I find their supposed moral superiority rather distasteful after what I witnessed, saw and read.
So, one might say, what does this have to do with the U.S.? Well, stronger immigration laws can create this type of atmosphere and worse. Further, since we have almost 11 million illegal immigrants in this country alone (btw, that's half of Australia's population), one can see the gravity of trying to enforce such strong legislation.
In the end, I feel legislation is needed, for the government must be able to control to some extent who enters the country, if only for security measures. An 'Open Door' policy is not realistic anymore, no matter how it is rationalized morally and ethically. One has to be pragmatic, perhaps with a touch of idealism. My heart says we are all immigrants no matter where we come from, but that feeling must be tempered by some measure of law. The current plan is clearly unacceptable. I say give the President's plan a chance. This once, he may be the voice of reason.
Till the next crisis