Immigration & the Storm Next Time


Chapel at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Last week, I was in Brooklyn taping a few episodes of In the Arena, and one of the drivers, taking a route that brought us past The Green-Wood Cemetery, reminisced about Park Slope, where he had lived all his life.

“We were working class, then. Our fathers were train conductors and shoe salesmen. No, we’d never be able to afford to live here. We’d cut through Prospect Park to Ebbets Field to watch the Dodgers. In the summer, they’d close off four city blocks to create a play area for us kids. I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything. I am glad I grew up back then, because no one seems as happy now. It’s all gone.”

The man was not depressed about it. He was simply noting that the world has changed and will continue to change, and -as with nature- we either adapt or die. Evolution is a slow thing, but sometimes things are changed in an instant, in “the blink of an eye.”

What got me thinking about the driver is a piece by Neoneocon, who wrote of feeling a bit antsy over the stillness (or perhaps sluggishness is a better word) of the news; her sense of the whole world holding its breath for the next big storm:

We have come to expect lies, so that now when we hear “we have the votes” or “we lack the votes,” one means about the same as the other and neither can be trusted. For the most part, our press is no more help to us than Pravda was to the Soviets. We have come to understand that the idea of bipartisan compromise has died a lingering and painful death . . .We assume that the cure will be worse than the disease. We expect that the bills will be rushed through without proper debate and enacted at the stroke of midnight, like evil spells in a fairy tale. We are no longer surprised at the depth and breadth of the corrupt and shady behind-the-scenes deals involved. We know the legislations will be lengthy and complex. We do not think our representatives possess the intelligence to even understand the bills they pass—that is, if they bother to read them at all—and either do not appreciate their negative consequences or actually intend them to do us harm. We know that, just when we think we’ve driven a fatal stake into the heart of an unpopular bill, it rises and staggers forward to attack us.

…these are not passing storms, either—we predict that they are likely to do permanent and perhaps irreparable damage to important structures that have remained in place for centuries.

We scan the skies, and we wait.

I read that yesterday and then, of course, read this and this, and this, this and this today.

All of it validates what Neo writes.

I told Neo that her musings -her sense of a hellacious storm moving slowly toward us is in-line with what some of my Evangelical (and a few Catholic) readers are expressing to me in emails, although they have a scriptural stake in it.

The only thing I am certain of right now is that what we knew of America before 2008 is not what we will know of America by 2012. I know that nothing is ever going to be what it was, and those on the right who think “if we can just get the right people in office, then everything will go back to normal,” are deluding themselves.

Narratives do not go backwards, and we are in a full thrust narrative progression right now. It may well require us to disenthrall ourselves of some notions in order to reassess, realign and regroup.

That is sort of what is happening, right now, throughout the political spectrum. The right has its tea party – a genuine grassroots movement. On the left the head of the SEIU is talking about redirecting the union away from politics and the American President is signaling a divisive strategy is his preference.

Nothing is static. Everything is in flux.

Meanwhile the Democrats and the press (if I am not redundant) understand how well they played the immigration card in 2006 -getting the right all hopped up in May to reap the rewards in November- and so they will be repeating that gambit – manufacturing parades and outrage once again, as they did before. The charges of “racist nazis” will fly; the press will fan the flames, and the situation will become toxic.

I expect that the right -which has done a very good job of ignoring deliberate provocation up to now- will end up losing its composure in this debate, and once that happens, once they let fly with their passions, they will be defeated. The nation may well get behind these new laws but it will not get behind a movement that they perceive to be hysterical, and that is how the right -with the help of multimedia and a few predictable extremists- will be perceived.

In 2006 the right responded to the immigration street theater (mostly organized by A.N.S.W.E.R) with an extreme notion that involved somehow “shipping all illegals back” and rejecting any-and-all plans that included a grandfathering-in of citizens, or what they referred to as “shamnesty.” Demanding a sudden and perfect solution to the problem after 30 years of relative neglect, the right chose doing nothing at all over compromising with President Bush, and so now the issue is still alive, still a potent election tool, and it is in the hands of an opposition that has already proved itself to be ruthlessly willing to do whatever it takes to win, and wholly disinterested in what polls may say.

The political right is not wrong to be concerned about the illegal immigration issue. And it has some valid points to make. But it rather squandered its opportunity to do something comprehensive four years ago. I doubt very much that anything that passes through congress at this point will make the right happy.

So, yes, Neo is correctly sensing a calm before a storm, I think. And this storm is going to be very destructive, indeed.

Let us consider, then this short lesson from Abbess Maria-Michael Newe, OSB, of St. Walburga’s Abbey in Colorado. She doesn’t harangue, but she gives food for thought:

When something is taken, why do we cling to it? Why do we identify with something so much that we would be angry if it were taken from us? Sometimes the things you hang on to the tightest are the very things you should get rid of first; because they’re the very things that tie your heart down. They keep you from seeking God because you spend so much time protecting those things or identifying with them instead of identifying with the Cross.

I think one of the most precious things we have is our opinion. Sometimes we even have to give that to God and let Him dispose of it. We need to be able to give everything to God. Take notice of the things that ruffle you a little. Notice the things that your heart is entwined around. If it’s not the Cross it’s not of God. If we purify our heart we won’t be rooted in the earth, we’ll be rooted in Heaven.

Why do I have the feeling that our abbeys are going to -once again, as they have before- multiply in number, gain in member and become beacons of light and sanity in our teeming world.

Allow me to unravel a spool here, even though some may find it objectionable.

I fear that over the past decade ideology has become an idol for many, that the distinction between what is sacred and what is holy is being ignored. I can’t help but wonder about that. If the world is being inexorably moved toward a certain destiny, and if Christians are supposedly on board with that destiny, then the attempt on the right to put the brakes on things, and “go back” to the way things were seems like cognitive dissonance, doesn’t it?

It makes sense that in order for things to happen other things have to happen; not necessarily things we like to see. But then we are called on to walk by faith, not by sight, to keep our eyes on the prize. And the prize is not this world; it is not of this world, either.

My email is full of missives from people who declare that we are “living in end times, hallelujah, Come Lord Jesus,” and who, in the next paragraph write about restoring America and defeating “the enemy.”

I don’t see how you can have it both ways. But if you believe we are in “end times,” then perhaps your concerns should be more in line with serving others, spreading the Good News and preparing the soul, rather than wringing the hands over the next big storm and declaring: “this far and no more.”

A life in Christ cannot have limits. There can be no limits, not in our understanding, not in our ability to consider a thing, not in our willingness to be open.

Perhaps this is a challenge for us Christians. Rubber-meets-the-road time. No one knows the day or hour, but we must be prepared. Do you believe the things you say you believe, and if so, are you willing to put away the idol of ideology in order to cling to and carry, instead, to the cross of Christ, which we are promised?

America is my beloved country and I hold her constitution and her promise as something sacred; but sacred is not holy. I do not want to miss the holy, or be unprepared for it, because I have become distracted. To that end, I’ve pulled away from feasting on politics and have resumed volunteering at a local hospital.

I write this not to be argumentative, or to indict anyone – and let me just head some of you off the at the pass and declare that I am not saying “just throw America away!” (come on, you know you were ready to accuse me of exactly that). I am not saying “just lay down and surrender.” But I am saying this: understand that to some extent, things must happen in order for other things to happen, and that this world is a pit-stop, not a destination. We cannot forget that. Where you heart is, that is your treasure. I am embracing exile; I don’t want to tie my treasure to anything earthbound.

And for those of you who can’t wait to tell me I am “no conservative” or call me a RINO or CINO, I say save yer breath for yer porridge. I’ve always told you I am neither Republican nor conservative. I belong to Christ first, not to a party, not to an ideology.

If we’re going to say “Come, Lord Jesus,” we can’t simultaneously say “stop – stop the narrative from moving forward!”

Call this a compass check. There is a destination; we are en route to it, and we’ve been told all along that the road would be rough.

If Neoneocon is correct, and we are in a lull before a storm, perhaps the very best thing we can all do is pull over, get a little bit quiet, and pray. That may be the best way to “reload,” before moving on.

Related:
Why not an “Ellis Island West”?
Jonah Goldberg
Jack Cafferty
Ace
Robinson
Rubio
Lowry

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Jeff

    I’m with Manny. I have great sympathy for the impoverished Mexicans who flee here (not the criminals, the reconquistas, and cartel elements of course), but we have to enforce our borders or we’re no longer a country. Ask yourself how long you think France or Switzerland would allow you or me to stay in there country illegally. Not very long.

  • Rand Careaga

    @admin (#45): If you’re going to appeal to history, conquest and longevity, then the Russians are far more entitled to Georgia and the Ukraine than the USA is to California (or for that matter Israel to Palestine). Any claim to the Czech Republic would have to involve a march through NATO territory, which would seem inadvisable to any rational actor.

    [Seems to me that when a nation has won its freedom, then regardless of what "history" says, the nation is its own. If another nation then comes in and says, "we had you once before, so we deserve to have you again," and they conquer it, well, that's what happens. But to say Russian has some "entitlement" to any of those countries is really screwed up. Nevertheless, Rand, historically, the way lands are acquired and kept have been through conquest or war. You cannot charge America with having done something untoward with California. -admin]

  • Rand Careaga

    @admin(#48 meta): Rhinestone has never struck me as a raving racist, and I think it’s unfair of you to throw that line out, willynilly

    He’s not a raving racist. But he describes the immigrants as (I’m hoping that the HTML blockquote tags work here, and that “First Things will eventually introduce a “preview” option for the comments):

    If it isn’t our nation state that takes over, it may well be the La Raza, “The race”, nation state; or some sort of feudal nation state. Or a criminal syndicate state, like the ones now actually running Mexico.

    –which suggests a certain, ah, insensitivity on this subject.

  • Sarah

    I agree with all you say, in both my intellect & heart, but it is very hard to relax & trust when the path we are on is so similar to historical paths that have led to re-education & death camps, neighbors spying on & betraying each other to the all-powerful state…I have 5 small children and would give anything for things to “go back to they way they were” for their sakes, not mine. But God’s will be done.

  • Rand Careaga

    @admin(#52):

    You cannot charge America with having done something untoward with California.

    I most certainly can, but as the first member of my immediate family to have been born here I’m prepared to forgive the raw young republic its early trespasses. This state–even Los Angeles, where I was born and raised and lived until I attained my full growth, whereupon I fled to its other major metropolis–is a firking paradise, and I’m happy that it was US territory when my parents (who met and married in Mexico City) moved here in 1951.

    ["I'm prepared to forgive the raw young republic its early trespasses." How benevolent of you. I am sure America is heaving a grateful sigh of relief over that! (smile) -admin]

  • Johnny Domer

    Politically speaking, I think this is a misleading narrative of the ’06 elections, that the Republicans lost at least in part because of the immigration stance of those on the right. We are forgetting The Iraq War, which was at its height of unpopularity at the time. Bush’s unpopularity, and the Republicans’ unpopularity along with it, stemmed from that, not the immigration stuff, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. I’m guessing anything could have happened on the immigration front and the Republicans still would have gotten whooped. I guess I don’t have any polls immediately in front of me, but I had thought that most of the public was really opposed to the amnesty bill then proposed, and that was largely why it was defeated.

    Yes, a lot of illegals are here because of overstayed Visas and are just honestly trying to scratch out a living, but something like 10% of illegals commit crimes while in the US (other than the crimes of coming into the country illegally or overstaying visas). I think something like 25% of all prisoners in CA jails are illegals; plus, they are the absolute lifeblood of the illegal drug industry. There is no sale of an illegal drug in which an illegal alien was not involved at some point, whether it be in selling the drug, distributing the drug, getting it over the border, or what have you. All of those folks committing crimes

    With this in mind, I think we can understand that much of the hardline approach to illegal immigration by those on the right, particularly right-wingers in the southwest (like myself), has a somewhat-understandable element to it, even if you think it is misguided and wrong. A lot of these illegal aliens come here and harm people, break the law, and make our communities less safe, and they really have no business being here in the first place. We want our laws enforced, and we want people who break them out. Sometimes people don’t make distinctions between “good illegals” and “bad illegals,” but there you have it. I think this was in large part what motivated the Arizona law; 20 percent of crimes in Maricopa County were committed by illegal aliens, who comprise around 9% of the population. I know you, Anchoress, haven’t accused us of this, but this is particularly why I hate the contention that those who take a hard line on immigration reform are racists. It’s not about race, it’s about being concerned for the welfare of our communities and families.

    I think there are ways of dealing with the immigration problem beyond rounding up all 20 million or so illegals (specifically, stricter enforcement of laws prohibiting employers from hiring them, coupled with aggressive deportation of certain more harmful groups of illegals whose deportation would in no way be inhumane), but I don’t think simply “grandfathering in” people is quite the right solution. For one thing, it’s hard to tell the good eggs whose deportation would be inhumane (who have established families, worked for years and years, maybe just overstayed their visas because INS is so inept) from those who are not.

    Who falls into this latter group? First, there are a ton of illegal immigrants who are single, and who are in this country on their own, without family. I personally have no qualms about deporting most of this group, as they have no legal right to be in the country, they haven’t established deep roots here for years and years, and there would be no harm to families done by their deportation; these individuals comprise around 48% of the illegal fold. Further, around 1/3 of married illegal Mexican immigrants are here by themselves, with their family back in Mexico. Those guys could go back too, I think. Of course, we still face the practical realities of how to get all those folks back even if we decided we wanted to do so.

    Your commentary on the state of the INS has been revealing to me, however. I think you are right that it has to be reformed, and that it is much to blame for the problems we’ve had with immigration.

  • Jeff

    Rand we’ll forgive you for the audacity of that comment. If Mexico still controlled California (and of course it never really did (much in the way it doesn’t really have control of the drug violence going on in its cities)), there would be no Golden Gate Bridge, or most everything else that makes it wonderful. And Americans are the ones who built it up from the ground, thank you very much.

  • Rand Careaga

    @admin (#55):

    How benevolent of you. I am sure America is heaving a grateful sigh of relief over that!

    Thank you very much; I’ll be here all week.

  • Rand Careaga

    @Jeff: Your forgiveness means less than me than I can say.

  • Rand Careaga

    But seriously, Jeff:

    If Mexico still controlled California… there would be no Golden Gate Bridge

    Do you really believe that, old son? If we greasers had retained title to California it would never have occurred to us to span the gap between San Francisco and Marin, is that right?

  • kt

    ” I’ve written for years that a practical solution would mean establishing guidelines of who stays and who goes back. ”

    we already have guidelines. They’re called immigration laws. Shocking though it may be, some foreigners actually pay attention to them and abide by them. I’m sorry you think my recitation of facts is “angry noise” … as opposed to your vague suggestions about “guidelines” for those who “work hard” and are “peaceable” and “learn the language” to stay (who determines all of the above, btw? and how is it determined)?

    [What are your "real" solutions, again? I don't think I heard them. The states could determine who "stays and goes" on their own. Perhaps a five year residency w/ employment and esl would be a factor. But please, all of my "vague" suggestions can be worked out, should they be adopted. You keep saying "abide by the laws." Fine. Please tell me how you will do that, beginning with the "ship them all back" part. I really don't mind waiting for the answer. -admin]

  • http://none M Conway

    Let’s say we grandfather in all the good illegals and send back all the bad illegals. Who will decide who are the good ones? How many will come forward to be judged good or bad? Since we do not want to break up families, what do we do with the bad father and the good mother and her 10 good children? Or the bad father, semi-good mother and the 5 good and 5 bad children? What about the illegl, dependent uncles, cousins etc. all living in the same house, all good but dependent on the bad mother and father of the 10 children? etc. etc.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Actually, Rand, Mexico was never all that interested in California. The land was parceled out into large ranchos, which many owners really had little interest in, preferring to sell them to Yankee investors.

    Playing the “ravening racist” card is tacky, old son; it’s also a very clumsy way of dodging the debate.

    I was talking about history, and history pretty clearly shows that when one form of government goes—in this case, the nation state—another system usually takes its place. You’re looking forward to the dissolution of nations, but I was pointing out that this is not, necessarily, a good thing. You might not like what replaces the nation state of America. Mexico, as it is today, is a nation with serious problems, and its dysfunction has been spreading north of the border; it isn’t racist to point this out, and ignoring this fact isn’t going to help anyone, least of all those Mexicans who want, and deserve, a better life.

    Tribalism, some sort of feudal system, where a strong man of whatever nationality takes charge, or anarchy are all possibilities when nations collapse. Also, the fact that, in such a weakened state, foreign powers might come in, and take over. That was my point; that the collapse of nations, and borders, might not be quite the good thing you seem to think.

    (But go ahead and play the racist card, if it makes you feel better.)

  • Kirstin

    [Okay. Please define how you will "do things RIGHT." Would be very interested in hearing your ideas. If they start with "First, ship them all back," please explain how you will do that, and do it "RIGHT." -admin]

    We should take first things first, as many people have been telling the government for years. And that is to secure our borders. Thereafter, we must thoroughly examine our options concerning people already within our borders who are here illegally.

    And no, I would not recommend shipping them all back. That would be a foolish economic recommendation. If appropriate employer prohibitions shut off jobs to illegal aliens, they would not need to be shipped back; they would go home on their own due to a lack of the opportunities they came here for in the first place. Again, this is a well-discussed idea.

    I’m not going to reinvent the wheel. There have been solid non-amnesty immigration reform proposals around for a long time. Here are a few links with thoughful plans and informative articles that can help clarify a conservative immigration stance:

    link

    link

    link

    link

    link

    [Edited to embed links. When you try to post a comment that has unembedded url's it will be thrown into the spam filter, because the site thinks it is spam. Please see this helpful tutorial on how to make links. It's easy. If I can do it, anyone can! -admin]

  • Jeff

    Mexico is a freak show, let’s be honest. The cartels are out of control, corruption is and always has been rampant, and it has one of the worst histories of anti-catholicism on the planet. Ask Father Miguel Pro, S.J. I have no sympathy for it as a country.

  • James

    I agree with much of the article, but I am not sure the right will come unhinged. The Tea Parties have been quite effective so far. A few Hispanics were at three Omaha Tea Parties. Many of the ones I know have conservative social values and would make good allies in future political battles as they financially better themselves.

    I worry about the rest of the country as implications of life changing legislation become known and felt.

    The United States has a history of politically and economically inspired violence, and I am afraid it is where we are headed again as chickens come home to roost. Much of the violence associated with Ruby Ridge, the survivalist movement, the Branch Davidians was indirectly related to the farm recession of the 1970′s and 1980′s.

    My contempt for some of our leaders and their supporters is strong because they are of the same generation who mistreated we returning Vietnam era veterans. Our family intends to stay out of their way. We have protected ourselves as much as possible on a farm in a rural backwater. We can raise our own food and fuel, the locals know how to barter, and we live frugally as we watch the old order crumble. As Bob Dylan sang “The Times They are a Changing.”

  • kt

    “Please tell me how you will do that, beginning with the “ship them all back” part.”

    arrest them. hold them. send them back. start today. continue until finished.

    would you like me how to explain how to eat a bowl of cereal next?

    [Really? Just "arrest" them. Who takes care of their American-born kids? "Hold them." Where? Our prisons are already overcrowded. "Send them back." How? Big trains, at gunpoint? Think they'll be as obedient as the Jews in Poland? I like oatmeal, thanks. ;-) -admin]

  • Brian English

    “The military is trained in and designed for engaging in warfare, and you can be sure that the rules of engagement would not allow them to act like the military. They would, instead, be forced to be merely a toothless show, like UN peacekeepers, or worse, they would be made to act like police or border agents, neither of which they are trained to do, nor should they do.”

    Well, I am operating under the assumption that an administration that had the guts to put the troops on the border would not have them just standing around and enjoying the weather.

    This idea that all the military can do is “kill people and break things” is really outdated. In Iraq they acted as police, public works departments, education departments, sanitation departments, health departments, etc.

    Troops are certainly capable of taking people into custody, transporting them to official border crossings, and sending them back to Mexico. If people resist, that is what flex-cuffs are for. If someone points a gun at them, I think word would get around pretty quickly that that is an extremely bad idea.

    Beyond all of the the practical benefits of having troops guarding the border, do you really think that the knowledge that a line of military bases (with frequent attack-copter overflights for effect) would not substantially reduce the numbers of those trying to cross the border?

    If the border was shut down like this, I say give amnesty to everyone who is here already (except for anyone in prison — once they serve their sentence they go back) and then base immigration on what people can offer to the country.

  • Brian English

    Getting back to what the actual topic of this post was, I was reading B16′s book, The Fathers, this morning and came across something applicable to the original topic.

    In the chapter on St. Maximus of Turin, Benedict quotes from the Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes: “The Council exhorts the faithful ‘to perform their duties faithfully in the spirit of the Gospel. It is a mistake to think that, because we have here no lasting city, but seek the city which is to come, we are entitled to shirk our earthly responsibilities; this is to forget that by our faith we are bound all the more to fulfill these responsibilities according to the vocation of each one.’”

    [You are clever! ;-) -admin]

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com jh

    What is going to happen to the kids that are American of all these folks that are deported? Who is going to take care of them?

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com jh

    A further thought on this

    Who will get the best Oscar performance in their roles. The right rf the left? Both are playing their roles to a TEE.

    These are the facts
    We know and have knon for some time there will be no immigration bill this year

    We know that Obama helped kill immigration reform in 2007

    We know that Obama’s Chief of Staff has been very cool to the idea of immigration reform which has inflamed immigration advocates

    We know there has been rising anger with Obama over the immigration issue from Immigration Advocates including that deportations are going ahead full speed

    We know that Obama has suffered from the Health care debate

    To the rescue is the AZ State legislature which has produced a Law that will be tied up in the Federal Courts for some time no doubt

    So Obama gets to fool again the folks on the left. On the right we see people trying to make Obama a friend of illegal aliens.

    We are no longer discussing the Health Care bill

    Obama gets the fact that he does not have the votes to get his Cap and Trade bill passed

    Oh and yes it gives an opportunity for moderate democrats that went out on a limb and voted for the Health Care bill a chance to do a public vocal stance against their President on immigration to appease certain factions and thus recover some votes.

    Elements on the right will play their part with some not helpful rhetoric that will inflame Latinos.

    WIN WIN WIN all over something that is going no where this year or next year.

    [Yes, it's one of the first things I said about this whole issue: it's an election year bit of theater meant to divide and conquer the right, as it did in 2006. -admin]

  • Doc

    Wow…very hot thread. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Anchoress so defensive. Funny, though, she is so much more gentle in her rebukes of Rand’s vile charges of racism than she is in her responses to polite challenges to her assumptions about conservative responses to illegal immigration.

    Breaking up families concerns you. Does deporting Junior, the new gang member count as breaking up an immigrant family? Does Mama and Papa insisting that their Junior is a good boy who would never hurt anyone count for more than the loss of the American boy Junior killed or American girl he raped in order to gain initiation into his gang? This is common, you know. Gang initiations often involve the committing of a violent crime, in order for the new member to prove himself.

    Regarding 2006, I think you’ve oversold the impact of the failure of comprehensive immigration reform to the Republican loss of Congress. Pre-surge Iraq looked bleak. Abu-Graib damaged Bush and Rumsfeld (Bush should have accepted his resignation in 2004 or 2005). Republican spending caused conservatives to give up on them, as they failed to distinguish themselves from big-spending Democrats. Mark Foley and Duke Cunningham became poster-boys of Republican corruption and hypocrisy (thanks in part to the corporate media who took Pelosi’s talking points and carried them for the Democrats).

    One last thing, I’ve heard no arguement explaining how comprehensive immigration reform is a good thing that could actually work, given Washington’s desire that it not actually stem illegal immigration.

  • JuliB

    As I looked back at the topic, it appears that immigration is not the main thrust of the topic.

    I agree with you at a high level, Anchoress, that we must cling to the cross, and not to the past. Things actually might get better in certain respects. Or not – if it’s God’s will.

    Ideology as idolatry? Definitely a risk. As a revert from atheism, I struggle with aligning my political views with my Christian views. It’s a struggle given that I am a right-wing libertarian (who votes R for the most part)!

    But God must come first.

    [Thank you, Juli, you are quite correct. The piece is not really ABOUT immigration. But the fact that this BECAME a fight about immigration sort of makes my point about the passions surrounding the issue, etc -admin]

  • http://www.opinionatedcatholic.blogspot.com jh

    “Breaking up families concerns you. Does deporting Junior, the new gang member count as breaking up an immigrant family? Does Mama and Papa insisting that their Junior is a good boy who would never hurt anyone count for more than the loss of the American boy Junior killed or American girl he raped in order to gain initiation into his gang? This is common, you know. Gang initiations often involve the committing of a violent crime, in order for the new member to prove himself.”

    Under comprehensive immigration reform people convicted of violent felonies would have been deported. At least we could have focused on them instead of hotel maids

  • Jeff

    They are supposed to be deported under existing law. They have no right to be here. We don’t need to “reform” our entry process. Check out Michelle Malkin’s column today on how Mexico treats illegals in their own country. “Hipocritas” is the right word. The democrat party, in its obvious attempt to secure permanent majorities in both houses of Congress by eventually legalizing 12 million illegals (who they perceive will vote democrat) have allowed American citizens to be brutalized by Mexican gang members, MS-13 comes to mind, and the list of their atrocities is beyond belief.

  • kt

    Anchoress, to quote Tom Cruise, you are glib. get serious. learn something about how this country has operated and survived. until then, maybe stop parrotting the NY Times about how impossible and inhumane it would be to deport people.

    in the meantime, I am going to support the only party that will even give lip service to the idea of principles, of a nation ruled by law and not men. I am going to support the only party that think laws mean something.

    If you don’t realize that laws are precisely “guidelines”, arrived at through deliberation and due process, without regard to race or class of those affected, then you are glib.

    [I'm glib? You write, "arrest them, hold them, ship them back," and I am glib? We'll have to agree to disagree, because clearly you and I are not communicating well, and it's just deteriorating, now. -admin]

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    You cannot charge America with having done something untoward with California.

    Of course you can. It was one of the most unjust wars ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation … in the desire to acquire additional territory.

  • kt

    btw, there is no comparison between deportation of illegals and deportation of Polish Jews. SHAME ON YOU.

    [Okay, shame on me. Don't change the subject, please? How will you do it? How will you gather up and ship back 12-15 million Mexicans (that's who we're talking about, right?) millions of whom have children who are citizens, and will not want to go, without guns or some sort of threat to get them in line? -admin]

  • kt

    we have always deported people with guns. and handcuffs. (ooh, scary, right?) it’s called “enforcing the law”. i hate to tell you this, but your local cop CARRIES A GUN. am i blowing your mind?

    start deporting and they will go on their own. start punishing those who hire them over American citizens, and they won’t get jobs, and they will go on their own. it’s a set of incentives. it’s a process. It’s a fair process that has been thought out. It’s fair to my former babysitter who got her citizenship despite great difficulties with the language, after agonizing over the test and taking it multiple times. It’s fair to laborers who want to make a fair wage and live in a bedroom with less than 7 other people.

  • Jeff

    Build the Fence.

  • Kirstin

    Anchoress: Thanks for the info about how links work here. I didn’t mean to make more work for you. :)

    But if you haven’t read those links, I hope you will.

  • Doc

    jh, I would rather the police be able to deport an illegal gang member before the violent felony gets committed. Waiting for a conviction is even worse, as by that time it’s likely that multiple violent felonies have been committed.

    Anchoress, the reason this topic has drawn the bulk of the comments is because your assertions on illegal immigration were the most controversial and questionable in the piece.

  • James

    As Jeff writes, build the fence. We should also punish businesses who hire illegal immigrants. We must deport as many as we can before they establish themselves here. The Arizona law is a good start, if only to get the federal government’s attention and to show our politicians voters want a change.

    Raids on several businesses in our area prompted citizens to take the abandoned jobs. Reserving jobs for legals will help reduce our unemployment rate because contrary to propaganda, citizens will take the jobs “no one will do.”

    I think many of the illegals already here would become good citizens, and I oppose wholesale deportation of such a large number of people. However, they should jump through the same hoops others do when they follow the rules.

    I agree with JuliB. Ideology can and does become idolatry.

  • http://www.piousladies.org Rae Stabosz

    I just want to say, “Thank you, Anchoress, for this post. This is why I read you – you are an oasis of ongoing sanity in a world gone mad.”

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