In or Out

…and shut the door because we’re not sure we want any more…

“I cannot omit recommending a revisal of the laws on the subject of naturalization. Considering the ordinary chances of human life, a denial of citizenship under a residence of fourteen years is a denial to a great proportion of those who ask it, and controls a policy pursued from their first settlement by many of these States, and still believed of consequence to their prosperity. And shall we refuse the unhappy fugitives from distress that hospitality which the savages of the wilderness extended to our fathers arriving in this land? Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this globe? …might not the general character and capabilities of a citizen be safely communicated to every one manifesting a bona fide purpose of embarking his life and fortunes permanently with us?”

~Thomas Jefferson, First Annual Message to Congress, 08 December 1801

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While I’m certainly no Jefferson, I also cannot omit recommending a revisal of our immigration laws. It’s getting a touch too ridiculous out there in the stratosphere. Really, what’s the point? Who wants to round up all the undocumented immigrants to this nation and process them and ship them back to their nation of origin? How far back do we go to decide who is and who isn’t undocumented? I mean seriously, if your ancestors came over on the Mayflower, and just set up shop on some Native American land, here’s a hint ~ that’s not what one would call “legal” immigration. If your ancestors showed up illegally during the great Irish immigration waves, are you grandfathered in? Because many of those people came here without papers too. I mean, really, where are we drawing the line? Is it just people who come from Latin American, Spanish-speaking countries that have to show their papers? How far back? Maybe it’s just me, but the whole entire nation, less some long-standing Indian tribes, is immigrants. And of those immigrants, maybe 15% have been through the traditional legally defined process (which by the way is insane and complicated and a tad racist). There is a long-standing saying that people who are standing in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Guess what – America is actually a giant glass house. Before we start tossing people out, we should probably factor that into the equation.

All that is not to say that I believe the Founding Fathers intended a free-for-all or people having to cross the borders in the most inhumane and dangerous ways I can come up with in my spare time (not that I have much). But seriously, has anyone blasting the airwaves on this issue really sat down and thought that gee maybe people wouldn’t risk their lives crossing a giant desert to get here if there was, you know, a reasonable way for them to come into this country legitimately. I mean honestly, when was the last time you thought that throwing yourself over barbed-wire fences seemed like the best route to anything. That’s some hard-core belief in that being the best option for these people to get here. So we think the solution is making it harder to get here? Because here’s a hint: it’s obviously not working. We have already made it hard. They’re still coming. It’s kind of like zombies; they aren’t ever really going to stop. So maybe it’s time to tone down the rhetoric and work on a real solution.

 

Res Publica

PS (I am not even going to get into the entire middle swath of the country that is virtually empty, so I’m not exactly sure why everyone is so worried that there’s not enough room here…just saying).

Documentation without Representation:

Thomas Jefferson, First Annual Message to Congress, 08 December 1801

http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/jeffmes1.asp

Electronic Text Courtesy of the Avalon Project at Yale Law School

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