Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Illegal Immigrants! Undocumented Workers! And Americans! Oh My!

When we hear about these people in conservative circles we often hear them derided as people who steal American jobs and raise the crime rate in our cities. However, as much as we may talk about enforcing immigration law there is another side to this story. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Vargas has started a campaign to address the issue, and start a conversation to define what makes an American. Is it papers? Birth certificates? Or is it something deeper.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

Michael Z.


  1. I think it is interesting because a there are homeschoolers who homeschool "under the radar." They teach their children, but do not follow the state reporting requirements. In essence they, like "illegals" are braking the law by not filing the right papers and going through the right process.

    My question is, should both these groups be punished to the full extent of the law, if their problem is a paperwork problem not a criminal problem?

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  3. -Foreign visitors and immigrants must be in the country legally.
    -They must have the means to sustain themselves economically before they arrive.
    -They must not be a burden on society (i.e., they must not get on welfare. They must have their own health insurance that is up to date before they arrive so that they will not use health services as a freebie).
    -They must have no criminal record and be of good character.
    -They must be contributors to the general commonwealth of the nation.
    -Immigration authorities must have a complete and accurate record of each foreign visitor.
    -Foreign visitors may not violate their visa status, upon penalty of immediate deportation.
    -Foreign visitors are banned from interfering in the country’s internal politics (i.e., no marches, protests, organizations attempting to coerce or lobby politicians).
    -Foreign visitors who enter under false pretenses are imprisoned or deported.
    -Foreign visitors violating the terms of their entry are imprisoned or deported.
    -Those who aid in illegal immigration in any way will be sent to prison.

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  5. However, the list of stipulations that you just mentioned has several problems. What about those who are in the country illegally, but not by their own choice (like Jose)? What about the children of illegal immigrants who were brought over before an age at which they could consent?

    What are the motives for illegal immigrants anyways? Is it right to deny entrance to those who are suffering from poverty, starvation and violence to the point of war (as that is essentially what the climate is like in cartel-ruled Mexico)? Since the current policy on legal immigration is not addressing the problem, can we honestly blame illegal immigrants for coming over anyways?

    Did the Irish immigrants have the means to sustain themselves economically in America, or was that the reason that they came over in the first place?

    And finally, at what point must nationalism cave to the common charity owed to mankind, from the individuals (and by extrapolation- the society, polity, GOVERNMENT formed out of such individuals) who claim said Christian principles of charity?

    It seems to me that the underground railroad analogy Jose used is very appropriate- and should be continued until the US immigration system is reformed into something good, moral and just.

  6. @Nick, I agree that the current system is broken, and the laws need to be reformed, but does that mean that people can just break the law? Just because you disagree with a law, doesn't bean you can disobey it without consequences. I wish that is how it was, but it isn't.

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  8. "However, as much as we may talk about enforcing immigration law there is another side to this story." Yes the other side of the story is Jose and his organization he is just another group with a liberaly biased agenda, but he is a great poster boy for the cause. FYI Define American is a project of the Tides Foundation, also on their team Jehmu Greene, Alicia Menendez & Jake Brewer.