Friday, April 23, 2010

Illegal Immigration

Perhaps you all have become aware that there is a bill sitting on the desk of the Governor of Arizona that will - wait for it - make it a state crime to be in the country illegally! Now, I guess I missed something along the way. I thought that it already was illegal to be illegal - DUH. There are demonstrations going on by people who are afraid that even legal residents will be required to carry identification with them in case they have to show that they are here legally. Well, I don't know about you, but most of the time when I go out, I have my driver's license with me. No problem. And, I'm sorry, but the last time I traveled to Europe, I had to give my passport to customs agents when I entered a foreign country. In England, in France, in the Netherlands, I couldn't just stroll across the border, enter their country, and set up shop without a by-your-leave. Why do Mexicans think that they should be able to cross into Arizona and never be challenged to show that they are here legally? We don't seem to have this same problem with Canadians. Some people say that the convention business will suffer, that companies will choose not to come to Arizona because they will be worried that their attendees will be stopped at every corner. I think it's probably the opposite. If out-of-staters know that the chances of being murdered, robbed, assaulted, or hit in their car by an uninsured, unlicensed motorist, I think they would be more inclined to visit our state. The economy of Arizona will suddenly improve dramatically when we are not having to pay for immigrants' medical bills, education, welfare, not to mention their incarceration.

I am as grateful as anyone for the contributions that immigrants have made to our country and to our state. But people who are here legally are not part of this discussion. I think that if there is immigration reform, we will still have many people who want to come here and make contributions - but they will do it legally. And, to be fair, our government needs to assist the Mexican government in making that country a desirable place to live. Maybe then there will be crossings in both directions!

So show me what part of "illegal" I don't understand.
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