What part of 'illegal' don't you get?

Burt Prelutsky
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Posted: Mar 22, 2006 12:05 AM
There are many things I like and admire about President Bush. But his constant pandering to Mexico’s Vicente Fox doesn’t happen to be one of them. At best, I find it unseemly; at worst, humiliating. The man is still upset with the French and the Germans for not supporting his efforts against Saddam Hussein, but he barely seems to be aware that his closest neighbor played Brutus to his Caesar.

I get the idea that our president is positively smitten. Sometimes, when I see Bush and Fox posing for photographers, I swear I can almost see Bush fluttering his eyelashes at the dashing caballero.

Getting down to cases, I don’t like Fox and I don’t like illegal aliens. I realize that opens me up to the charge of being a racist. After all, most of our illegal population happens to be Mexican. Well, that’s not my fault; it’s theirs. Believe it or not, if millions of Canadians came sneaking across our northern border, I’d be against them, too.

There are a bunch of Americans, I grant you, who argue the cause of those they refer to as undocumented immigrants. These would include the folks who own farms, restaurants and hotels; clothing manufacturers; the Catholic Church; and, naturally, the ACLU.

We are assured that there are plenty of jobs for unskilled laborers willing to work for minimum wage or less. We are all supposed to be happy about it because it means our lettuce will get picked, our dishes will get bussed and washed, and the savings will get passed along to us, the consumers.

That’s wrong on a couple of counts. First off, I, personally, don’t like the 21st century version of slavery much more than I liked the 19th century variety.

For another thing, anybody who tells you that the millions of illegals in this country are paying their own way is simultaneously selling you a bill of goods and trying to send you off on a guilt trip. Most illegals are day laborers working for cash, menials working for about five dollars-an-hour, unemployed and/or criminals. Considering that none of them is earning enough to pay income taxes, how on earth can anybody claim they’re not costing the middle class a fortune in health care, schooling, welfare and incarceration?

Furthermore, even though it’s in bad taste to mention it, it’s a fact that birth control is not one of their major priorities. So, not only is their first act on American soil illegal entry, but their second is quite often giving birth to a baby who suddenly has all the rights and privileges guaranteed by the Constitution.

President Fox keeps insisting that Mexicans should have dual-citizenship, a proposition that probably appeals to President Bush, who seems to be convinced that all these faux-Americans will vote for the GOP.

The concept of dual-citizenship has never made sense to me. It sounds an awful lot like polygamy. What astounds me is that nobody ever seems to ask Fox why, if it’s such a wonderful idea, he doesn’t offer it to Hondurans and Guatemalans. Instead, he has his federales lined up on Mexico’s southern border. That’s not to suggest nobody comes across. Bribes are still the Mexican equivalent of visas and passports. But even then, the ultimate destination of the Central Americans had better be Arizona or California, not Acapulco or Chihuahua.

I even hear conservatives saying that there’s nothing that can be done about the problem, although they at least, unlike the liberals, will admit there is a problem. Attempting to put a good face on it, they blather on about decent, hard-working people seeking better lives. They ask, hypothetically, what could possibly be done at this late date when there are perhaps ten million illegal aliens in the U.S. Well, one thing is obvious: If nothing is done, some day there will be twenty million or thirty million. What’s to stop it?

Well-meaning people wring their hands. They say we can’t deport millions of people. We can’t break up families. Many of the children, after all, are natural-born citizens. It’s not as if we could construct a 1,500 mile wall. (Actually we could, but that’s not my solution.)

First off, deportation is a lousy idea even if we had the means to round up that many people. After all, if they snuck in once, there’s no reason to think they won’t do it again. So, we don’t arrest every illegal worker in America; instead, we arrest every employer who hires an illegal. We fine them and we send their sorry butts to the cooler.

Next, we do not grant automatic citizenship to babies born to illegals. In short, we do whatever needs to be done to take the “welcome” off our welcome mat. People have been wiping their feet on it long enough. This is not what Emma Lazarus’s poem was all about.

Sooner, rather than later, the message would be received south of the border that Uncle Sam is no longer going to be played for a sucker.

Am I heartless? I think not. I’m not the one forgetting the millions of people around the world on immigration lists who are playing by the rules, waiting their chance to emigrate legally to America. Allowing, even encouraging, a bunch of scofflaws to butt in ahead of them just because they don’t have an ocean to cross is immoral. And before you whip out the racist tar brush, keep in mind that many of those people are waiting in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

If the price of all this is that a head of lettuce will cost an extra nickel or burgers will cost a tad more, I think we can live with it.

Of course there is one other option. We could annex Mexico, making it our 51st state. With all its oil and natural resources, I’m sure we could make it financially feasible. At the very least, I think we’d all feel a lot better about having Americans, not foreigners, on our dole.

Finally, I’m afraid that President Bush, like President Reagan before him, thinks that if he grants some form of amnesty, the problem will vanish. Frankly, that makes about as much sense as suggesting that all you need to do in order to eliminate rape and murder is to decriminalize them!