Friday, August 13, 2010

Does Amnesty for Illegals Discriminate?

I'm not an anti-Hispanic bigot, and I'm gonna prove it.

I'm going to start with conservative political commentator and former presidential contender Mike Huckabee, who raised more than a few eyebrows this week when he waffled on a simple question about illegal immigration.

At first, he said he did not support any amnesty program, but then he claimed kids who were brought here illegally by their parents should be allowed to stay here. During his interview on NPR, Huckabee argued that penalizing children because their parents broke the law is a bad thing. And in theory, he’s correct. If your father runs drugs, and you don’t, you shouldn’t be held responsible for your father’s crime. But on this issue, we're talking about a whole family of illegal aliens. They're not citizens of the United States.

Of course, you can't oppose amnesty and support it at the same time. How can Huckabee say he's against amnesty but still wants kids to stay (along with their parents, presumably)?

Typical Duplicitous Politician?

Aside from being a right-wing media celebrity, Huckabee is also a politician, and he's trying to make it sound as if he's a progressive on this issue while simultaneously dropping all of the anti-amnesty key words he hopes will pacify his conservative base. It's an old-school smokescreen, lest we forget the 2012 presidential election starts next year.

It has been suggested by some political scorekeepers that Huckabee may be attempting to distinguish himself from his fellow Republican media stars. Sarah Palin, his closest campaign rival, has lent her support to several races in local elections across the country to keep her name in the spotlight, while Huckabee has made a point of supporting the conservatives Palin doesn’t. Is he trying to paint himself as the softer, gentler, more family-oriented side of the Republican party? After all, the incessant drumbeat of pop drama emanating from the life of Palin’s eldest daughter can’t be helping Alaska’s most famous soccer mom with her virtuous image.

How odd that Huckabee, one of the favorites many business-oriented Republican stalwarts supported in 2008, is now posturing himself on the status-quo side of the illegal immigration debate. Wasn’t one of the reasons President George W. Bush waffled on illegal immigration because his deep-pocketed pro-business pals make a lot of money on the backs of undocumented workers?

But I digress...

Let's Be Fair

Granted, this is the United States of America, and Huckabee wants to talk fairness. So let's do it.

What does fairness have to do with deporting children for something they haven’t done? Very little, admittedly. But that’s not the issue, is it? The issue is parents - who are predominantly Hispanic - who intentionally cross our borders without permission. Just as the parents aren't citizens, neither are their kids.

An illegal alien of any age is still an illegal alien. Former president George W. Bush deported five-year-old Elian Gonzalez, remember? Don't kids from other countries get deported? How much damage is done to the integrity of our immigration laws if parents know they'll be allowed to stay if they bring their kids illegally to our country? What is fair about granting pseudo-amnesty to illegal Hispanic kids and their parents when we still drop-kick illegal Africans, Asians, and Europeans out of our country? Where do we draw the lines to be fair to everybody? Do we just keep them all?

Secure Our Borders?

Oddly enough, Huckabee says that the best way to control illegal immigration involves securing our borders. But he's not talking about the Canadian border, is he?

What keeps Canadians from coming here illegally, and what compels Hispanics to come here illegally?

Let's see: corrupt Latin American governments which suck inertia from their economies; unrealistic expectations given to Hispanics by human traffickers; violent drug cartels; citizens of other countries who willingly break laws to get into ours; greedy American contractors who treat illegal day laborers like glorified slaves; authority-hungry American bureaucrats and politicians who need constituents who are dependant on them... I'm not seeing any equity here, are you?

Removing the institutionalized incentives which unfairly skew the immigration debate towards Hispanics involves taking amnesty for even kids out of the equation. Recognizing this sad fact may hurt Huckabee's chances for election if he decides to run in 2012, but it's not the future of his political career I'm worried about. What happens when people from other countries around the world see how lax we are with illegal immigration?

Kids Caught in Their Parents' Misdeeds

As a former Southern Baptist minister, Huckabee may be in cahoots with other pastors nationwide who are quietly soliciting for a watered-down approach to illegal immigration. I can't fault him for feeling sorry for the kids who are virtually being used as hostages by their parents in these situations. Illegal alien parents know it's hard for most Americans - even me - to consider the cost of this debate on children.

Here in north Texas, our local news outlets frequently cover stories where children are crying, being pulled from classrooms and readied for a trip back across the border. Teachers and reporters bewail the harm being done to these kids as they’re torn from the only lives they’ve ever known and being deported like criminals.

True, irreparable harm probably is being done to these kids, but it’s not being done by the law enforcement agencies tasked with the miserable job of fighting illegal immigration. Doesn’t the fault like squarely on the parents who knowingly violated the law and risked their own childrens’ well-being by coming here illegally in the first place?

Many illegal Hispanics claim they're coming to America for the sake of their families. I have no problem with people who want to come here and benefit from our quality of life, which in large part depends on the rule of law.

I would simply ask Hispanics who want to come here to get in line. You're not any more special or desperate than anybody else wanting to enter the United States for the benefit of their own families.

See? Equal access. Isn't that being racially-tolerant?


Next Monday: Revising the 14th Amendment?

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