Friday, 21 May 2010

Illegal Immigrants Camp Out in McCain's Office

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On May 17, four young immigrant students staged a sit-in at Senator John McCain’s Tucson Office. The students were demanding that McCain support federal legislation to allow illegal immigrants who had been brought to America as children to have a path to citizenship. The New York Times championed these four young adults for risking criminal sanctions and deportation, citing the new law in Arizona which requires that federal immigration laws be enforced.

The Times attacked McCain for abandoning his “principled support of rational immigration legislation” to improve his odds of winning the Republican primary in Arizona. The newspaper insists that the Arizona law violates the Constitution and is unreasonable. Missing from this picture, of course, are the millions of legal immigrants who went through the requirements of citizenship and earned the right to work and to travel freely in America, without fear of the police. 

Missing also is the fact that a legal immigrant, a naturalized citizen, or a citizen born in America could not, with impunity, sit in the office of a senator and disrupt the operations of his staff. The illegal immigrants are seeking rights denied to citizens. Three of these illegal immigrants engaged in criminal misconduct were arrested; the fourth was not. All of the illegal immigrants are now free.

The Times also bemoans the cowardice of Democrats like Schumer, Menendez, and Reid, who followed Republican talking points about controlling our border with Mexico and for treating illegal immigrants (who are in violation of federal law) as criminals. Immigration reform was compared to the civil rights Movement of the 1960s, and the article warned that the movement to “reform” immigration could spark a similar protest movement.

The campaign for immigration "reform" and the civil rights movement have little in common. Blacks in the South had been sold as slaves by other blacks in Africa, and were transported against their will to America. They were then kept as slaves, in violation of the principles enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, until freed in the trauma of the Civil War (Emancipation Proclamation) and afterwards by the 13th Amendment. Their relative position and status, in fact, were undermined by the flood of immigrants, legal and illegal, into America during the seven decades from the Civil War to the Great Depression.

Comparing the descendants of slaves brought on ghastly transports to America with illegal immigrants who violate our laws and enter America, bringing with them crime and drugs, is just the sort of illogical comparison which one might expect of the New York Times. Senator McCain is, doubtless, shifting his political stand to make it palatable to the unhappy, beleaguered citizens of Arizona. Given the warm embrace of most Americans for real immigration reform, Arizona-style, other politicians may well follow him.

Photo: Sen. John McCain arrives at a luncheon for Mexican President Felipe Calderon at the State Department on May 19, 2010: AP Images
 

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