Friday, June 21, 2013

Border Lines

Earlier this month I got a call from an organization with “conservative” in their name, asking me my opinions on the border and the legislation being considered. It was not a money-raising call. And it wasn’t a poll. What they do is help people draft letters, possibly in ways they agree with; I don’t know. It’s a rather time/work-intensive approach.

So they took notes on what I said and then drafted a letter from that, from me. They sent me three copies of it: one for my representative, one for me, and one for them—after I had made any edits or changes. I’m not exactly in need of help in drafting a letter to my representative. But I was curious about how they would attempt to draft my opinions. I got that just a few days ago, kind of late in the process. And in the meantime, I’ve learned more and my positions are not the same. I should say I have not changed my opinion against amnesty, for border security, and for a less disastrously bureaucratic mess for people to get through to try to come legally. But I was willing to see what the bill was about, and now I know enough.
So, I’m redrafting the letter, here, as an exercise. And I may also send it (probably by email at this late date) to my representative. And if I get my printer working, I may also send the re-draft to this organization. [Note: while I was writing this, the organization called to follow up. I told them their letter had fairly well represented my stated opinions the day we talked, but my opinions on the bill have changed enough that I am redrafting the letter. They offered to write a new draft for me, but I don’t think there is time for them to get a new draft to me before my representative needs to see my opinion. So I’m not sure they will actually write me a new draft. I’m still uncertain whether their purpose was to support the bill, or whether their purpose was just to help citizens send their opinions to their representatives. I am allowing them to send me a newsletter, so I can eventually learn if they’re truly conservative.]
If you find parts of this letter useful, feel free to adapt it to send to your representative.
Dear Representative Poe,
I’m writing today concerning the immigration reform bill. I recognize that the immigration system needs reform; I was cautiously optimistic for a while that this bill might be a useful effort. I no longer believe that. As a sovereign nation, we must be able to control our borders. There are current laws requiring a solid wall to be built on our southern border—since 2006. Only a few dozen miles have been built so far.
This bill, in any version, seems to say, “OK, we’ll consider doing something about the border—if you give in on every other comprehensive reform we ask.” There’s a “trust us” implication; but there’s no reason to trust when the federal government has already proven that a law requiring border enforcement will be ignored.
Of course there are other immigration issues we would like to have dealt with. We should streamline the process to encourage legal immigration. I have known people who have gone through the very difficult process of being married to a foreign national that had trouble getting permanent legal status; two families I know were separated for as long as 18 months.
And then there are families like the Romeikes, a German family that sought asylum here in 2008 because they wanted to homeschool their children, which is illegal in Germany. They were given permanent asylum by a judge in 2010, and then out of the blue the Justice Department decided to overturn that ruling and deport them, which will mean a huge fine for the Romeikes, and possibly prison terms for the parents and loss of custody of their children. Our President says it’s the right of Germany to do that to this family. Yet this same President instructs his DOJ to allow illegals to live here without repercussions, and sues the state of Arizona simply for asking about legality when someone is in custody for some other reason. Our current government either cannot tell or chooses wrongly who should be allowed to come here.
We should have the ability for employers to verify the legality of employees (e-verify is probably a good idea). And at some point we may need to deal with the illegals who remain here, who drain our resources for education, healthcare, welfare, and law enforcement. But this bill doesn’t effectively deal with any of these issues. It seems to have as a singular purpose legalizing those who came here illegally, with no improvement to the overall system.
What we must do is secure the border. Until there is a will to do that in both houses of the legislature—as well as proven enforcement—nothing else can be improved.
I suggest, rather than yet another unreadable 1100-page bill, a bill with just a few words:
Inasmuch as laws are on the books requiring border security and legal immigration, those laws should be enforced. At such time as enforcement is verified, then additional legislation can be considered concerning other immigration system issues.
I am no longer naïve enough to believe that any other approach will lead to the essential beginning point we need. Please vote against any and all versions of the current immigration legislation.
Thank you for your efforts.

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