Friday, April 22, 2005

License to Kill

Daily Review Atlas, 22 Apr. 2005

In immigration, as in driving, there are two schools of thought.

There are those who believe that rules should be obeyed . The rest are in favor of eliminating all rules because... well... rules are made to be broken, and if something is broken, you should throw it away.

I’m in the first camp. When I drive, I obey the speed limits, pay attention to lights and signs, and follow all those other instructions given in the little book from the driver’s license bureau, because they’re intended to keep us all safer. And on immigration, my own ancestors came to this country late in its history, for the most part (we won’t dwell on the slim, clay-red branch which was here long before everybody else), after there were codes and restrictions and limits to who and how many could pass through the points of entry. They waited their turns, they followed the guidelines, and they respected the need for security for their future home. In other words, they earned their presence in this, the new land.

As such, they would have no sympathy with those who choose to steal the same privilege. As their respectful descendant, I side with them. I can drive fifty-five.

The folks who call themselves “Minutemen”, guardians at our southern border, are friends of my heart. They choose to volunteer their time and energies to protect from theft the precious gift my family gave me -- a free and law-abiding nation. They are the watch dogs, keeping burglars from my house, and not, as our president has foolishly said, “vigilantes”. There are no lynch mobs among the Minutemen, just citizens sending an alarm to the authorities when somebody tries to break in. They’re Neighborhood Watch patrolling a very long block. Or, to continue the driving metaphor, they are the little radar gadget that reminds the traffic cops when a driver is speeding recklessly.

But, apparently, folks like the ACLU and their ilk think the Minutemen are racists who must be stopped. Upholders of our nation’s laws are a threat to our civil liberties, it seems. They sit by and harass the protectors, meanwhile breaking a few laws, themselves (observers with cameras have recorded some representatives of the ACLU contingent smoking marijuana while “on duty”). And, these same folks who are against stemming the tide of illegal immigration are also against protecting our country from within, even after the first crime has been committed. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has jumped on the bandwagon. He’s as much as announced he intends to fight James Sensenbrenner’s new, commonsense legislation, by tying it to a virtually legless bill. Sensenbrenner has called for an amendment to the Intelligence Reform Bill -- a bill the Democrats would be hard pressed to refuse passage -- aimed at making it illegal for states to issue a driver’s license to illegal immigrants, and requiring that, once a lawful guest’s visa expires, so, too , must the license.

Driver’s licenses -- our primary source of identification -- are used by most law-abiding residents as proof that they are who they say they are, and that they have a right to be doing what they’re doing (not just driving -- they’re used as identification at employment, in opening bank accounts and credit accounts, and countless other activities). Therefore, they’re the preferred document for falsifying identification, for criminals, as well. They are also the primary document to prove identification before boarding an airplane. This was useful for the terrorists who hijacked airplanes and flew them into three great buildings and into the Pennsylvania dirt in 2001. Even though their student visas had expired, their licenses were accepted, and they boarded their flights with no difficulty. Why, then, should we make it any easier than it already is, for them to break in to our homeland to cheat, steal, and murder our loved ones?

Iowa’s judicial system has it right: their Supreme Court recently upheld the class-action decision of a district court judge, that, "illegal aliens have no right to receive driver's licenses because they have no Social Security numbers or other proper immigration documentation required to obtain an operator's permit."

Yet, somehow, Frist, the ACLU, and countless others -- including Illinois’ state legislators and judges in New York -- seem to think that national security, doing what’s right, and maintaining fairness for those who live by the rules, all should come after making lawbreakers feel less ostracized. We wouldn’t want to insult those poor widdle burglars who’ve come to our house. Let’s just beat the watchdogs for barking, and toss the keys to the thieves. Starting with the keys to the car. I’m sure they’re all fine, conscientious and courteous drivers, after all. Nobody would possibly think of taking that car and joyriding it through our living room wall. Would they?

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