Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A sense of entitlement

Over the past weekend, in many cities across America, thousands upon thousands (some say nearly a million) of people gathered to protest the new measure proposed in Congress to strengthen penalties for illegal immigration -- longer terms and higher fines not only for coming across the border without legal permission, but also for helping people illegally cross our borders and for knowingly employing illegal immigrants.

At the same time, over in France’s cities, crowds have gathered to protest their government’s proposed change in private employment policies, to make it easier for businesses to fire new employees who don’t quite fit the needs of the company.

In each case, we see large groups of people demanding privileges as though they were rights.

Living in America is a privilege. My mother’s father’s family had to struggle to get here, and they all worked by honest, ethical means to gain their status as citizens of this great country. They went through all appropriate channels, obeyed all existing laws, assimilated themselves, and earned their citizenship out in the open. Some of my father’s ancestors did very much the same (the others were already here). They didn’t cut corners, they didn’t edge out somebody else, somebody of equal or greater need and qualifications, they didn’t cut in line ahead of others. They played by the established rules, and were eventually rewarded for it. That there are mobs who think others should be granted the same reward without benefit of having gone through those same channels would surely gall them.

And the great numbers who proclaim that “the land belonged to them first”, and continue to wave flags of another country while demanding the “right” to live here... well, you can imagine the reaction of my ancestors to that!

Milwaukee, where one protest was held, did not ever belong to Mexico. Neither did Atlanta or Denver, regardless of what some may say (although, since my brugly other still lives in the latter, I’d be willing to consider giving it to Mexico nonetheless). So, now, the Mexican government -- which can’t even persuade its own citizens to stay in-country to fix the problems which drive them north -- is demanding that they be part of our immigration policy-making! Grandpa is rolling in his grave faster than he does when Chicago elections come around and he votes Democrat again.

But besides the thumbing of noses at the law and at those who strive to obey it, the current influx of illegal immigrants has begun to take its toll on taxpayers, with the increased costs for social programs, education, and emergency medical care courts say are required regardless of legal status. Plus, the mean income for the poor has dropped, not just for illegal immigrants,but for all other working and would-be working poor, since the illegals are often paid under the table, under minimum wage, for jobs that others would have been willing to do -- at fair wages. This undercuts unskilled laborers at the lowest levels of our society, and benefits few law-abiding, hard-working, honest citizens in the long run.

And I won’t even start on the post-9/11 security issues. That’s a whole chapter unto itself.

Meanwhile, in Paris, the standing official policy of not allowing a company to fire an inept or unsuccessful hire has been nearly lethal to their stagnant economy. Chirac’s administration proposed that the standard be loosened a bit, so that new employees could actually be fired without going through all the costly bureaucratic nonsense. But with unemployment in the twenty- five-percent range for young men, those 75% who are already holding jobs have seen their future darken, and they’ve taken to the streets. Instead of figuring out how to make themselves indispensable to their employers, to save their futures, they’re perfectly willing to drag the rest of the nation into the nightmare of poverty they pretend they’re keeping at bay.

In both cases, we’re seeing the result of social policies which were intended to make people feel better about themselves, and which ultimately means somebody, somewhere, feels prompted to take indecent advantage of the rest of the citizens. And they’re doing it in the millions.

There is no inalienable right to move here illegally and live and work as though you were a citizen. There is no inalienable right to keep a job in Paris if you aren’t willing or able to do the work. Those who try to tell us otherwise need to be told precisely where to go -- and it isn’t to the employment office.

Highly recommended reading: Michelle Malkin's blog on reconquista, complete with many worthwhile links.
Also No Pasaran, Gateway Pundit, and France Echos have covered the French unrest brilliantly.
Lengthy, but also worth looking over:
Illegals Squeeze Out U.S. Workers
by Steven A. Camarota, and The Real Problem as viewed by Ephialtes Redux

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