Friday, November 17, 2006

Discomfort Zones

There's been a lot of hay made in the news recently about certain ordinances recently passed in Farmers Branch, Texas, and similar laws recently put on hold by federal injunction in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. I love this new tactic in fighting illegal immigration. I liken it to the war on drugs.

See, attempts to stop the flow of drugs into the country have been fruitless at best, despite ever-increasing penalties for trafficking and unprecedented international policing efforts. But the simple fact is that as long as demand for drugs remain high, there are profits to be made for the suppliers that are worth risking the penalties, no matter how severe we make them, especially for lower-income people who can make the kind of money they have no chance to make legitimately. No, the only way to stop illegal drugs will be to make people no longer want to buy them--or at least not be willing to shell out the kind of money that keeps the trade profitable. That's pretty damned hard to do with addictive substances--almost to the point of futility.

But illegal immigration isn't an addiction, and these laws in Farmers Branch and Hazleton appear to be an effort to similarly attack an unwanted commodity from the demand side. Illegals want to come here because they can live better below the poverty line here than they can under average circumstances in their home countries. And employers enjoy having them here because they'll work for slave wages. And as long as those two conditions are true, all the fences, walls, border patrols, and armed dirigibles in the world won't stop people from coming here illegally. Instead, we need to make life more difficult for those who've broken our laws to enter this country. We need to make it more difficult for them to find places to live and work, and the only way to do this is to make it less profitable and more hazardous to business for landlords and other businesses to rent to and hire them. Once we decrease the tide of illegals, then it will become harder for the truly dangerous to hide themselves among them, and we can accomplish this through these laws for far less taxpayer cost than we can with more walls and guards.

And yet the ACLU (along with some other groups) still refuses to see the threat to national security posed by unchecked illegal immigration, saying among other things that these laws discriminate against Hispanics. Are laws increasing and establishing penalties for Americans assisting federal lawbreakers--whether they're from Central America, China, or the Middle East--more or less discriminatory than the other plans to build walls and mobilize forces exclusively along the Mexican border? The ACLU's apparently willful narrow-mindedness on this issue, and others pertaining to issues of national security, earns them a permanent link on my Enemies List.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Halloween over, thank God. This is a holiday without much of an upside for me. My bad food habits run more towards chips than candy, for one thing. Sure, there's always the fact that a lot of women use the holiday as an excuse to get dressed up like hookers on the stroll, but the only Halloween party I was invited to this year was at the office, so that aspect would have been ruined by middle-aged women with midsections textured like trays of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. And that was before I got caught up in the opening series of the '06-'07 flu season. There's nothing more obnoxious than trying to get from couch or bed to the bathroom in complete darkness so as to avoid little hands pounding on my door to beg for candy. Actually, in my neighborhood, the most common costume is "thug teenager", and they don't trick-or-treat so much as shank-or-treat. But fortunately, my lights-out strategy worked, due in part, that there were more larger groups of kids going around to one another's homes, rather than simply going door to door. And with good reason--my neighborhood has a higher concentration of sex offenders than the Neverland Ranch. Bring on Thanksgiving--any holiday with customs focused on gluttony and football-watching is one that I'm solidly behind!