A few days ago, President Bush went to the US/Mexico border (currently located just north of Phoenix, Ariz.) to call for "immigration reform." By "immigration," President Bush meant "sneaking across the border illegally." By "reform," President Bush meant "you keep sneaking in, but I don't get blamed for it."
Yet another reason I hate listening to politicians talk.
If you want to hear an honest view of America's immigration policy, don't listen to presidents and pundits. Go to the people. Real people, like Alfredo Gonzales, a 33-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico currently living in LA with his wife and two school-aged daughters. He told the LA Times that he "fears the immigration raids occurring across the country."
Just how afraid is Mr. Gonzales of immigration law enforcement here in the U.S.? He gave his full name and age to the LA Times.
He also gave his take — and that of millions of other illegal immigrants — on Bush's new immigration reform plans:
"If they kick me out, who is going to take care of my daughters? The government? I don't think so."
Welcome to the bizarre world of American border security.
By every definition, Mr. Gonzales is a criminal. In addition to violating our immigration laws, Gonzales (assuming he has a job) is also committing either federal tax fraud, identity fraud or both.
And, by every measure, Mr. Gonzales has benefited from his criminality. He's earned far more money here than he would have in Mexico. His young daughters are in better schools and getting better medical care than back home and (best of all!) someone else is paying for it. As the Heritage Foundation reports, the average low-skill immigrant household costs American taxpayers about $30,000 more a year than they contribute.
Plus, Mr. Gonzales doesn't have to live in....MEXICO. That's a big win right there.
For people like Mr. Gonzales, illegally immigrating to America has been a great deal So one might expect him to jump at the new deal being offered by President Bush.
Under Bush's new plan, every illegal in America would get to stay here. The only requirement would be a work visa (called a "Z" visa) that lasts for three years and costs just $3,500. But don't worry about the time limit. Thanks to the president's gutless, er, "compassion," the "Z" visas can be renewed indefinitely, so Mr. Gonzales would never have to leave. He could stay in America forever.
And if he ever did decide to become an American, a $10,000 fine would completely expunge his record as an immigration criminal. He would be treated like all those other would-be immigrants who haven't been ripping off the American people.
As a previous group of American immigrants might have said 100 years ago, "Such a deal!"
But it's still not good enough for people like Mr. Gonzales.
"People are really upset," says Juan Jose Gutierrez of the Latino Movement USA. "Charging that much, Bush is going to be even more expensive than the coyotes," complained Armando Garcia, another pro-illegal protestor.
So now it's comparison shopping? How about the fact that immigrating here illegally is, well, illegal?
To the illegals, this is irrelevant. The only offer they've got on the table is "Amnesty Now ... or Else." Or else what?
Well, there's the threat Mr. Gonzales' made about what would happen to his daughters if we start enforcing the law. "Who's going to raise them? The government?"
He's essentially holding his own (American-born) children hostage: Give me my amnesty or I'll abandon my kids.
Oh, yeah, President Bush — we need more people like this coming to America...
And besides, when did caring for this loser's kids become my problem? When I left South Carolina — where three of my four kids were born — and headed north for a new job, I didn't expect the people of Charleston to keep my kids while I was gone. I did what I assume nearly everybody does: I took them with me. If I moved to Ireland or Israel, I'd do the same thing.
Why? They're my kids. My responsibility. What difference does it make where they were born?
But Mr. Gonzales and his friends understand the entitlement mentality far better than I. Why should he be responsible for raising his kids? Why should he be responsible for obeying the law, or for the taxes he's evaded, or for, well, anything at all?
People who've spent decades stealing the benefits of American society — using our schools, our emergency rooms, our taxpayer-funded housing, etc. — are now turning JFK's call of duty on its head. They are unwilling to pay any price or bear any burden.
The scary thing is, they sound like Americans already.