Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Is This (Social) Justice? Part 2

I appreciate the comments to Part 1. Let me try to give my thoughts on this issue and the associated dilemma we face. I will give my recent experience chronologically.

On Monday, our speaker for RCIA gave the talk on social justice. It was a well balanced discussion that properly presented the hierarchy of for-sure-don'ts such as abortion vs. think-about-its like buying coffee from a "green" company. There was still a point at which he indicated that the Church teaches we need to open our hearts to all immigrants, including-- with dramatic pause and critical stare-- illegals. In the context of the RCIA class, it all went down pretty easily.

Then Tuesday came, and we got the news of the Cottonwood bus accident. Then on Wednesday on my way to work I heard the (alleged) name of the guilty driver-- Morales. My spidey senses tingled and, much like JThorp's boss I wondered in very short order whether this woman was an illegal immigrant. Unlike JThorp, however, I don't feel like it's a "sad" situation to think this way, nor is it even sadder that my intuition was borne out.

I thought this way because we have created a social dynamic whereby following the law has become optional for a hefty segment of our population, namely illegal immigrants. I truly believe that by becoming passive and lax about immigration, the message is that laws can be ignored. Such is the case here-- this woman didn't have a license; clearly doesn't have any driving skill; and is thus a deadly menace on the road. In fact, she had already been picked up by local police for erratic driving-- they didn't think it was all that unusual that a "Morales" would be driving that way without a license and thus they didn't report her to immigration authorities so she could be deported. That's the real "sad" situation, that the apathy toward legal authority is now so commonplace that the cops in Cottonwood didn't feel like they should do anything about it. They could have saved those children's lives.

So, I completely disagree with our RCIA speaker that I need to "welcome" illegal immigrants. I don't. But at this late hour, when it's not practical to kick 12 million illegals out, we should at least deport any illegal that commits a crime. The Catechism says that's OK.


A Simple Sinner said...

Worth considering - not that I disagree - is just how "illegal" the illegals are.

I mean a law without teeth is hardly a law at all... And 12M did not get here on accident. That was not a case of a population double the size of Denmark just sneaking in when the guard on duty snuck off for a cup of coffee.

The fact of the matter seems to be that the US has had laws without teeth in place for YEARS because for all the lip service given, businesses want the cheap labor and the feds don't really mind that 12M people are paying into social security that are just as likely to never receive a cent of it back!

Working for a corporate restaraunt in a city that is now 10% Spanish speaking immigrant (what perecentage legal I cannot say) I have noted two things that kind of boggle the mind if you are under the illusion the government wants to catch and deport illegals. (Like I used to be!) First, the "legal resident cards" issued by the DoI are a joke that almost BEG to be faked. Honestly, the first time I was helpin an amigo fill out his paperwork to begin the job and he handed me one I was flabergasted. My high school ID card was more sophisticated and high-tech than this laminated card with a passport photo.

Are you kidding me? In the state of Ohio our DLs have barcodes, magnetic strips and holographic impressions. These things the feds were issuing any junior high student with photoshop and access to a laminator could make!

The other thing that opened my eyes was an episode where a fella came in with his papers and his soc security number... I keyed in his info into the corporate database and lo and behold it came back that the SSN belonged to another person who happened to be employed with our company in Missouri! The manager lets him know that this paperwork doesn't work... two days later, same guy, new paperwork with new name and new (likely also fake) SSN shows up to have us "try these". The boss needs someone, knows they are fake, and hires him because it worked out better.

What laws on the books are there that are being enforced to prevent and preclude employers from doing this?

So I can't villify or denigrate the illegals that much so long as the laws and the enforcement are a lot like ole Briar Rabbit begging not to be thrown in that briar patch...

The Feds and business to the illegals: Don't you dare cross that line... and fake these papers, even though the are really easy to fake, don't you do it! Don't you dare come over and get one of these jobs that all the other illegals are working! You are not allowed, don't even think about it! Nope you better not! And BTW, I am going on break at 10:15, whatever you do, don't you sneak in when I am on break!

The way the system is set up, the border is protected, and the laws are enforced, it is like the US put a pie on the window ledge to cool and shouted "Yooo-hooo, don't none of y'all take this pie while I leave it unguarded and go sit underneath that thar shade tree and eat it with the rest of those guys who stole the pies I just baked but did nothing about! Don't y'all dare now!"

Again, how illegal are immigrants who break laws that aren't enforced? who break laws we almost demand they break?

J. Thorp said...

Joshua 24:15 -- I appreciate your honest assessment here, and I agree that the dysfunctional system we've created and the apparent inability of law enforcement to deal with obvious problems is bad news.

The sadness I referred to was not sadness on behalf of illegal aliens, but rather sadness that, because our system is so dysfunctional, the name Morales and no driver's license screams "illegal alien" -- it's sad that the situation is that bad. And as much as I try not to stereotype, I was likely to be right -- sadder -- and that being right in such a tragic and emotional case makes prejudice very easy.

That might not make immediate sense, so I'll tell a parallel story. Some years ago my oldest son made friend with a child whose father was black. Some kids picked on his friend because of the father's race. We talked to our son about people thinking different about other people simply because of skin color -- and told him that the man's race didn't make him a bad person.

A few weeks later, the man was arrested as my son got off the bus. The one grown black man he knew personally was cuffed and taken away in a police car, just like the kids at school has joked. A cruel coincidence, no?

Stuff like that, especially linked to a terrible tragedy like this, can damage people's perceptions about race and ethnicity for life.

Some of these folks are good people just trying to get by. Survivors. Mightn't we do the same to feed our families?

Should they be made to obey the law? Certainly. But does crossing the border to find work *automatically* make them "bad" people? No more than their skin color does. Desperate, maybe, but not necessarily bad ...

Joshua 24:15 said...

Yep, I agree that most of these folks are just trying to survive. And in fact I have a lot of respect for someone who would risk life and limb to come here.

I do wonder, though, how a woman can somehow think it's OK to zoom down the road operating a van, with apparently no training. Obviously dangerous to others. Such utter disregard for the safety of others, is fostered by the lack of respect for the rule of law-- the same law that prevents my 13 year old getting my car keys. The law by which I abide as a citizen.

J. Thorp said...

Well said, Joshua 24:15.

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Wow, no can of worms or anything, huh?
Sheesh, I thought I was the only one who liked opening those things.
My spidey senses were all a-tingle too when it was first reported about that lady. The newscasters were just a little too careful about pronouncing her name and showing her pictures. Everyone in the room gave each other knowing glances. It was sad. For a lot of reasons.
We had some wonderful, "illegal" neighbors one time. They knowingly used a defunct health insurance card, fake ss numbers for 4 of them (one baby was born in the U.S.) and the teen son was beligerent about the U.S. laws changing to allow for grandparents to come from Mexico to be with family, etc. (I helped him with a school report). I got to know them well and tried like heck to understand them, thank goodness for a couple years of Spanish in high school(literally, they didn't bother to assimilate or learn English at all...but they bought a house and could hold down jobs). They listened to Spanish radio, TV, went to all Sp. speaking church, social events, etc. The mom tried to get her license several times but failed because of language (and NO understanding of the rules of the road). I had to bring her to the hosp. when she had a severe medical problem and sit, idly by, while she presented what I knew was a fake card. I was probably part of the problem (by not saying anything), but I didn't know what else to do at the time. I had to laugh (on the inside, she really thought she was doing me a favor) when she (at a doctor's follow up appt. I brought her to) presented me with a "chick tract" about the evil "death cookie" (Eucharist). Sigh. I learned that protestant churches are taking over Mexico and that Catholics are not as respected as they once were. We were still friends, but there would always be a barrier (NOT becase of me!) between us because of their absolute belief that they were just biding their time (and making enough money) to go back "home" to their real home because (like their son once told me) "Mexico is SO much better than the U.S.!". I know they didn't represent everyone's story, but I'd be willing to bet it's close. They had absolutely NO qualms with receiving financial aid (even though they were able to buy a house) and food stamps, and wic. The mom tried to get me to sign on to WIC! I couldn't explain how it was even a little shameful to take taxpayer's money to buy things that I could buy for myself (even if it were a bit of a hardship) because that is what being an American was all about...doing things on your own and being proud of it, all the while helping your neighbor so that they didn't HAVE to reach into the pockets of people (therefore, perpetuating the problem of need). So, I helped when I could (and so did she) and we had a good system going until they moved away. I knew that things had to change as they were figuring out where I stood on certain things. I think they might have even been a little afraid of assimilating too much into our small town and wanted to move into the city (incognito?). I'm still happy to have known them.

A Simple Sinner said...

I can't dispute that there exists a sentiment on the part of some that is resentful of the US - pretty common among youth who idealize a "homeland" they are removed from. I have read of UK-born Pakistani-Brits (do they hypenate like we do yet?) doing the same. Coming from families that idealized UK freedom, some children grow disenchanted and angry. There was a movie about such a story called "My Son the Fundamentalist" wherein an immigrant father who drives taxi becomes bewildered by a son who had all the opportunities of the UK and looked longingly to what hs father had actually left behind.

I see that as being somewhat common...

The assistence thing is a little bothersome... But I find public assistence to be another institution that DEMANDS fraud and abuse. I have worked with appalachian white people whose ultimate goal was to become eligable for SSD - it was like winnning the lottery. By and large, you hold out some free money, SOMEONE is going to go for it, needed or not.

12 years ago restaraunts in this city were paying $18-20 an hour for kichen jobs (anyone who thinks that isn't valuable work should be prepared to NOT complain when their food is messed up!) today it has become largely the domain of spanish speakers and the wages are maxing out at $12 an hour most places. The solution management has put into place has been to put emphasis on hiring bi-lingual college grads to be managers. The managers are paid a little more, to communicate with workers who are paid less. I learned all the Spanish I know in kitchens.

Politicians who act like they don't know how this happened or where these "law breaking fugitives are" are pulling our legs.

Daniel 2:19 said...

There are several crimes here and some are more obvious and some are not obvious at all. The ones that are apparent and obvious are the facts contained herein, described succinctly and eloquently.
What is not so obvious and is not out in the open are those things that are hidden and obtuse; those things that are far more serious to us directly "because they are hidden" from obvious sight and thought. This issue is due to the fact that there are a majority of 'normalized US citizens' that DO NOT believe in God, they DO believe in abortion, they DO believe is same sex marriages, and they DO literally propagate sin; not only to me and you, but to our kids as well.
So, you must be wondering how these two things are linked? The illegal’s who crash and burn and the majority populace of Americans, right? Well, the bottom line is that if these 12 million Mexican "illegal’s" could vote, they would vote like us Catholics because they are Catholic, they would pay taxes because they are hard workers if given an opportunity, and they would offset the 76% of our US brethren who have gone to hell in a hand basket. (That last part is a bit of southern slang).
My point is that Americans, by and large, are moving away from God and that means, bothers and sisters of Christ that they are moving TOWARDS SIN and SATAN. The way they watch TV is what gets made, the majority is why we get the programming we get, and this TV garbage gets put right in front of our very eyes and our children as well for ALL to see! And we just let it happen, albeit collectively.
It is NOT because of the illegals that this subversion towards SIN is happening. It is because of that fellow American in that car next to yours on the highway, who is driving that Japanese or foreign made car, which is, by the way, apathetic for everything we hold dear and cherish within our faith.
Yes, it is wrong that the illegal’s break the law; it is wrong that we break the law; we ALL break the law; we have broken so many laws, so very badly have we broken laws, and too many of God laws we have broken, that He sent his only begotten Son down here to save us because we were ALL going to hell (in a hand basket, so to speak)!
How many ways have we been instructed by God and Jesus on what to do and what not to do? Do we really do those things? I am the first to say ‘No I do not do the things I am commanded to do’; for my heart is strong, but my flesh is weak. Still there are No Excuses, really.
However, we MUST hold our values high and not subvert American English for American Spanish English, or American Sex Gang Slang English, or whatever. We should not let known criminals come here to do us harm. However, we should allow hard working people, with strong spiritual faith and moral belief's (other than mad-bombers) to come here to the US, if for no other reason, than to offset our fellow Americans (numbering about 76% of us mind you) that are turning away from God.
We must have organic growth for our Catholic Faith, or it will slowly die a certain death long before we have had a chance to transform ourselves to the next level of spiritual awareness!
You can put a frog into hot water and it will die trying to get out of it as fast as it can. You can put a frog into nice warm water and it will stay there happily. You can then slowly turn up the heat of that water until it boils the frog to death. That frog will never make a move to get out of the slowly boiling water.
We are being boiled to death by sin and Satan's ability to move the ball 1 inch every day towards himself.
What Say You?
May the Lord, Our God, show us our strengths, hide our weaknesses, and bring us to spiritual fulfillment with Love, Life, Joy and Happiness that we share with our friends and community.

Joshua 24:15 said...

Daniel, a lot of good stuff to think about. Thank you.

Katherine said...

Yes, the Church does teach that we need to open our hearts to all immigrants, including-- illegals. This is as non-negotitable as abortion.