Archive for immigration

It’s All About Context

Posted in current events, pop culture with tags , , , on September 27, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

Watching “Morning Joe” this morning on MSNBC, I was once again disappointed with television pundits.

It wasn’t even a major thing. I know every 24-hour news network is going to have some sort of bias to keep viewers, and in order to keep that bias, some context needs to be removed. But when the story is boiled down to sound bites and over-simplification, that’s when it gets extremely disappointing.

The segment of “Morning Joe” in question was when they were discussing Stephen Colbert’s testimony in front of Congress. They did the usual stripping of context, playing only the parts of Colbert’s testimony where he mentions that he would rather have his tomatoes “picked by an American, then sliced by a Guatemalan, and served by a Venezuelan, in a spa, where a Chilean gives me a Brazillian.” And then the discussion stemmed from what is definitely the most unimportant part of Colbert’s testimony.

But what became frustrating was when Mika Brzezinski referenced, and was offended by, her over-simplified back story: Colbert was testifying about a segment that he taped for his Comedy Central show “The Colbert Report.”

Yes, he did immigrant labor work for a segment on his show, but it wasn’t originally meant to be a segment. It was originally Colbert fulfilling his promise to work a day as a migrant worker as part of the UFW’s “Take Our Jobs” campaign, which asks all Americans to spend a day working as a migrant laborer. It is a brilliant idea, since the prevailing mantra among people against illegal immigration is that immigrants are taking jobs away from true Americans. If this was the case, the UFW says, then all unemployed Americans should be jumping at the chance to “take back their jobs” from the illegal immigrants.

And jump they did. The program started this summer, and to date, only 16 people have taken the offer. Not so much of a jump as it is a hop, possibly a skip.

Colbert’s testimony was meant to offer a perspective of what it is to be a migrant worker, the harsh working conditions, the extremely low pay, and the idea that you have absolutely no rights, and may very well work this job for the rest of your life, never really having made a living. And members of Congress were “surprised” that a comedian who riffs on politics for a living would dare to make a mockery of the Grand and Glorious Congress.

But the whole Colbert thing is just a small part of a bigger picture of context. With election season in full swing, political ads are saturating the air waves, especially here in Iowa. Ads put out by Republican and Tea Party committees are urging people to go out and vote to “take back America” from the evil President Obama. One ad states that Obama’s “experimental policies” have failed, because 15 million people are unemployed, the economy is still rough, and thousands of houses will be foreclosed on by the end of the day.

Never mind that the decline started in the Bush administration. Never mind that the rich in Congress, regardless of party, consistently look out for their own best interest, all but ignoring Middle America. It’s easy to look at a small chunk of something out of context and make a big deal about it, but if the “big deal” is blatantly wrong, then the whole idea of informing people with the news is no longer relevant.

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Luchar para la Ciudadanía norteamericana

Posted in current events with tags , , on August 23, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

In Friday’s blog, I talked about how the greatest idea to solve the illegal immigration is to repeal the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, the one that states that anyone born in the United States is automatically a United States citizen. In that post, I briefly mentioned the option of granting US citizenship to those who volunteer for military service. It’s a position I’ve held since the idea was brought up about three years ago, and I truly believe that it is the way to go.

I say this because it actually solves two problems. One problem that is solves is the military recruiting problem. Over the years, less and less people have been volunteering to go into the service, and even though the military can boast over 100% recruitment in all branches, it’s only because they have been lowering their goals. There is a great distrust of the military for a variety of reasons. Some feel that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan have gone on too long and don’t want to be a part of it. Others feel that all war is wrong, and they will not participate in any form.

The requirements for military enlistment has changed, also. It used to be that only men between a certain age and of certain physical fitness were allowed to enlist. Now that list has expanded: women are now allowed, the maximum age limit has been raised, and the physical condition has been relaxed slightly. And with the approaching repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, they will soon be adding openly gay servicepeople as well.

In fact, the military is already close to enacting an amnesty condition: “Noncitizens may enlist but cannot re-enlist (extend their enlistment beyond their first term of service) unless they become naturalized U.S. citizens. However, after three years of service, additional residency requirements for citizenship can be waived.” Technically, illegal immigrants can enlist in the military.

“The Military does not assist in the immigration naturalization process.” They should.

Those who come here illegally are coming for a reason, and by risking their lives to get here, they are showing that they would do anything to get here and stay here. Why not extend them the option of citizenship if they can prove their love of the country by risking their lives for it?

Obviously, there would need to be some conditions: illegal immigrants would have to serve in the military for a certain number of years, and the question of whether or not they should see active service can be discussed as well. Personally, I would even go so far as to grant citizenship to those who are injured in action. If you are willing to risk your health and your life for a country, you deserve to be a citizen of that country.

Apparently, this is a controversial position to hold, but I don’t see why. We see an increase in military recruitment, and we also see a decrease in undocumented workers. Five years of service for a green card, ten years of service for citizenship. Is that really asking too much?

Constitutionally Reprehensible

Posted in current events, politics with tags , , , on August 20, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

Illegal immigration is a topic that has been on everyone’s mind for years. How do we solve the problem of Mexicans crossing the border to steal our jobs and our welfare? How do we stop illegals from coming into the country and having their babies, in the hope that they will have a better life in the States?

Some people are suggesting changing the Constitution. Those people are stupid.

The 14th Amendment states that anyone born in the United States is automatically a US citizen, and as such, no state can stop them from having full rights as a citizen. Many politicians, mainly Republicans, are saying that the 14th Amendment should be repealed, to prevent Mexican parents from dropping “anchor babies” in the States, to stop practicing “drop and leave” tactics.

Again, these people are stupid.

To address the same thing that has been addressed over and over again, having a child in the States doesn’t mean that the parents will have automatic citizenship. The child can bring their parents back to the states, but first they have to be 21, and they have to petition the government, and then there is a ten year waiting period, and then, if all goes well, the parents may enter the US with a green card. It’s the quickest way to citizenship, right?

But the big picture that these politicians are missing is one that they don’t seem to realize: the amendment applies to everyone in the country. Mexican, Black, White, Asian, European, every person born or naturalized in the US is a citizen.

Why is that so important? Because it means that if you repeal the 14th Amendment, not only will Mexican babies not be citizens, but babies born to other people in the states won’t be citizens either.

Imagine repealing the 14th Amendment. Congratulations, no longer is there the made-up infestation of “anchor babies!” Except now, when you have a kid, you have to fill out forms for it to be an American citizen. What was once an automatic thing that you didn’t have to worry about is suddenly a necessary process for having a child. Take the wife to the hospital, deliver the baby, apply for a Social Security Number, and begin work filling out forms for naturalization: the N-400, N-300, N-600, and so many others.

So much stress, and all because you didn’t want some dirty Mexican dropping their babies in the States.

Immigration is a touchy issue all around. The question of whether to grant amnesty to immigrants who want to join the military is one that is hotly debated. The economic impact of rounding up and deporting all illegal immigrants is such that America would probably be worse off without them than they would be leaving them alone. There have been talks of either relaxing or strengthening the immigration and naturalization process, and both sides make sense. There are convincing pros and cons for every option out there, and the problem may never be solved in my lifetime.

That being said, and to be as cliche as possible, repealing the Constitution is suicide, a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I’m glad that Republican powerhouses like Lou Dobbs and Mike Huckabee are speaking out against this proposal. It puts a smile on my face knowing that there are some Republicans that can think rationally about things, and not jump at the first idea they think will work.

Rand Paul: Tea Partier, but no Libertarian

Posted in politics with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

The midterm elections are the big thing to watch for in November. Many are predicting that the frustration and the hatred of the Democrats will be the driving force for people voting Republican in the polls. And what’s even more interesting is that many Tea Party people are backing certain candidates for Senate seats. The atmosphere is as exciting as it was prior to the 2008 election: people who aren’t normally involved in politics are now rallying behind their favorite candidate that they hope will make the world a better place.

One of these Tea Party candidates is one Dr. Rand Paul from Kentucky. Dr. Paul recently won the Kentucky primaries and has a real shot at winning a Senate seat. He’s being vehemently backed by the Tea Party, even when he mentions things about the Civil Rights Movement that could possibly be considered racist. (Keith Olbermann flipped out on Twitter about the quote: “I think at one time, people used to think of golf and golf clubs and golf courses as being exclusive…. I think Tiger Woods has helped to broaden that… and so now I don’t think it’s nearly as exclusive as people once considered it to be.”)

But I recently found an open letter to Rand Paul, asking him questions that a true Libertarian would have no problem answering. But before that can make any sense, the question becomes: what exactly is a Libertarian? Libertarianism is a political theory that basically says that government needs to remain small, and that we should practice individual liberty. Libertarians believe that the people are more than perfectly able to manage themselves, and it is not the government’s place to intervene at all.

That being said, Rand Paul isn’t really a Libertarian, according to Mel M., writing to the Baltimore Sun. The most pivotal part of the letter follows:

If he is such a supporter of private rights, does he support the private right of a woman to get an abortion? Additionally, did he support the private right of Terry Schiavo’s husband to make the gut wrenching private decision on whether to pull the plug on his brain dead wife? Does he oppose the recently enacted Arizona law requiring papers of people in Arizona if the officer has merely a “reasonable suspicion” the person is here illegally?

Looking at how he stands on the issues, it is obvious that he feels the opposite. “Life,” he says under the Abortion heading, “begins at conception,” and interestingly enough, claims that “the most basic function of government is to protect life.” Being for smaller government, to me, doesn’t mean that you sic the government into the private lives of its citizens.

And while he doesn’t mention anything about the right to die on his website, under the Illegal Immigration heading, he says, “I support local solutions to illegal immigration as protected by the 10th amendment.” This apparently includes what many people claim to be one of the most racist piece of legislation since the Jim Crowe Laws.

Many are glad that Rand Paul is the Tea Party nominee, because he will be easy to tear down, with his many “gaffes,” the fact that the GOP isn’t supporting him, and the fact that he is proud to say that he’s not a politician. The Tea Party people are excited that one of their own, someone beyond sound bites and party politics, has a real chance of winning. But given the atmosphere, and the great amount of people that are against him, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

One final note: Doesn’t it seem odd that someone that is so against President Obama would take the layout of the President’s website?:

Rand Paul website
Obama website

Strange, isn’t it?