Archive for the ‘illegal immigrants’ tag
The top five are:
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla., metro area
- San Jose, Calif., metro area
- Los Angeles, Long Beach, Calif., metro
- San Francisco, Oakland area
- New York, Northern New Jersey
Phoenix, Ariz., the capital of the state in which Gov. Jan Brewer and her arrest-anyone-who-is-brown approach to immigration reform, is only 14th. Here is a piece from Richard Florida on how the list was compiled.
If you want to spend an unenlightening and sickening few minutes, go listen to members of the U.S. Congress debate health care reform on C-SPAN, in which Republican and Blue Dog Democrats summon every possible cliché, from freedom to the founders, to try to convince folks that the health care Democrat-sponsored reform bill is bankrupt. That doesn’t mention the dozens and dozens of uncited claims about the bill.
Particularly sickening were comments from Mike Pence of Indiana’s fightin’ 6th, in which he made a peculiar analogy between World War II veterans and those who might vote “Nay” on H.R. 3962. “When freedom hung in the balance, you did freedom’s work,” he said of those potentially in opposition to the bill.
The argument goes that passage of the Democrats’ health care bill will mean a loss of freedom for some in America, claiming that some residents will be forced to take policies whether they want to or not, that the private insurance agency’s freedom to persist unimpeded in denying coverage for those who need it and finally, that some sort of collective freedom will be lost if we go down the road toward “nationalized” medicine, a system in which every single developed and modern country operates under. And, every single modernized country has a higher life expectancy than people in the United States.
Jim McDermott of Washington State’s fightin’ 7th tonight made the simple and salient point that the Republicans would prefer the status quo, in which insurance companies are allowed to run roughshod, as they have for decades and that “most (people) can’t take care of their health care problems on their own.”
And Charles Rangel of New York fightin’ 15th requested that members of the House choose that “morality (would) go beyond party loyalty.”
Regardless, it is expected that the House will get the necessary 218 votes to pass the bill, but it’s not certain whether it will pass the Senate, much less some negotiated final bill to make the president’s desk.
As for my personal thoughts, the Republican plan does not ban the denial of insurance to those with pre-existing conditions, and H.R. 3962 does, and to me, that reason alone is enough to stymie the former approach. Returning to Rangel’s thoughts, the moral necessity of helping those who need it most should supercede party lines. I’ve written at length on this topic, so I haven’t put a full, rhetorical thrust behind this post. I’ve done that already here and elsewhere, but I want to include one of the more colorful remarks from George Miller from California, who had this to say:
If the Republican’s plan was a plan for a fire department, they would rush into a burning building and they would rush out and leave everybody behind. … They say their plan is inexpensive. They say their plan saves somebody money. But 10 years from now, there’s as many uninsured as now. At the end of their watch, after 12 years of control of this Congress, eight years of control of the White House at the same time, they left behind 37 million Americans without health insurance. That’s what they left behind on their watch. And now they come forth with a plan for the future, and over the next decade, they’re going to leave behind 50 million Americans! Wanna buy it? Wanna try it? Wanna sell it? Come on, America, buy this one. You’re guaranteed to be left behind if you’re left behind today. What a plan! Hah! God. … [Unintelligible exit, but it sounds like he said, "See ya."]
I’ve heard many Republicans, some of which I heard during the debate today, say that, “Well it’s not really 40 million uninsured. If we take out the illegals and the young people who don’t want (I would add, can’t afford) insurance, we are left with 5 million or more uninsured. So, I would ask, what of those 5 million? That’s still a big number. Those 5 million aren’t worth helping? What if it was 500,000? Or 100,000? Or 10,000?
We don’t know much about Armando Ojeda-Jimenez.
We know he was a 32-year-old illegal immigrant probably working in Oconee County, South Carolina in some capacity. According to his sister-in-law, he “drank a lot” and had been arrested numerous times on disorderly conduct and open container charges. We know he had a heart condition and died in jail recently after a period of nausea and vomiting. Most important of all, we know he had a family and was loved.
“He is a person, and he does belong to a family,” his sister-in-law said. “He’s been here for 10 years.”
Yes, he was probably not a saint, but viewing his disheveled countenance in the newspaper, one can’t help but feel a certain level of sympathy for the man. Let’s outline briefly the exceedingly steep ascent folks like him — immigrants seeking a better life in this country — face to get a small peek at the opportunities afforded legal Americans.
Born into poverty and into a country whose government fails to sustain its own people, there are often only two options. No. 1: Work your bones off to afford your children perhaps one toy per year for Christmas. Scratch and claw, live and die, with dirt under your fingernails, with little to show for it and little to pass on to your family. No. 2: Risk death and risk having your children grow up fatherless for the chance to create something better for them.
For those who choose the second option, jail, deportation and death aren’t the only risks involved. Couple those with challenges everyday Americans face, like a sour economy and high gas prices, and the mountain becomes nearly insurmountable. There’s no question immigrants know the risks involved. So, why do they take their chances? Because, despite the attempts of some politicians and talking heads to dehumanize them and present a purely legal, ”Deport, deport, deport” stance, their humanness inescapably drives them. Human nature seeks betterment, and our government can’t build a high or thick enough wall to keep them from attempting to clamber from their dire situation.
Thus, when hard-liners — failed solicitor candidate Sarah Drawdy’s recent and ridiculous “Deport Illegals” campaign comes to mind — treat the mass of illegals as some faceless monolith void of individual feelings, it’s both offensive and repugnant. One can’t deny that, yes, undocumented workers are here illegally, and they are breaking the law. But while laws help keep society civil, they are not handed down from God. They are often imperfect, and one only has to look at our own sundry history of Jim Crow, school segregation and slavery to confirm as much.
The Associated Press this weekend (Aug. 24) ran a story about numerous deported individuals, prisoners, women and children who not only face uncertainty on the other side, but separation from their families and acute danger once back across. Women are routinely released at night in dangerous locations with no one to call. Family men take final calls from their sons and daughters in California and elsewhere, and once in Mexico, have no recourse, their entire lives having been built on this side of the river.
And what if Mexicans and others do attempt to come here legally? The process of obtaining a legal entrance into the country is like walking a high-wire act, much more so for someone in Mexico with little resources to learn how. For instance, with an able Internet connection and a decent grasp of the English language, I searched the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services Web site for an hour and found cumbersome language, legal-speak and awkwardly placed links. Three levels deep into the site did I finally come across a naturalization guide. Once applicants have filed with the office, some, like one illegal I have spoken with, wait years while governmental wranglings take place. Others have to hire translators to attend office visits with them and are forced to forego a day’s pay just to undergo shotty customer service and terse government workers.
Thus, immigrants’ entire existence becomes a catch-22, and the deck is heavily stacked against them. They can’t stay in Mexico, and while they can come here legally, we might as well ask them to turn cartwheels while riding a unicycle. The story of Ojeda-Jimenez, like so many, was a tragic one. His sister-in-law reminded us, however, that he wasn’t just another number. Hard-liners want us to strip these people of their individuality and humanity so that when deportation time comes, we will shrug our shoulders and pride ourselves on our own blue-blooded Americanism. But I can’t take pride in destroyed lives. Ojeda-Jimenez was clearly troubled and had some demons to slay. But staring down the odds of millions like him, I can’t say that I would be in any better shape.