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Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Case for the Undocumented

“Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.” — George Washington, Farewell Address — 1796.

Jose Antonio Vargas, an illegal immigrant and former reporter, scolded a congressional panel on Wednesday, saying that he should not be called illegal, and saying it is an insult to his family who brought him here.

“When you inaccurately call me illegal, you not only dehumanize me, you’re offending them,” he said. “No human being is illegal.”

Mr. Vargas testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee alongside Chris Crane — a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent and president of the ICE agents’ union — who was unable to arrest him under the administration’s new non-deportation policies.

Mr. Vargas, who “came out” as an illegal immigrant several years ago, delivered an emotional plea for the country to legalize him.

“What do you want to do with us?” he asked the committee.

Last week, a top House Democrat also warned colleagues against using the term “illegal immigrants.”

“Our citizens are not — the people in this country are not illegal. They are out of status. They are new Americans that are immigrants,” Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, told colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee.

Many immigrant-rights advocates object to the terms “illegal” and “alien,” saying that people cannot be deemed illegal, and that the word “alien” makes them sound inhuman. They argue the better terms are “undocumented migrants.”

Many newspapers, including The Washington Times, use the phrase “illegal immigrant,” deeming it the most accurate description.

Mr. Vargas called himself an “undocumented immigrant.”

At least five other formerly illegal immigrants were guests at Tuesday’s State of the Union address, though each of those has been granted specific tentative legal status through one of the Homeland Security Department’s programs.

In a related incident a conservative congressman got into a heated exchange over immigration last week with one of his constituents who is living in the country illegally.

Two very different accounts have emerged from the Feb. 6 meeting between Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and an 18-year-old college student. But both sides say the discussion escalated into shouting that cut the meeting short, left the student in tears and stunned some staffers in Rohrabacher’s office.

The clash took place as President Obama and lawmakers are trying to pass legislation on immigration reform, one of the most divisive issues facing the 113th Congress.

According to a report in The Hill:

“Jessica Bravo, a freshman at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Calif., claims Rohrabacher initiated the hostility upon learning she is an “undocumented” immigrant. She said the congressman raised his voice, waved his finger in her face, claimed to “hate illegals” and made a veiled threat to deport her and her family.

“The moment I said that word [undocumented], it just completely changed the mood of the room,” Bravo said in a telephone interview. “He kept interrupting me and he was just, like, ‘Oh, you know, I love Mexicans, but I hate illegals.’ He was just yelling at us and pointing his fingers. I couldn’t even talk anymore because I was crying.”

Not true, says Rohrabacher’s office. Spokeswoman Tara Setmayer said it was Bravo’s chaperone — Minerva Gomez, a California-based immigration-reform advocate — who sparked the verbal battle. Gomez snapped at staffers in the room, Setmayer said, and suggested Rohrabacher’s opposition to so-called “amnesty” proposals, which would allow undocumented immigrants to remain in the country legally, is race-based.

“We didn’t initiate the tone at all,” Setmayer said.

Bravo initiated the meeting this month by filling out an online form, complete with her address, through Rohrabacher’s office, which responded almost immediately with the offer of the Feb. 6 slot, Gomez said.

Bravo met with Rohrabacher, well-known for his opposition to comprehensive immigration reform, to urge him to embrace a pathway to citizenship.

The visit was part of a much larger grassroots push this month to rally Congress behind comprehensive immigration reform, with advocates visiting 112 lawmakers last week alone, Gomez said.

Gomez rejected any suggestion that the intention was to instigate an argument in order to embarrass lawmakers who don’t support the advocates’ position.

Setmayer, who attended last week’s meeting, said Rohrabacher listened “very attentively” and remained “very polite” through most of the 10-minute talk.

Rohrabacher simply asked why illegal immigrants should receive special consideration not given to those waiting to enter the country through legal channels, Setmayer said, “and [Bravo] didn’t know how to answer it.”

“He never said anything like, ‘Illegals should be kicked out,’ ” Setmayer said.

The tension arose, Setmayer said, after Gomez accused Rohrabacher of opposing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants because of the “color of their skin.” Setmayer, who is bi-racial, said she interjected at that point to dispute the notion that race was the issue. What happened next is in dispute.

Setmayer said Gomez responded rudely with, “I’m not talking to you,” which prompted Rohrabacher to tell Gomez “very sternly” that he wouldn’t allow her “to disrespect his staff or his office.”

Gomez, a community organizer with the Orange County Congregation Community Organization, said Rohrabacher and his staff were “never interested in listening” to Bravo’s story and continually interrupted her with “derogatory language” about “illegal aliens.”

Rohrabacher holds strong views on immigration, as evidenced by the biography on his website, which states he is “committed to securing our borders and a staunch opponent of amnesty for illegal immigrants.”

These two recent examples illustrate how the progressive left is able to hijack the language and turn a simple concept, like illegal immigrant, into a political correct term such as “undocumented migrant”. No matter how you look at it illegal means illegal. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary the term illegal means:

“Not according to or authorized by law: unlawful, illicit; also: not sanctioned by official rules.”

An example would be: In this state, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol.

When one person commits an illegal act such as murder, rape, bank robbery, or drug trafficking they are normally arrested and charged. But when 11 million people illegally enter the country they become a special interest group with political clout and are able to set the agenda, control the dialogue, and influence politicians who pander to their supporters for their votes.

Consider if this political correctness were used for all illegal acts. Would a bank robber be an undocumented account holder or a rapist being an undocumented consenting sexual partner? How about a home invader being an undocumented house guest or a shoplifter being an undocumented shopper? Would a car jacker be an undocumented driver and a drug dealer being an undocumented pharmacist? Then if you are caught speeding you could explain to the police that you are an undocumented NASCAR driver.

You may find these examples silly and facetious but today this is what is happening in our country. The 11 million immigrants who have entered our country illegally now have become a special class of victims and are gaining political power with the progressive politicians who want to eventually obtain their vote and the mainstream media that wants to advance their cause for amnesty.

In his State of the Union Address President Obama had this to say about illegal immigration and immigration reform:

“Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my administration's already made, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years. Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship, a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally.

And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods and attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy.

In other words, we know what needs to be done. And as we speak, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts. So let's get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away. And America will be better for it.”

In the Republican Response to Obama’s SOTU address Marco Rubio said:

“We can also help our economy grow if we have a legal immigration system that allows us to attract and assimilate the world’s best and brightest. We need a responsible, permanent solution to the problem of those who are here illegally. But first, we must follow through on the broken promises of the past to secure our borders and enforce our laws.”

In the official Tea Party Response Rand Paul stated:

“We are the party that embraces hard work and ingenuity; therefore we must be the party that embraces the immigrant who wants to come to America for a better future. We must be the party who sees immigrants as assets, not liabilities. We must be the party that says, “If you want to work, if you want to become an American, we welcome you.”

You might notice that all three politicians used the words “legal” and “illegal” not “documented” and “undocumented”. And all three expressed a desire to legally change our immigration policies so that our borders are secure and we deal with those who are illegally in an orderly fashion. Neither Obama Rubio, nor Paul mentioned amnesty or race. However, I am sure that no matter organization like MALDEF, MEChA, LULAC, the ACLU, and the Southern Poverty Law Center will continue to fight for full and immediate amnesty and full citizenship so these 11 million illegal immigrants can vote for Democrats.

If we cannot recapture the terms and toss out this political correct nonsense law abiding American citizens will lose this fight. Illegal is illegal no matter how you look at it.

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