Friday, 20 April 2012 00:00
As decent human beings, we ought to care about the peace and prosperity and happiness of other people everywhere.
Mediating peace in places of conflict, giving humanitarian aid in the wake of natural disasters and shunning all wars except those fought in self-defense is a manifestation of that caring. But, we are also citizens of a sovereign state and we should care more about the welfare of our fellow citizens who obey our laws and respect our culture, language and customs than the citizens of foreign countries who have entered our country illegally and, in a few cases, demonstrate their ignorance and contempt for said culture, language and customs. It is for the latter that Maryann Sinclair Slutsky of Long Island Wins expresses her supposed affection in screed after shrill screed in the pages of this newspaper.
Indeed, it’s astonishingly easy to be branded a “racist,” “bigot” and an intolerant “hate monger” by Ms. Sinclair Slutsky. Just insist that immigrants enter America legally and peacefully, have no criminal record or terrorist affiliation, possess a skill that’s in short supply amongst U.S. citizens (surgeon, engineer, physician) and learn to speak English. Most American citizens would probably agree with this and so, consequently, her professed adoration for illegal immigrants is proportional for her contempt for American citizens. (Since illegal immigration is chiefly championed by corporate America and the politicians that serve corporate America as a source of people who can be exploited as disposable commodities, I doubt its advocates care much about the immigrant people themselves.)
Ms. Sinclair Slutsky’s recent take on the DREAM Act is especially disquieting, as it would give legal protections to criminal behavior. Many illegal immigrants have children raised in America but who, through their parent’s illegal activity, don’t have citizenship status or the benefits thereof. The DREAM Act is supposed to address this situation. It’s difficult to resist on humanitarian grounds because nobody, in theory, should be denied something because of their parent’s wrongdoing. If the children of illegal immigrants have a right to the blessings conveyed by the DREAM Act, then why don’t the children of U.S. citizens have a right to benefit from their parent’s illegal actions? Millions have been downsized, outsourced, are unemployed and underemployed. People with bachelor’s and master’s degrees – like many of my friends – are out of work or are employed as sales clerks and fast-food workers. (Jobs they landed by leaving “college experience” blank on the job application.) Many are on food stamps and other governmental assistance programs and don’t have Long Island Wins or the Roman Catholic Church to notice their plight or champion their well-being. In a society in which people are passionate about the rights of stray cats, child murderers on death row and fetuses the size of peanuts, nobody seems to care about the people who are the backbone of society; they’ve become outcasts, unwanted foreigners in their own country. Under the circumstances, why shouldn’t they undertake a string of robberies or sell drugs and why shouldn’t their children – facing the prospect of a life of poverty – not be legally permitted to keep the cash acquired from these undertakings?
I certainly have no problem with legal immigrants or legal immigration. I have friends and extended family members who are legal immigrants. And the rest of my friends and family – except for one who’s an American Indian tribal elder – are descendants of immigrants. Indeed, my 5-year old daughter is the descendant of Francis Cooke, who arrived on The Mayflower to America in 1620. I appreciate the hardship and the gut-wrenching decision many make when they leave behind their family land homes to find a better life if only because I know that one day, that decision will be my daughter’s. But where is the DREAM Act for the people who were born here?