We’ll take yours, if we can send some of ours

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

—from “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus, which appears on a plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty

By now you’ve probably heard of the U.S. House of Representative’s legislation that, if passed through both houses of Congress, would make illegal immigration a felony.

A recent Reno Gazette-Journal article reported that some 700, mostly Hispanic, middle and high school students skipped class to march in protest of the legislation.

The RG-J article quoted one Jazmine Aguirre, 15, a student at Spanish Springs High School, who had this to say: “It’s unfair what Bush is doing,” she said. “We’re out here today to stop it. It’s just not right.”

OK, newsflash to misguided and overly emotional students. Immigration laws are passed by Congress, not the president. (And on a side note, the president has asked Congress to pass a “guest-worker” program, so what’s with the Bush bashing?)

Then again, considering the “adults” who supported this protest, why should I be surprised that they don’t get it either?

Here was Rosa Molina, an immigrant-rights advocate for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada: “I think this is a good thing that the youth are willing to fight for the rights,” said Molina, who also works as the immigration coordinator at Nevada Hispanic Services. “This is a united front now—from young to old. Even the undocumented are not afraid now to stand up for their rights.”

OK, let me see if I have this straight. A group of people show up en masse both uninvited and in contravention of U.S. immigration law, but they have “rights?”

Yeah, that makes sense. Or perhaps it doesn’t.

I recognize that it is perfectly understandable that those less fortunate would seek a better life elsewhere. We also have a system of legalized immigration that provides ways for immigrants seeking a better life to do just that. But if the estimated 11.5 million illegals couldn’t be bothered to do it the right way in the first place, then I don’t much care that they suffer the consequences now. Besides, we have enough trouble taking care of our own poor, sick, elderly and downtrodden without importing more.

But, according to Democrats and those student protesters, we couldn’t run the economy without all those “undocumented workers,” right?

Well, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, (pewhispanic.org/reports/report.php?ReportID=61), there were “about 7.2 million unauthorized migrants that were employed in March 2005.” They comprised about “24 percent of all workers employed in farming occupations, 17 percent in cleaning, 14 percent in construction and 12 percent in food preparation.” Hardly overwhelming numbers, but it does prove that prior to the hordes of illegals showing up, the crops were getting picked, houses were getting cleaned, buildings were constructed, and the food was getting cooked.

In any event, the protesters and I share one belief, namely that criminal prosecution seems rather self-defeating. I believe I have a more workable solution: For every two “undocumented workers” that are made “legitimate,” we get to deport one malfunctioning moron who—despite living in the world’s wealthiest nation, full of opportunity—can’t seem to get his or her shit together and become a functioning, productive member of society. (This would be half the Democratic constituency.)

At least those breaking the law to get into the country seem to have no problem doing that.