Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In an odd twist, I come to the defense of W

Let me lead off by saying that I didn't watch Bush's seventh and final State of the Union address last night. I haven't been able to stomach watching him speak from early on in his first term. His vacant beady eyes typically reveal that he does not seem to understand the meaning of the words that he's reading from the teleprompter, and his habit of smirking and bobbing his head as if to say, "nailed it!" when he completes a sentence or word pronunciation that he probably mangled in rehearsals propels me to want to chuck something at the TV.

I have read more than a few articles from those who did watch it. I've noticed that Bush is catching some heat for his comment during the address, "Illegal immigration is complicated.." as if this were the newest Bushism. I've noticed that some people have adopted it as the signature of their email account like it's the, "Put food on your family" of 2008.

But the thing is, he's right. Illegal immigration is a very complicated issue.

The myth of illegal immigration is that these men and women are coming to the US to suck off the welfare tit. Every week people come to my church, UCC of Simi Valley, to protest because they don't agree with our decision to offer Sanctuary to Liliana, a woman who is at risk of being separated from her husband and three children, American Citizens all, because of a deportation order. The protesters stand at the curb and hold placards with simple slogans and repeat these through their megaphones. They hold the view that the issue and solution to illegal immigration is simple: build a wall, and then arrest and deport anyone who did not come to the US through legal means.

They're wrong.

People come to the US to work. They do that in a way that honors the Puritan work ethic that our country holds dear.

Employers benefit and encourage this cheap source of labor, one where overtime laws don't apply, workers compensation claims aren't made, and at times the employers take advantage of the workers. I'll never forget a story that a coworker told me; she said that the men that her contractor used to complete the remodel on her home came to her door and told her that the contractor had not paid them. He had taken the money from my coworker, but not honored his agreement with the guys that earned him that money. We carry this myth that illegal immigrants come to take advantage of us, but the truth is probably quite the opposite. We even go as far as defining them by changing an adjective to a noun and calling these men and women, "illegals"

What President Bush said is, "Illegal immigration is complicated, but it can be resolved, and it must be resolved in a way that upholds both our laws and our highest ideals."

"We also need to acknowledge that we will never fully secure our border until we create a lawful way for foreign workers to come here and support our economy."

"We must also find a sensible and humane way to deal with people here illegally."

I'm hopeful that we can find a way to work together and see the complicated issue resolved. That'd be a heckava job.

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