Illegal Immigrants want to be Legal

I read the article at the link below this morning in the Detroit Free Press, and was struck by the comment by Elena Herrada (a Detroit based activist for Latinos Unidos).

http://www.freep.com/article/20100430/NEWS05/4300342/1001/News/Immigration-reform-backers-to-rally

In her quoted comment, Herrada says “They don’t want to be considered criminals.  They want to be able to drive cars legally, have their parents safe….. They are right and they will win.”

This struck me as ironic, since if what illegal immigrants desire is legitimacy and legal rights, that is very easy to attain.  Just head on back to whatever country you’re a citizen of, where you have full rights and privileges of citizenship.

But, if you’re illegally here, you ARE a criminal, based on our laws, and you DON’T have the same rights as citizens of this country.

The article further describes seven students, of whom four are “undocumented” immigrants (i.e. “Illegal” immigrants), who are walking from Detroit to Ann Arbor to push for immigration reform.

Frankly, I have no issue whatever with the three students who ARE here legally protesting, making their views known, and participating in our democratic process.

I have a major problem with “undocumented” immigrants protesting anything, anywhere in this country.

I think immigration reform is definitely needed in this country, although I suspect my definition of “reform” may be different than that of the activists portrayed in this story.

If someone is here illegally, they should be deported, and the laws of our country upheld.  It’s pretty straightforward – as citizens, we don’t owe illegal trespassers anything.

And, again, for the record, I want to state categorically that I am strongly in favor of immigration, but it must be in accordance with our laws.

I have no ax to grind with Hispanics, Latinos, Mexicans, Asians, or any ethnic group represented by large numbers of illegal immigrants.

I have spent a lot of time in South America and Mexico, speak Spanish and Portuguese, have a tremendous amount of respect and affinity for the various Hispanic cultures and Hispanics, and my opposition to illegal immigration has absolutely nothing to do with where illegal immigrants come from.  It has everything to do with the fact that they are here illegally.

The bottom line is, if you want to drive legally here, you need to BE here legally.

If you are NOT here legally, you need to go home.

Michigan’s New No-Smoking Law

Michigan’s new no smoking law takes effect tomorrow, May 1.

The law bans smoking in restaurants, bars, or workplaces with more than 1 employee.

I know that a lot of smokers are upset about the loss of “freedom”, but frankly, I believe that my freedom to breathe clean air outweighs their freedom to pollute that air with second-hand smoke.

I suspect that many bar owners will be pleasantly surprised to find that they gain new clientele who would never subject themselves to the smoke-filled atmosphere of most bars.

Personally, I’m happy about this new law.

Finally, the Palestinians are Ready to Condemn Violence Against Civilians

Take a look at the article in this link, then continue reading:

Click Here

Wonderful!  Finally, the PA is obviously ready to condemn violence against civilians!

But, wait!  They’re condemning violence in what appears to be suspicious circumstances in which 4 Palestinians were killed by Israeli soldiers.

The Israeli army disciplined (including dismissing some of them from the army) several soldiers for the incidents.

I think it’s wonderful that the Palestinians are hoping “that the Israeli army would punish those soldiers in a way that will deter others from doing the same”.

I assume that this means that the Palestinians will now start to punish any Palestinian who participates or plans attacks against Jewish civilians.

I mean, obviously, they abhor unjustified violence and expect perpetrators to be punished, so it seems logical to expect that they would mete out punishment when the shoe is on the other foot.

But, I suspect, unfortunately, that that is just a pipe dream in these days when suicide or homicide bombers are martyrs for whom squares and streets are named, and in a time when acts of wanton terror are glorified by the same Palestinian Authority now appalled at the violence by soldiers trying respectively to quell a riot and to subdue what they thought was a violent attack upon them at a checkpoint.

When the Palestinians accept that violence on either side is abhorrent, then perhaps there will actually be hope for a peaceful future.

In the meantime, their crocodile tears are truly unimpressive.

We Are All Israelis

We Are All Israelis”

Michael Ledeen – PajamasMedia,  April 25th, 2010
http://www.israelunitycoalition.org/news/?p=5391

This afternoon I spoke to a rally in New York organized by Beth Gilinsky’s Action Alliance. The big crowd, despite miserable weather, filled the sidewalk on Second Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets.  Lots of terrific speakers spoke passionately about the need to support Israel against the shocking treatment from American leaders.  Here are my prepared remarks:

We are at war. It’s a global war. It extends from Pakistan and Afghanistan to India, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and from there towards Israel and then down to Egypt, Sudan and Somalia, and west to Europe and ultimately to America. It targets Canada and Australia, Honduras and Colombia, and all those who challenge fanatical intolerance and instead advocate freedom.  It is a continuation of the ancient war of tyranny against freedom, a war that will endure so long as freedom threatens the power and legitimacy of monarchs and dictators.

That war — a war of awesome dimensions, a war with a long and bloody history — is not the consequence of this or that unpopular policy but above all of beliefs we are not even supposed to pronounce nowadays: the crazed visions of Muslim extremists who are waging jihad against us. And the beliefs of radical secular extremists who share the goals of jihad.

That war is being waged by people who hate America and Israel, as they hate Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, and those many Muslims who want to live in peace.

What? Did you forget that the Taliban destroyed statues of Buddha? Does anybody believe that they would have been spared if there were peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority?

Yet there are those — people in positions of great prestige and power, some in government, some in the press, some in the universities — who insist that all would be well if only Prime Minister Netanyahu told a few Jews they can’t live in a certain neighborhood of Jerusalem. That Israel’s enemies — who are also OUR enemies — would scrap their global jihad if only there were one more Arab country in the Middle East.

To demonstrate their conviction that Israel is the problem, these people treat Israel’s enemies — who are also OUR enemies — with greater respect than they showed Israelis.  Prime Minister Netanyahu is treated as an unwelcome guest at the White House while radical Islamists are constantly asked, very politely, to be reasonable and to become our friends.

Sometimes they even receive a bow.

This is folly. It is morally corrupt and strategically misguided. Consider the case of Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terrorists. The Islamic Republic of Iran declared war on the United States in 1979, and has waged war against us for 31 years. Iranian-supported terrorists, alongside Iranian military personnel, are killing American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan today, at the same time that they are organizing lethal assaults against Israeli civilians and military personnel. Even today Hezbollah is receiving new rockets and missiles, new intelligence assessments, new supplies of ammunition, directly from Iran. And yet, in all these years, the United States has never directly challenged Iran, never made that dreadful regime pay an appropriate price for the murders it has committed and supported.

Anyone who looks clearly at the Iranian regime knows that the mullahs make no distinction between the United States and Israel except a geographical one:  Israel is closer. But both are targeted for destruction. When thousands of Iranians are mobilized in the streets to chant “death to America!” — what do you think they mean?

The Iranians have been doing these things for 31 years. They are not a response to apartment flats in Jerusalem. They are acts of an evil regime fully committed to the destruction of the United States and of Israel.

And yet, the prime minister of Israel is singled out for public humiliation while the supreme leader of Iran is addressed respectfully. Israeli housing policy is considered a greater threat to peace than Iranian attacks against Americans and Israelis.  While there is much talk about sanctions and about the Iranian nuclear program, we are not doing anything against the Iranian terrorists and their proxies: Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, Islamic Jihad, and the many others, including Al Qaeda.

It is folly. It is morally corrupt and strategically misguided.  Instead of fighting our enemies, we direct our moral outrage against Israel’s unquestioned right to govern its own capital city. This must change.

The American people understand this much better than American leaders. Republicans understand that better than Democrats, and American Christians understand it better than American Jews. Just the other day the Anti-Defamation League issued a special report, not about the alarming and disgusting increase in anti-Semitism in this country, including vulgar accusations of dual loyalty (or, as Harvard’s Prof. Walt slyly prefers to put it, conflict of interest) against American Jews in the government, but rather against the miniscule and marginal militia movement in the United States, which is being dealt with quite effectively by our law enforcement bodies.

Afraid or embarrassed to deal with the real threat to both Israel and the United dates, our leaders prefer to conjure up fantastic bogeymen, from builders of apartment buildings to militias. The bogeymen are the politically correct substitutes for the very real threat that actually menaces our security and perhaps even our survival.

Where are the so-called leaders of the big American Jewish organizations? Where are the Presidents of major American universities? As Mayor Koch put it so well, the silence is deafening. We all know that in the 1930s, most American Jewish leaders failed to speak out against the indifference of the political class to the plight of the European Jews. It is less well known that American universities were similarly silent, that outspoken Nazi supporters and apologists continued to teach in such distinguished places as Harvard and the University of Chicago, and that they continued to teach at such places long after the Second World War was over.

Is it Groundhog Day all over again? Will we remain silent as we did in the past? Or will we join with the great majority of our fellow citizens and insist that Israel is entitled to greater respect than her enemies and that our leaders must recognize that Israel’s enemies are OUR enemies too?

Those of us who have gathered here today know that those who threaten Israel threaten America too.  In this moment of great crisis the overwhelming majority of Americans know that, just as our friends around the world proclaimed on September 11, 2001, “we are all Americans,” so today “we are all Israelis.”

Gaza Humanitarian Aid

The following is presented as a “public service announcement”, to emphasize the fact that although Israel has a blockade of Gaza in place, they most definitely are not “starving” the population of Gaza.  There are many truckloads of humanitarian aid getting through daily.

The Week’s Assistance to Gaza: April 27, 2010
by Hana Levi Julian

(Copied from Arutz Sheva, http://www.IsraelNationalNews.com)

An official ban on commercial trade with Israel has not stopped the Palestinian Authority from allowing Gaza to accept weekly deliveries of thousands of tons of humanitarian aid.

Last week, from April 18 to April 24, a total of 439 truckloads bearing 10,983 tons of various food items and other essential products made their way from Israel through the various Gaza crossings, according to the IDF Coordinator of Governmental Activities in the Territories (CoGAT).

Among the food items were 57 truckloads of fruits and vegetables, 42 truckloads of wheat, 24 truckloads of meat, chicken and fish products, 35 truckloads of dairy products and 13 truckloads of sugar.

Dry goods included 31 truckloads of hygiene products and 18 truckloads of clothing and shoes.

At the Karni Crossing, 104 truckloads of animal feed were transferred through the massive conveyer terminal.

At the Nahal Crossing fuel terminal, 1.046 million liters of diesel fuel were pumped into Gaza for the power station, and 99,500 liters of diesel fuel were transferred for regular transportation purposes. In addition, 19,980 liters of gasoline and 502 tons of cooking gas were pumped through the terminal.

Traffic was steady at the Erez Crossing as well, where 228 PA Arab residents of Gaza – medical patients and their escorts – crossed into Israel to travel to various destinations for treatment, including to areas in Judea and Samaria. An additional 50 Gazans entered Israel for various other reasons as well.

Also crossing through the Erez terminal were 149 staff members of international non-governmental aid organizations who entered Gaza, and 146 staff members who crossed from Gaza into Israel.

Immigration Enforcement in Arizona – My Thoughts

http://immigration.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000845

Some facts (based on reports from the Dept. of Homeland Security) about the demographics of illegal immigrants and where in the USA they live. Very interesting. Note that the illegal population of Arizona swelled from 330,000 to 560,000 from 2000 to 2008.

I’m posting this following the signing of the new Arizona law regarding police enforcement of immigration law.

From the numbers, you can see that the problem has worsened significantly (a 70% increase in the illegal population is a significant number).

Given the lack of effective Federal activity to contain this increase, Arizona has decided to try to do something about it.  There are a number of other states consulting with Arizona about how their law was drafted, and why, with the aim to copy Arizona’s lead.

While there are many people who are certain that this law will lead to racial profiling (of Hispanics), it is not clear that that is the intent or the outcome.  Obviously, only time will tell.

However, to those calling this law “racist”, you should know that by far, the largest number of illegal immigrants in the USA are Hispanic, with over 7 million (61%) from Mexico alone.

Another 1.65 million (14%) are from Central and South America, with the balance from Asia (about 8%) and other, unlisted countries.

While profiling, on its face, is odious and contrary to principles of fairness, the makeup of illegal immigrants’ demographics does lead to the question of how you stem illegal immigration if you can’t target populations that are more likely, based on statistics, to contain illegals.

I don’t know if what Arizona is doing is the answer, whether it’s constitutional, or whether it violates Federal laws.

I DO know that illegal immigrants and their facilitators (Coyotes, Employers, etc.) typically flout our laws with impunity, and frankly, I don’t appreciate it.

Unless and until our immigration laws are changed to make it easier to immigrate, enforcement should be strict.

I’ve seen on the news recently that illegals and their supporters are demonstrating for rights here in the USA.  Frankly, I find these demonstrations to be beyond offensive – we owe them nothing – they are here illegally, in violation of our laws and borders.

My personal opinion, by the way, is that immigration strengthens us as a nation, and the diversity created by allowing in different ethnic groups is good for us.  I am in favor of changing the rules.

But, until we do, I want the laws enforced, including arresting and deporting anyone who is here illegally.  If the Federal government is going to do it, then great.  If they’re not, someone else will (and should).

Let’s talk about Tolerance

What is “Tolerance”?

Webster defines “Tolerance” (in the context of this article) as:

“2 a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own b : the act of allowing something

It’s clear that our modern world is sorely lacking in tolerance of opposing views.

We can see this daily in interviews, articles, protests, and general discourse on the web in which one party verbally annihilates (and sometimes threatens to do the same physically) another party or parties with whose views they disagree.  We see it in our congress, where Democrats and Republicans are intolerant of each others’ views, where Democrats denigrate “Tea Partiers” as “Racist” because they disagree with the way things are being done.

There appears to be very little effort on either side to understand what motivates the other side, or to try to find some reasonable compromise that both sides can live with (i.e. “Consensus”).  Most rational people who have been involved in business negotiations strive for “win win” outcomes, knowing going in that neither side is likely to get everything they really want.

But, on a deeper, more disturbing level, the absence of tolerance manifests itself in much darker ways.

When the government of Israel does something people don’t like, we see demonstrations all over the world calling for gas chambers.  We see references to the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” (a fictitious, slanderous document extremely prejudicial to Jews).  We see calls for boycotts of Israeli companies, divestiture of Israeli companies, and calls to forbid Israeli academics from participating in international forums.  We also see Israeli athletes singled out for discriminatory treatment.

All of these show a severe lack of tolerance and much worse, a trend toward anti-Semitism.  I think it is clear that the government of Israel, a sovereign country, is not the same as all members of the Jewish faith worldwide.

Jews worldwide have very divergent opinions on what Israel should and shouldn’t do, yet the calls “All Jews to the Gas Chambers” (heard in US cities very recently!) do not discriminate between Jews and Israel.

Even within Israel, there are many divergent views on what should be done and what CAN be done to end the state of war between Israel and most of the Arab world (with the exception of Jordan and Egypt).

What puzzles me in all this is that there is so much vitriol against Israel, which is, in reality, caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place, while at the same time, there is tremendous support for Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, and the other various Muslim/Arab terror groups.

The “tolerance” shown for the behavior of these groups is astounding.

People who would destroy Israel for having checkpoints at which people have to wait in the sun for hours, so suicide/homicide bombers can’t get through to Israeli cities, think nothing of applauding as humanitarians and victims, regimes that would not tolerate their protests for a moment were they to occur on their soil.

In Gaza, protesters are routinely shot.  Fatah members who dissent with the Hamas viewpoint are shot, or worse.

Gays cannot come out of the closet in any Arab or Muslim country of which I’m aware, for fear that they will be killed.

In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive cars (at all!), go out in public without being accompanied by a male relative, must keep their faces and bare skin covered at all times when in public.

In Dubai, a British couple is on trial for public display of affection – they were kissing.

In Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and other countries, adulterers are routinely stoned to death, homosexuality doesn’t exist (wink wink), dissenting opinion is suppressed with real bullets, indiscriminately fired into crowds, and minorities have a very hard time surviving – you can bet they keep their heads down.

So why are these countries considered the “moderates” while Israel is considered the devil?  Why do “liberals” care so much about the plight of the Palestinians, who in reality, suffer under a relatively benign occupation (i.e. there aren’t mass executions of civilians, mass arrest and torture, etc. like in many parts of Africa), albeit they would like their own country, which I fully understand?

As I mentioned before, Israel is between a rock and a hard place.

They cannot simply walk away from the West Bank unilaterally – that would draw the ire of the whole world.

They cannot negotiate with the Palestinians because, well, the Palestinians refuse to negotiate, preferring instead to have the American president do it for them.

The cannot negotiate with the Palestinians, also, because there is no clear Palestinian government with which to negotiate – Hamas rules Gaza, and has emphatically stated that they will never recognize Israel’s right to exist.

The West Bank is ruled by the PA (Palestinian Authority), a descendant of the old Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), but, popular support is rapidly growing for Hamas.

So who is Israel supposed to negotiate with?  What assurances, other than their military strength, do they have that any deal struck with the PA will be honored by the next government, which will in all likelihood be run by Hamas?

What assurances does Israel have that the next administration in the United States will honor any agreements?  We’ve already seen that President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton summarily refused to honor agreements made by the last administration, and in fact, have behaved abominably with respect to agreements made with them (e.g. building in Jerusalem was specifically excluded from any agreements about building in the West Bank, yet Obama and Clinton turned that into a major issue even though they had agreed to it personally).

So, let’s talk just a bit more about “Tolerance”.

In Israel, Arabs, regardless of religion (there are Christians, Muslims, Druze, and others), are accorded full citizenship, with Arab representatives in the Knesset (Parliament).  Aside from army service, they have the same rights and responsibilities, by law, as do Jewish citizens.

Why is it that Israel, a Jewish state, is TOLERANT of its Arab minority, while the PA and Hamas insist that no Jews will be allowed to live in their territory?  Why is it that Jews cannot enter Saudi Arabia?  Why did Jews leave most of the Arab countries in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s, mostly without compensation for goods, homes, bank accounts, etc., and this is accepted, while Arabs leaving Israel are not acceptable?

Tolerance is supposed to go both directions.

In order to get tolerance, you have to give it.

I see no reciprocity on the part of most of the world, especially the Arab and Muslim world, and frankly, worry for the future of the world if Israel can be singled out and ostracized simply because it’s a Jewish nation.  And, let’s face it, there really is no other explanation for why this piddly little conflict takes up so much space in the world’s newspapers and tv screens….