Here’s a question I’d like to see answered: when you leave your home, do you lock your door?

I can’t answer for you, but I do. The phrase, “a man’s home is his castle” certainly applies to me, and I rule here as a benevolent monarch, just as long as my wife allows me. I don’t lock up my house because I hate people, but because I want to know who is in my home. People have no right to enter my home without permission to do so.

“You’re just one of those weird types who hates people!” Ah, no, I just said I don’t. I just simply believe in boundaries, and no one should enter my home without being invited in first. Just like vampires. But if you’re invited, then you’re more than welcome in my home. Several years ago, I received a request from a friend passing through town. She wanted to know if she could crash for the night. I happily told her that she should consider herself at home, but she’d have to let herself in since we were out of the state at the time. I trusted her to be a good guest in our home and to make sure it was properly locked up once she left. She didn’t disappoint.

So you need to be invited to enter my home. I don’t care whether you come in to steal my stuff or just to clean things up, like Sue Warren.

Police in Westlake say Sue Warren of Elyria broke into a home last week and began tidying up, but she didn’t take anything. They say she then wrote out a bill for $75 on a napkin and included her name and address.

One officer says Warren told him she does it all the time. Only now, she’s in jail on a burglary charge.

Wow. Imagine being arrested for burglary, just for doing jobs that people don’t want to do. OK, that’s a little snarky, but I think you can see where I’m going. Just as my home is my castle, and I reserve the right to admit only the people I choose, this same principle extends to the borders of the United States. We have rules in place to determine who may enter and who may stay. We may choose to amend these rules, but if we simply ignore them and turn a blind eye to those who break them, it sends a clear message to scofflaws and squatters that they can trespass with impunity. If this goes on, eventually certain parts of our nation may become too dangerous for law-abiding citizens to inhabit.

Let me be clear about this: I don’t care where you came from. American citizens came from all over the world. We’re proud mutts, and most of us can trace our ancestry to half a dozen nations or more. Since America has always selected its citizens for excellence, the result has been astounding diversity, and we’re better and stronger for it. But would-be citizens have always had to go through the process of naturalization. We want more Americans, but we want them to be here legally. We welcome visitors from other nations, but they must maintain valid visas to stay here.

Bob Gorrell - Your house is our house

This Thursday will be our second Soup Night of the year. The last time we made three soups and had about ten people to gobble them up. So far we’re on track to entertain many more this time. We supply the soup at these gatherings, but people are responsible for bringing their own bowls and spoons, and maybe some bread, too. Since it was well received last time, we’ll probably continue Soup Night every month or two just because it’s fun. My wife reminds me it’s also delicious. But if we ever reach a point where total strangers start walking into my house, picking up bowls and scarfing down food like Goldilocks, we’ll stop having Soup Night.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I love guests, whether in my home or in my nation. But people who break in, regardless of their motive, get my dander up. It’s nice that some of them are cleaning up and doing chores around the place, but that doesn’t change the fact that they broke the law to get in. Such “guests” need to be shown the door. And if we lock our door at home, it makes sense to lock the nation’s door as well.

Cross-posted at Rotten Chestnuts.

Here is the third of my posts inspired by an editorial cartoon this week. Today’s was drawn by Michael Ramirez back in May, and it’s more applicable today.

Mexico's illegal alien hypocrisy

One of the complaints about the Arizona bill, as expressed by President Obama, was the terrifying scenario of some peace-loving Hispanic family going out to get some ice cream some evening and getting detained by the Arizona police for the crime of Driving While Hispanic.

Baloney.

The Arizona law specifically states that a person cannot be stopped merely because he looks like he’s not an American. That person must first be doing something that warrants police attention like shoplifting, speeding, violence, etc. And then only if the officer has a reason to suspect that the person in question was here illegally could he then ask about his citizenship. In Mexico, the police have the authority to detain and question anyone they like and ask about their citizenship, but I’ve already written about the problems with illegals crossing the southern border.

I said that this cartoon is more applicable today because U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton struck down parts of the Arizona law:

The provisions blocked by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton included one requiring a police officer to determine the immigration status of a person detained or arrested if the officer believed the person was not in the country legally.

Bolton also halted provisions requiring immigrants to carry their papers at all times and making it illegal for people without proper documents to tout for work in public places.

Opponents of the Arizona law are applauding this ruling of Judge Bolton. One of their arguments against the law was based on it creating a patchwork of laws in the U.S. instead of one coherent law, but the Arizona law is merely enforcing the federal laws already on the books. How is that creating a patchwork of laws? On the other hand, there are plenty of sanctuary cities in the U.S., cities that have declared themselves friendly to illegal aliens and provide them sanctuary from federal laws. That is where the true patchwork of laws is in effect, but the federal government doesn’t say “boo” about them because the federal officials agree with them, regardless of what the law actually says.

Law professor William A. Jacobson wrote about this ruling today:

The Judge’s reasoning, particularly that the status check provision violated the 4th Amendment even as to persons already under arrest, applies just as easily to [outstanding warrants, child support orders, and non-immigration identity checks].

With a federal government which refuses to take action at the border until there is a deal on “comprehensive” immigration reform, meaning rewarding lawbreakers with a path to citizenship, this decision will insure a sense of anarchy. The law breakers have been emboldened today, for sure.

As it stands this afternoon, it is perfectly rational for someone faced with the choice of obeying the immigration laws or not, to choose not to do so. The choice of lawlessness makes a lot more sense than spending years winding through the byzantine legal immigration system, because the end result will be the same but lawlessness gets you here more quickly.

When the law and the federal government reward lawlessness, something is very wrong.

And finally, Rush Limbaugh put it pretty succinctly — “It is no longer illegal to be illegal, but it is illegal to ask someone about their immigration status.”

The Drudge Report linked to a Reuters news report about the response to the recent Arizona law against illegal aliens.

Protest organizers said on Wednesday outrage over the Arizona law — which seeks to drive illegal immigrants out of the state bordering Mexico — has galvanized Latinos and would translate into a higher turnout for May Day rallies in more than 70 U.S. cities.

“The marches and demonstrations are going to be far more massive than they otherwise would have been,” said Juan Jose Gutierrez, a Los Angeles rally organizer who runs an immigration assistance company.

First, May Day, among other things, is a celebration of socialism. And socialism isn’t anything that makes this red-blooded American feel like celebrating. I’m old enough to remember the May Day demonstrations of Soviet military might parading through Red Square. And I’m certain I’ll see plenty of socialist / communist flags and demonstrators mixed in with the other demonstrators in favor of illegal aliens.

Confused Protestors

Yes, even illegal aliens have rights. They have the right to live in their own country. They have the right to legally visit and even work in the United States. But they do not have the right to illegally enter this nation, just like we don’t have the right to illegally enter another nation.

And as I have pointed out before, Mexico treats their illegal aliens harshly. In fact, an AP report shows that the Mexico law is far harsher today in Mexico than the new Arizona law even thinks of being:

Central American migrants are frequently pulled off trains, kidnapped en masse, held at gang hideouts and forced to call relatives in the U.S. to pay off the kidnappers. Such kidnappings affect thousands of migrants each year in Mexico, the report says.

Many are beaten, raped or killed in the process.

At present, Article 67 of Mexico’s Population Law says, “Authorities, whether federal, state or municipal … are required to demand that foreigners prove their legal presence in the country, before attending to any issues.”

Here in the U.S., and even after the Arizona law goes into effect, people of any origin, legal or not, will still be able to attend school, go to the emergency room, and call the police. Under the new Arizona law a police officer may question the legal status of people if they suspect that they are here illegally. Under the current Mexican law, all authorities must ascertain the status of the person before doing anything else. I recall recently reading the parable of the mote and the beam that applies to the Mexican complaints of the new Arizona law.

Besides, what is it about illegal immigration that these demonstrators just don’t understand?

Considering that last night he said we have seen scare tactics instead of honest debate, President Obama was quick to engage in scare tactics of his own. The current panic — the ranks of the uninsured rose close to 6 million these past 12 months. *gasp!* Quick, get the smelling salts! I’m about to faint.

Or not. But I do have to question his numbers. He mentioned 30 million uninsured in his speech last night before the joint session of Congress. But the Census Department puts the number of uninsured at 46.3 million. This discrepancy isn’t that hard to explain since there is a difference between the people in the two uninsured groups mentioned here. President Obama specifically refers to “30 million American citizens” while the census numbers are not limited just to Americans. This tells me that there are about 16 million illegals in the U.S. who are uninsured.

When Obama stated that illegals would not be covered under his health care plan, Republican Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted out “You lie!” If we do a little Clinton-era word parsing, then Obama is correct — his plan doesn’t cover illegals, or Americans for that matter, because he hasn’t actually released a plan. He’s been relying on Congress to do the work for him, but that’s where he runs into problems. A Senate HELP Committee version of the health care bill excludes illegals on page 111. But House Bill HR3200 doesn’t contain any similar language excluding illegals, as confirmed by the Congressional Research Service.

So who exactly are these uninsured people in America? Editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez breaks it down in this cartoon:

The 47 Million Uninsured

I can’t get all excited about insuring those people who certainly could afford it but choose not to spend their money that way. Likewise, I’m not concerned about those who could get government funding but haven’t signed up for it. And I am certainly not interested in insuring people who are here illegally. That leaves only those people who are in-between jobs and so are uninsured. The cure for them is less government involvement, not more. After all, health care insurance as a job benefit is the result of government meddling in the free market. The solution is to have less government meddling, not more. After all, if you find you are over your head in a hole, the solution is to stop digging, not investing in more shovels.

And finally I have to point to a great video by Stuart Browning about the uninsured in America. If you can watch Faye Chao at 3:10 – 3:30 in the video without wanting to slap her free-loading face, you’re a better person than I am.

Oh, what fun! Over the weekend a water pipe broke in the basement, and gallons of water started to pour into the house. I made a quick call to a plumber, and he explained to me that based on current government guidelines, we would need to take care of the water already in the house before the plumber would fix the broken pipe. He suggested that we fine the water in the house, give it a “Z card” for temporary residency with an option for permanent residency, and I would need to pay for any doctor bills the water incurred.

OK, so I’m being silly, as you might have guessed, and I didn’t have a pipe break this weekend. It really happened several months ago during a bitter cold spell. I was sitting at my computer, and I thought I heard the shower running, but the sound was coming from the garage. When I took a look out there, water was pouring from the light fixtures on the ceiling. My first priority was to find the water main, shut it off, and cut off the flow of water pouring into the attic space above the garage. Once the water was shut off, it was time to start sweeping the water out of the garage — and to start wondering why anyone would put a bare water pipe in the attic over an unheated garage in the first place.

I could have focused on the water pouring out of the ceiling instead of cutting off the flow to the house. If I had done that, I would have spent all my time placing buckets under the streams of water draining out of the ceiling and mopping around where it splashed. Depending on how fast I worked and the number of buckets available to me, I could have kept up with the flow indefinitely, but who wants to live with a broken pipe?

Apparently, we do. We have a broken pipe of illegal aliens pouring into our nation. And in its infinite wisdom, the government is more concerned with putting out buckets and mopping up rather than first shutting off the flow. I have to wonder whether members of the House and Senate have ever had a broken pipe in their homes, and whether they were just as illogical in fixing that as they have been in fixing illegal immigration.

Our first priority should be to turn off the flow. Our second priority should be to clean up the mess and patch the pipe. “But Captain, are you saying we need to deport the 12 million illegals already here?” I’ve often heard that question, and I’ll answer it with another — once you have fixed the broken water pipe, do you leave the water standing where it poured in, or do you clean it out? I believe the analogy holds.

Can we stop the flow of illegal aliens completely? I wouldn’t bet on it, but we certainly can reduce the flow to a small trickle rather than a torrential flow, and a secure border is the best way to do it. I’m not guessing that a secure border would greatly reduce the flow because it has already been proved:

The San Diego Border Fence works:

  • Illegal alien apprehensions along the fenced region were reduced from over 202,000 in 1992 to approximately 9,000 in 2004. Further, it is estimated that the apprehensions vs. attempts ratio increased to over 90%;
  • Following the establishment of the San Diego Border Fence, crime rates in San Diego have fallen dramatically. According to the FBI Crime Index, crime in San Diego County dropped 47.3% between 1989 to 2000;
  • Vehicle drive-throughs in the region have fallen from between 6 to 10 per day before the construction of border infrastructure to only four drive-throughs in 2004, all of which were isolated in locations where secondary fencing is incomplete;
  • The fence has forced drug smugglers, who once crossed the San Diego border without contest, to focus their efforts of access through America’s ports of entry, significantly increasing the likelihood of discovery and seizure of illegal narcotics entering the U.S.

We have a broken pipe flowing into the U.S. Do you want to stop the flow first, or would you rather spend all your time, money and energy mopping up?

Both Republican and Democrat Senators have been working with White House Cabinet members on a new bill. As you read or hear about this bill, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that it will almost universally be called an “immigration bill” by the mainstream media. Let’s admit here what it truly is — an illegal immigration bill.

Key senators in both parties announced agreement with the White House Thursday on an immigration overhaul that would grant quick legal status to millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. and fortify the border.

The plan would create a temporary worker program to bring new arrivals to the U.S. A separate program would cover agricultural workers. New high-tech enforcement measures also would be instituted to verify that workers are here legally.

The compromise came after weeks of painstaking closed-door negotiations that brought the most liberal Democrats and the most conservative Republicans together with President Bush’s Cabinet officers to produce a highly complex measure that carries heavy political consequences.

Interestingly enough, Republican Senator Arlen Specter stepped up to defend the bill — “It is not amnesty. This will restore the rule of law.” In related news, the Senate Industrial Tools Committee defended their reclassification of shovels. “It is not a spade. This is a multi-use bladed implement.” The Senate then broke into subcommittees to prove black was white and white was black.

Here’s how the news report explains this non-amnesty:

The proposed agreement would allow illegal immigrants to come forward and obtain a “Z visa” and–after paying fees and a $5,000 fine–ultimately get on track for permanent residency, which could take between eight and 13 years. Heads of household would have to return to their home countries first.

They could come forward right away to claim a probationary card that would let them live and work legally in the U.S., but could not begin the path to permanent residency or citizenship until border security improvements and the high-tech worker identification program were completed.

“Hola! I’m here in the U.S. illegally. Where can I get my amnesty?”

“It’s not amnesty. But here is your non-amnesty probationary card. And remember, this is not amnesty.”

“Ah, si! Of course this is not an amnesty card. The word amnesty has been crossed out and probationary written over it. Gracias for clearing that up.”

Try this on for size — how about we actually put real border security in place? And while that is happening, announce that anyone found in the U.S. illegally after a certain date will be deported to the nearest border and never granted a visa to return. On a second offense, they get to spend some quality time in a pink jumpsuit with that sheriff in Arizona.

If you still think that this amnesty bill is a great idea, how about placing it in context? This bill is currently about 400 pages long. Here’s a picture showing how that stacks up next to the Holy Bible.

Have you noticed that there are some rude people in this world? I’m sure you have. Just interacting with people means you will occasionally run into folks who are less than nice. If we judge manners solely by comments made online, the Internet is full of very rude people indeed. The question then is, why are they so rude? Are anonymous people just plain rude because they feel divorced from the other person, or are they just jerks?

As I see it, the more we feel removed from others, the fewer social pressures exist to be nice. I’ve been playing Lord of the Rings Online, and while most people are nice to each other, there have been the occasional jerks. I prefer to believe they are nicer in person.

But not everyone is nice in person. While we were standing in line to enter the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland last year, about a dozen preteen kids rudely pushed their way past us in line. Each one was wearing a T-shirt announcing that they were part of the Colegio Americano de Mexicali. I can understand how anxious kids are to get in fast, but the really surprising rudeness came a few seconds letter when, I assume, a teacher from the Colegio elbowed her way past us. She didn’t say “Excuse me” or even “Con permiso“. She just muscled her way past us to join the rest of the kids who had cut ahead in line. And she wasn’t there to haul their line-cutting butts back to the end of the line, either; she simply moved along with them. Perhaps this group thought everyone in the crowd would give them a pass because they were visitors from out of the country, or perhaps they believed their rudeness didn’t matter because they were just a few more anonymous faces in a crowd, but their T-shirts proclaimed who they were, and so they demonstrated to everyone in that line the rudeness and boorish behavior of everyone from the Colegio Americano de Mexicali. I wonder, was that the message they really wanted to give people in Disneyland?

Cultures have different ideas about forming lines to wait for something. The U.S. is pretty good about forming lines, and the Brits do a great job of queuing up in an orderly fashion. But Russians and Indians tend to just push their way forward. If I were a psychologist, I’d suggest they push their way forward because they lack faith that anything will be there for them when they get to the front of the line, or perhaps they view themselves as being entitled to anything they want just because of who they are. Such people might consider themselves too important to have to wait in line. But how does that affect the people who wait patiently in line? They’re probably about as happy as I was when the obnoxious Colegio kids pushed past me in Disneyland.

Incidentally, how do you think our legal immigrants view the illegal immigrants who are rudely pushing their way into the country?

The Dallas suburb voters of Farmers Branch have voted by a super majority to crack down on illegal immigrants renting in their town. Based on the AP News article, exceptions are made for “minors, seniors and some families with a mix of legal residents and illegal immigrants.”

And of course there is opposition to this ban.

The city was already facing four lawsuits brought by civil rights groups, residents, property owners and businesses who contend the ordinance discriminates and that it places landlords in the precarious position of acting as federal immigration officers. Their attorneys say the ordinance attempts to regulate immigration, a duty that is exclusively the federal government’s. One lawsuit also alleges the council violated the state open meetings act when deciding on the ordinance.

It’s true that it discriminates — it discriminates against people here illegally, just like anti-murder laws discriminate against murderers. The attorneys who say the ordinance is regulating immigration should be given a dictionary with the entry for illegal highlighted so the attorneys can remember to use it in the phrase “illegal immigration.” I can agree that the ordinance would put a burden on landlords, but companies already work under the same requirement of determining their employees’ citizenship or immigrant status.

And here’s a lovely picture and caption that goes along with the AP News article.

Protesting for Illegal Immigration

Natalie Villafranca, 6, left, holds a flag as her mother, Elizabeth Villafranca, holds a sign in front of city hall in Farmers Branch, Texas in this Aug. 26, 2006 file photo. Residents of Farmers Branch cast ballots Saturday, May 12, 2007 on whether to repeal or approve a ban on landlords renting apartments to most illegal immigrants in their Dallas suburb, the nation’s first municipality to put the matter to a vote.

I can answer Elizabeth Villafranca easily — the city is racist only if the ordinance applies just to illegal immigrants from one race. But if the ordinance addresses illegal immigrants only, then it is color-blind, and Farmers Branch is not racist.

I applaud the efforts of the people and city council of Farmers Branch, and I would like to see more cities to work against illegal immigration rather than being sactuary cities. And while we are working to clean up inside the nation, how about we actually secure our borders?

Today is May 1st, 2007, commonly called “May Day.” Socialists and Communists celebrate the day as “Labor Day” and mouth platitudes about the working class, but gone are the days of of Soviet soldiers and war machines parading through Red Square in Moscow, and good riddance. But neither May Day nor Labor Day are official American celebrations on this day. Here it is “Loyalty Day,” and it is an appropriate day for Americans to fly the flag as a show of loyalty to these United States.

And how are people showing their loyalty? Why, by marching for illegal aliens, of course!

Thomas Rodriguez, of Aurora, stood in Union Park wearing a shirt that said: “We are hard workers. We’re not criminals.”

The 38-year-old has had no legal status since he came to the United States from Mexico in 1989 and is an employee at a Japanese restaurant in Chicago.

“Recent raids have worried me,” he said. “We worry deportations are leaving too many young people without parents.”

Oh, where to begin? Well, first, if you come to the States illegally, then that–by definition–makes you a criminal. The phrase I’m looking for here is “Duh!” Rodriguez is worried about being deported, which is nice and all, but that’s a bit like a habitual speeder worrying about getting a speeding ticket. Every job where I’ve ever worked has required me to provide either proof of U.S. citizenship or a valid green card. Since Rodriguez came to the U.S. illegally, he does not and cannot have valid documentation to work here or to remain here. Either he has obtained fake documents–which is illegal–or he is being paid “under the table” in cash and not paying any taxes on his earnings–which is, all together now, illegal. But he’s no criminal! His T-shirt says so.

“Most of the undocumented people come here as a necessity of survival,” said Rosendo Delgado, of Latinos United, one of the groups organizing the march. “For them, it’s the only choice.”

It’s funny, but during the years I lived in Mexico, I don’t recall stepping over the bodies of people who just couldn’t survive there. There are many wonderful, hard-working people in Mexico who are surviving just fine, regardless of what Delgado says. As I see it, it’s not the promise of America that draws illegal aliens as much as it is the promise of American dollars. A minimum wage job in the U.S. offers about ten times the salary of a similar minimum wage job in Mexico. If an illegal alien obtains such a job and sends back to Mexico only half of his or her yearly earnings, that sum is the equivalent of five years’ worth of wages in Mexico. And they can send even more money home if they have better-paying jobs, such as construction or working in a Japanese restaurant in Chicago. The Mexican government has no impetus to stop its citizens from heading to the U.S. illegally, because so much money comes back to them. I remember hearing that money sent from the States has surpassed even oil revenues as the top source of income for Mexico, but whether it’s in first or second place, that’s a pile of money.

But Delgado is wrong in his assertion that heading for the States is a Mexican national’s only choice. As I see it, there are at least four choices, but people like Rodriguez and Delgado, and millions like them, want all the benefits of being legal residents without messing with that annoying requirement of actually obeying the law.

You’ll hear people talk about “May Day” today, but every time I hear that, I think of “mayday,” the call of distress, because our nation is being invaded by people who don’t bother to obey the law.

Over 50 years ago, my grandfather built a house for his family in a small farming community in Idaho. He passed away over ten years ago, and my grandmother passed away early this year. I expect the home will be spiffed up, sold, and the proceeds divvied up among my grandparents’ nine kids. I love my grandparents’ place, and I have many wonderful memories of times spent there with family. But here’s the key point: when it is sold, the property will no longer be part of our family. Generations from now, future great and great-great-grandchildren cannot confront the future owners of the property and demand that those people get off “their land.” It will not be their land, as any claims they might once have had by way of family ties were severed when the property was sold.

This concept of losing one’s right to a property that has been sold has a direct bearing on the marching illegal immigrant masses who claim that the lands of the American Southwest were stolen from them. To those people who claim the Southwest was stolen, I point to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase.

Those Americans who march with others who claim this land was stolen are idiots. Since they are Americans, this is their land. Those marchers who are Mexican have no more claim on this land today than my future descendants will have on my grandparents’ property once it is sold. They are operating at the moral equivalent of a two-year-old’s concept of property: since I want it, it is mine.

But it’s fun to march holding a sign saying “Continente Robado” (Stolen Continent) or “All Europeans are illegal on this continent since 1492” or “If you think I’m ‘illegal’ because I’m a Mexican, learn the true history because I’m in my homeland.

More fun than being right, apparently.