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.”

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?

There is some truth in the political cartoon posted today by Cox and Forkum.

Stars Barred

I like immigrants. But I think there should be a little order in the way they are admitted into the United States. So I propose that we allow immigrants access to the U.S. in the same way students are accepted into universities. Universities cannot, of necessity, admit every student who applies. If they did, they would soon be overwhelmed by mobs of students and would be unable to teach any of them properly. When wants are unbounded but resources are limited, someone has to say, “This is enough, and more is too many.”

Should the U.S. allow into the country everyone who wants to enter? Really? Then what happens when mobs of people try to enter a small area with limited resources? When there are unbounded numbers of people desiring to enter the country, but physical resources like living space and water are limited, then someone has to stand at the border and say, “Sorry, we’ve filled our immigrant quota. Try next year.”

Do we limit the numbers of legal immigrants because we hate them? No more than universities turn away students because they hate them. The reality is that we cannot accommodate everyone, even if we really want to. That means that we have a say in how many people get to come into the country, just as universities do. And just as universities do, we ought to select the very best of the applicants.

The United States is a nation that is open to immigration, as opposed to Mexico. Little Green Footballs points to a news story about the differences between the U.S. and Mexico when it comes to immigration:

The foreign-born make up just 0.5 percent of Mexico’s 105 million people, compared with about 13 percent in the United States, which has a total population of 299 million. Mexico grants citizenship to about 3,000 people a year, compared to the U.S. average of almost a half million.

This article starts off, interestingly enough with a dateline of Mexico City, talking about how Mexico limits its immigrants.

If Arnold Schwarzenegger had migrated to Mexico instead of the United States, he couldn’t be a governor. If Argentina native Sergio Villanueva, firefighter hero of the Sept. 11 attacks, had moved to Tecate instead of New York, he wouldn’t have been allowed on the force.

Even as Mexico presses the United States to grant unrestricted citizenship to millions of undocumented Mexican migrants, its officials at times calling U.S. policies “xenophobic,” Mexico places daunting limitations on anyone born outside its territory.

In the United States, only two posts — the presidency and vice presidency — are reserved for the native born.

In Mexico, non-natives are banned from those and thousands of other jobs, even if they are legal, naturalized citizens.

I’ve written about the problems Mexico has on its own southern border, but I can’t help but dream of a state of reciprocity. In my dream, President Bush gives Presidente Fox a phone call and tells him that the U.S. will get rid of all its repressive laws about immigration and implements here in the U.S. the same sort of laws that Mexico uses for her own immigrants. After all, if these laws work so well in Mexico for the Guatemalans crossing the border, then the same type of laws should be equally good here in the U.S. for the Mexicans crossing our border.

But we won’t because we actually like legal immigrants here in the U.S.

President Bush delivered a live broadcast from the Oval Office to the nation today about illegal immigration. I think this will not make too many people happy, since it was a very centrist approach. There are pieces that should make liberals and conservatives both happy and pissed. I am moderately impressed with what I heard on the radio, but what I really liked came later when I looked over the posted text: there are 27 uses of the word “illegal” or its derivatives, and no uses of the euphemism “undocumented.” I like it when a politician can call a spade a spade.

Here are some quotes from the President’s address with some of my comments.

First, the United States must secure its borders. This is a basic responsibility of a sovereign nation. It is also an urgent requirement of our national security. Our objective is straightforward: The border should be open to trade and lawful immigration, and shut to illegal immigrants, as well as criminals, drug dealers, and terrorists.

I am glad to see this listed first. I believe that securing our borders should be one of the very first actions taken.

Third, we need to hold employers to account for the workers they hire. It is against the law to hire someone who is in this country illegally. Yet businesses often cannot verify the legal status of their employees because of the widespread problem of document fraud.

Too many businesses, schools, towns, and state laws and policies prohibit a teacher or an employer from asking for any proof of citizenship.

That middle ground recognizes there are differences between an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently, and someone who has worked here for many years, and has a home, a family, and an otherwise clean record.

If they break the law and are here illegally, they should be punted across the border and not allowed to return. If they are in the U.S. illegally, but have otherwise proven to be law-abiding, then I can see being lenient.

English is also the key to unlocking the opportunity of America. English allows newcomers to go from picking crops to opening a grocery, from cleaning offices to running offices, from a life of low-paying jobs to a diploma, a career, and a home of their own.

This is why the Asian immigrants are able to do so very well here in the U.S. — they are willing to both learn the language and work very hard.