Before I dive into this week's topic, I encourage you to read last week's column, especially the comments that follow. The article was about the illegal aliens in our midst, and the legislators who, by supporting them, were derelict in their duty to their constituents.
Some, however, chose to make it a referendum on the work ethic, reliability and delinquency of young blacks. Frankly, I am flabbergasted by the stark racism in some of the comments I read.
I am an advocate of greater personal responsibility and accountability for all people, and those who stay down after being knocked down aren't worth my time or energy to help. Given the stories my wife brings home, however, of the students she encounters in her classes every day, I can say with confidence that sloth, entitlement, bad attitudes and delinquent behavior are not exclusive or even primary to one race.
Nor, I might add, are hard work, duty and respect. I categorically reject the notion that one race, or even a segment within a race, is exclusively irredeemable.
With that, on to the discussion at hand which is, in some respects, a continuation of last week's topic.
I was updating my wife last week on the progress of House Bill 470, which proposes to grant in-state tuition to the children of illegal aliens. (BTW, the bill passed two hours before the close of the legislative session on Tuesday.) She was offering her opinions on the possibility of legal challenges from out-of-state students who are citizens and/or legal immigrants, and also her thoughts on whether or not the bill would have as significant financial impact as some believe, since these students must first be accepted to a state university, a challenging feat all by itself.
I was energized as I always am when my apolitical wife, who usually blows me off when I launch into politico mode, gets engaged in a discussion like this. But when I used the term "illegal alien" and explained that I prefer that designation because they're not true immigrants, she responded with the disdain she typically holds for my opinions - "Oh, that's just more political-speak." End of conversation (sigh).
Except she doesn't have a weekly column in which to continue the conversation, and unless she actually starts reading my stuff, there's no threat of her backslapping me in the new comments section (I have to "thank" my editor for adding that)!
I was a little surprised by her response to my choice of words, since she is a legal immigrant from France. She visited the U.S. twice on a student visa and tourist visa respectively, and got a fiancé visa in 1984 so she could come here to marry me.
Soon thereafter, she received her permanent resident card - the "green" card, although they were green only from 1946 to 1964, and weren't green again until last May, and now they're green again - and she's held one ever since.
The process was tedious and there are fees involved, typical of a government bureaucracy. We even had to ask the congressman in the district where I was stationed as a U.S. Air Force officer to intervene when the American Embassy in Paris seemed to be dragging its feet on issuing her fiancé visa. Within days of his intervention, she had the visa in hand. See, they can be useful at times!
My point is that she followed the law every step of the way, even when it was inconvenient, and she paid whatever fees needed to be paid. She supports the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws, although she tends to lean toward taking a hard line with employers, who she believes are exploiting desperate people for the benefits of cheap labor. I have no argument with that.
Still, I think words matter, and illegal alien advocacy groups like Casa de Maryland, and the legislators who pander to them, are masters at evoking words of sympathy when it comes to illegal aliens. That is how, in Maryland, we've gone from "illegal alien" to "illegal immigrant" to "undocumented worker" to "new American."
The dictionary describes an immigrant as "a person who leaves one country to settle permanently in another." If permanent residence is a person's intention, then the law has specific requirements for that person to meet before permission is granted for them to remain in this country.
The key point here is that permanent residence requires the assent of the receiving nation. Ask any other nation on the planet, including Mexico, and they'll tell you that you need their permission to immigrate - no exceptions whatsoever.
An alien, on the other hand, is someone who owes "political allegiance to another country or government." They aren't coming here because they want to become American citizens. They retain their language, their culture, and they send their earnings back to their home countries. They fly the banners of their home countries as they protest those who would compel them to seek permission to be here, or leave.
They are not "undocumented workers," as if they absent-mindedly forgot to fill out an I-9 form at work. They are certainly not "new Americans," one of the most asinine of many asinine statements that have emanated from the lips of Martin O'Malley.
Even illegal alien advocates in the church, who declare God's command in Exodus 22:21 ("You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt."), twist words to suit their worldly purposes.
The Hebrew word for "foreigners" in this context is ger, the equivalent of a legal resident. The prerequisite in the Bible for this designation is that the host nation allows them to be there, just as the Israelites were in Egypt because the pharaoh invited them to live there (Genesis 45:17-20).
Hebrew bible scholar and Presbyterian minister Tom Hobson highlights another critical prerequisite for the ger: they must obey the laws of their host nation:
In fact, one theme that comes through loud and clear as we examine the 93 uses of ger in the Hebrew Bible is that the ger must obey the law. In Deuteronomy 31:12, the alien "shall learn to fear YHWH your God and observe diligently all the words of this law." In Leviticus 18:26, neither citizen nor alien shall do "any of these abominations" listed in this chapter. Several times Moses' law insists, "You shall have one law for the alien and for the citizen" (Lev 24:22; Num 15:15-16; 15:29). And in Numbers 15:30, we are told, "Whoever acts defiantly, whether native or alien, reviles YHWH, and shall be cut off from their people," meaning, they shall be expelled or deported, as I have argued in my dissertation "Cut Off From (One's) People." (To cross our modern border without legal permission can hardly be an accident, and is almost always an act of deliberate defiance.)Words matter.
And in this case, we are rewarding the children of lawbreakers. They broke the law to come here, and they continue to break the law to remain here, as Maryland blogger DarkStar points out:
Let me see if I understand this one. Parents, who have broken the law by coming here, are allowed to send their children to college in Maryland, if they lived in Maryland, and receive in state tuition rates. One legislator said the parents paid taxes using their own tax identification means, so they should be considered in state. Well, if the parents used a Social Security card, they committed fraud because illegal aliens can't get a Social Security card. If they used a tax identification number (TIN), they broke the law because you have to be a U.S. citizen, or a legal resident to get a TIN. And, here is the kicker. If someone is arrested because they sold or brought drugs, that person can't receive federal funding to attend college. But the children of illegal immigrants CAN attend college even though the parents committed fraud and/or identity theft.DarkStar reserves his harshest words for the Maryland General Assembly , and those are the words with which I will close, with apologies for the strong language:
I hate the Maryland State Assembly Add to that, the raising of car toll fees, car registration fees, home selling fees, home purchasing fees, increasing the alcohol tax...Ron Miller is a conservative writer and commentator, author of the book, SELLOUT: Musings from Uncle Toms Porch, and the president of Regular Folks United, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of individual liberty, free markets and our nation's founding principles. The nine-year plus veteran of the U.S. Air Force and married father of three writes columns for several online sites and print publications, and his own website, TeamRonMiller.com. Join him on Facebook and Twitter.