Monday, June 11, 2007

Short on Sympathy

I quite honestly had every intention of walking away from blogging for quite some time, but in doing so knew full well that something was bound to pop up that would drag me back in. I just didn't think it would happen so soon.

Dave Somerscales, guest posting at Watchdog Milwaukee, tries to put a human face on illegal immigration by sharing the story of "Chuy," a cleaning person in a downtown office building recently busted as a result of his illegal status. While filling in for a co-worker on a set of floors he didn't normally work, Chuy was questioned by an ATF employee and is now facing deportation having been discovered by a federal bureau to be an illegal alien.

I have to admit that Chuy's story does earn a bit of sympathy from me. He has a wife and small child, not to mention a mortgage on a home in which they all live. I feel sorry for the hardships this family is about to face. But that's really about as much as I have to offer.

Chuy entered this country illegally. He falsified documentation in order to get a job and/or his employer most likely knowingly gave him a job in spite of his immigration status. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) made him a member. A creditor approved a home loan with full knowledge that he was in this country illegally. For nearly eight years, Chuy has lived under the radar. He rolled the dice in hopes of continuing to live that way, and on one fateful day the dice came up wrong for him. Now Chuy faces deportation and seperation from his family. His employer will need to explain to a building management company client (in which a federal agency is housed) how it employed an illegal alien. A labor union will need to justify having an illegal alien as one of its members. A lending institution will need to deal with the costs of a foreclosed loan.

Is it Chuy's fault? The employer's? The union's? The bank's?

Yes.

Somerscales hopes to change minds and shape opinion by sharing this story of one man's trials and tribulations. The title of his post alone points to how he wishes to put a human face on illegal immigration. But what Somerscales fails to realize is that nearly everyone sees that human face and that some of us are willing to acknowledge that those humans are capable of making very human errors in judgement. As a result, we're prepared for them to pay the consequences for the actions they've taken.

That means Chuy, the employer, the union and the bank.

Regardless of how good a person Chuy may be, how noble his efforts to create a life for himself in this nation are, there are rules people must live by. Chuy didn't. And now he pays the price.

It's sad, but by no means is it unfair.

I feel bad for his plight, but my sympathy ends there.

25 Comments:

At 11:43 PM, June 11, 2007, Blogger Cantankerous said...

Welcome back.

 
At 11:55 PM, June 11, 2007, Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

It's sad and unfair. The story point out that Chuy wanted to be here. An employer wanted him here. His being here benefited his employer and that employer's concumers. A bank wanted him here. His being here benefited that bank. Who's "fault" was it that he will now suffer hardship? It's obviously the government's fault to anyone that knows the difference between malum in se and malum prohibitum.

 
At 8:48 AM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Real Debate said...

Place fault on everyone except the guy who broke the law...

Par for the course.

 
At 10:25 AM, June 12, 2007, Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

He broke the law, but he didn't do anything wrong. Rosa Parks broke the law too. So did all they guys that set up stills during prohibition. But Rosa Parks and the bootleggers were not wrong. The law was wrong.

 
At 7:22 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger David Casper said...

Jesus (which, beginning immediately I'm pronouncing with an 'H' sound just because it's fun), how can you possibly say he didn't do anything wrong? The comparison to Rosa Parks is not only incorrect, but it's tried and outdated. Mrs. Parks was a legal citizen. She was in this country legally but afforded a lesser status. Chuy is here illegally. As I said, his plight earns some sympathy, but ulitmately it results in the laws on the books being enforced. He broke those laws. He's paying that price.

The law is not wrong. You are. I'm sorry you can't see that, but that's just how it is. Were the law more discriminatory, were it more racist, I may agree with you. But the fact is that there is a way to get into this country legally, regardless of the color of his skin, and Chuy chose not to abide by it. He pays the price. So does his employer, the union and the bank.

There's a tremendous differnce between the laws or norms Rosa Parks faced and those Chuy faces now. For you to compare them not only cheapens what Parks did, but ignores the reality of the situation.

 
At 8:28 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

This is not a logical argument: "Comparing what Rosa Parks did to what this guy did cheapens what Rosa did and ignores the reality of the situation."

How does it cheapen what Rosa Parks did? Aren’t you the one ignoring the reality of the situation by refusing to make the comparison?

This is a logical argument: Casper, your position appears to be that “there are rules people must live by” and because Chuy didn’t live by those rules, he deserves to pay the price. I think that this statement is simplistic nonsense. Some rules are malum in se. They are wrong because they are wrong. (murder or rape for example). Other rules are malum prohibitum. They are wrong because the government says they are wrong (smoking pot, eating at the white-only lunch counter, or signing the Declaration of Independence for example). The comparison with Rosa Parks has nothing to do with her citizenship. If you will check your history, you will see that the law that Rosa Parks broke was a law that said that black people had to give up their seats on a bus if a white person was standing. Refusing to do so is malum prohibitum in my opinion. This law has nothing to do with citizenship and I never said it did and that is obviously irrelevant to the bigger picture. Your mentioning of it in that context is truly asinine. Anyway, if you truly believe that “there are rules people must live by” and what those rules are are defined by government, Rosa Parks "didn’t follow the rules." Under your previously stated underlying assumption, Rosa deserved to go to jail. I would disagree. I think what she did was illegal, but also right. I believe the particular law that said she had to give up her seat was wrong.

Now back to Chuy. I also believe that the law that says that some people that want to be citizens of the United States don’t get to be citizens based on arbitrary things like birthplace is not a good law. Coming to this country, like defying segregation laws, is malum prohibitum. It is not malum in se. Therefore, my analogy is sound and your underlying premise is shown to be false.

NOW, if you want to argue that coming to this country from another country “uninvited” is malum in se, I would entertain that argument. In other words, if you want to debate the merits of closed borders, I’ll at least think you are honest. But if you think that every person that breaks any law, regardless of how stupid that law is, deserves to be punished, I think you are being completely dishonest. That is a straw man. The immigration debate is about what the law should be. Debate that.

 
At 9:17 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger David Casper said...

Jesus, there are some absolutes I'm willing to live by. It is obvious you are unwilling to live by those same absolutes as I am. The fact is that you will never convince me of your side of the argument, nor will I convince you of mine. I will forever continue to believe you are wrong, just as you will me.

Frankly, I couldn't give a rat's ass about what sort of arguments you hope to present or in which context they're presented. I think you're wrong. You think I'm wrong. The best I can say is that we must agree to disagree. No matter how long or to what detail you present your argument, I will simply not see any situation in which an illegal immigrant is justified in attempting to steal that which can be legally attained.

But I will say that the immigration debate is first and foremost about what the law is. To argue for or against what you believe it should be, regardless of the merit of those beliefs, is nothing more than intellectual masturbation.

As it is now, if you enter the country illegally, you are here illegally, and as a result must pay the price. End of story. And Rosa Parks, quite honestly, has dick to do with that.

 
At 10:59 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

What was stolen? A spot in our fucking gigantic country? please. Citizenship is not space. It's a contract. You can act like we're on equal but opposing platforms all you want, but my position is fair, consistent and logical. And yours is based on your gut at best, and Bill O'Reilly talking points at worst. When you get down to the bare bones of the issue, you support a policy in which certain people are allowed to enter into a contract and others are not allowed based on where they were born. That's short-sighted protectionism at best and xenophobic racism at worst.

 
At 11:58 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Cantankerous said...

Jesus! Both of you can talk this out at the Blog summit on Friday! How fun would that be?

 
At 9:03 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger David Casper said...

Jesus, you remind me of how sometimes, some efforts are just pointless. Like I said, you won't convince me, and apparently there's no way I'll convince you. I think you're wrong as much as one person can possibly be wrong. Your time would best be spent elsewhere.

For the record, I haven't seen more than 10 seconds of O'Reilly in years. Additionally, I would apply my beliefs to illegal Russians as much as I would illegal Mexicans, so your claims of racism are baseless. Finally, your logic is apparently relative and the sense of fairness you so nobly attribute to yourself is lost on me. Howzabout spending a little time on your own blog putting those thoughts together instead of just being an argumentative, pompous prick on everyone else's?

 
At 1:10 AM, June 14, 2007, Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

Why not disable comments if you don't want to discuss the issue on the merits?

Also, maybe you apply the same standard to Russians or whatever, but, as we discussed, you don't apply the same standard to secondary citizen blacks in the 1950s and 1960s, do you?

 
At 9:36 PM, June 14, 2007, Blogger fantesticle said...

You interrupted your hiatus for this?

Weird.

Are you coming to my party Saturday or what, foolio?

Hobes

 
At 9:40 PM, June 14, 2007, Blogger fantesticle said...

"Disable this!"

-Bald Pat

 
At 7:50 PM, June 15, 2007, Blogger still Unreal... said...

Casper: Welcome back and a-MEN to your post.

Hesus needs to preach the "illegals-are-no-different-than-Rosa" at the next million man march or an inner city church on sunday.
Its SUCH a moronic arguement, just ignore him. He does that.
"argue on the merits" my ass, hesus. you mean argue how apples are like tonka trucks in your case.

 
At 9:02 PM, June 17, 2007, Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

How are they different Still Unreasonable? How?

Rosa Parks broke the law. Period. If you really think that a person always deserves to be punished when they break the law, regardless of the merits of the law, you HAVE TO think Rosa Parks deserved to be punished. If you don't think that, you are as hypocritical as you are stupid.

The only possible distinction you can possibly draw between the two that arguable has any merit is that immigration laws do have merit and segregation laws did not have merit. If that is the case, fine. Argue it that way. But do not make thesa retarded all-encompassing statements that immigrants are bad just because they broke the law that says they can't come here without addressing whether or not that law has merit.

If you don't like the Rosa Parks example, then substitute the fricken Sons of Liberty (dumping tea in Boston Harbor was illegal. So was signing the declaration of independance) or the Lovings (see Loving v. Virginia. Marrying someone of a different race was illegal) or you when you drove 5 mph over the limit on your way to work.

 
At 8:59 PM, June 18, 2007, Blogger buzz said...

The fact of the matter is that "Chuy" was taking a job away from a LEGAL citizen of this country by being here illegally. You can argue whether there's a greater good being served by abandoning the laws of this country because you think they're unfair, but I believe you'll be wrong in this particular case. There are ways to enter this country legally and "Chuy" didn't, and took a job away from someone who did, or someone who was born here a citizen. Plain and simple, there's the unfairness. The system was bypassed, and like it or not the system is sending him home until he does things the right way. The system favors those who DO things the right way.

If you want to change the law you've got a way to do so. Cast your vote in November for someone who espouses your viewpoints. (Preferably you'll be a legal citizen of this country when you cast that vote, mind you.) We can't go around selectively disobeying laws, or promoting the disobedience of said laws because of some greater order of accountability. Otherwise we'd have people gunning down rapists and serial killers in the streets. Whether or not they deserve it, we've a legal process to deal with these things. Anything else is anarchy.

"Chuy" had a legal process to get into this country that he chose to bypass, and now pays the price for his choice. We are a civilized country, we have laws. We should follow them, or vote to change them, not simply ignore them.

 
At 11:47 PM, June 18, 2007, Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

Buzz, I salute you for arguing the merits of this issue rather than spitting out some nonsense talking points like Casper and Still an Idiot. I really do.

As to the merits, I would disagree with your assessment. You seem to forget that every immigrant is not only a potential worker, but also a consumer. There aren't a finite number of jobs here. You should note that unemployment is at an all time low in this country. It's at an all time low in the states of California, New Mexico, Texas and Arizona too (states with lots of illegal immigrants). The number of illegal immigrants has increased like crazy in the past ten years but unemployment has remained about the same (it's actually gotten better). In other words, illegal immigrants aren't "taking" anybody's jobs.

Even if an illegal immigrant was "taking" somebody's job, so what? A job is not a gift from the government. It's a way of getting work done. It's an exchange of labor for money. To say that I should get my to keep my job when someone else is willing an able to do the same quality work for a lower wage is ridiculous. It's a tarrif. It's short sighted protectionism at best and xenophobic racism at worst.

 
At 7:16 PM, June 19, 2007, Blogger buzz said...

I would rather the consumers be legal. I would rather the work is done by those legally here. We as a country have sovereignty within our borders: such is part of the definition of "country." So we can determine who comes into the country, or not, and on what terms.

You can call it a tariff or protectionist if you want, and I'd agree. That's what we get to decide, as a country. Tack "racist" on to that distinction and you seek to promote elevationist alarmism (wow, a new term) by overloading your argument.

 
At 10:07 AM, June 21, 2007, Blogger still Unreal... said...

So Hesus calls me Unreasonable and an idiot and I'm the one not argueing the merits and spitting out nonsense talking points, huh?

Ok, Jackass, which part of a citizen broke the law rather than someone that decided to squat in this country dont you get?
Newsflash, moron, you dont get to go to another country and tell them that you dont like their laws. If thats the case, feel free to go on a world tour. I'll pack your bags.

By your dumbass reckoning, I shouldn't have even bothered becoming a citizen.

 
At 1:41 PM, June 21, 2007, Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

"Ok, Jackass, which part of a citizen broke the law rather than someone that decided to squat in this country dont you get?"

Although awkwardly phrased, I think I understand the whole thing. But as I've pointed out, that is a ridiculous distinction to draw. The idea of Rosa Parks or MLK telling the US Gov't that they didn't like the law was as unfathomable to many people at the time as a non-citizen telling the US Gov't they don't like our immigration policy is today. You're looking at that situation in 20/20 hindsight.

If you don't like that example, we can go further back. Did slaves that escaped from their "masters" deserve to be punished? Because at the time, slaves were most definately not citizens. They were property. As you sit here today, do you think slaves were wrong or criminal for escaping? Why or why not?

"Newsflash, moron, you dont get to go to another country and tell them that you dont like their laws."

First, I'm not telling another country I don't like their laws, I'm telling the country that I'm a citizen of that I don't like its laws. Second, why shouldn't I be able to tell any country I don't like their laws? Is free speech something that you and I deserve only because US law says we deserve it? Bullshit. I don't think any government of any power deserves to be able to silence me.

 
At 8:59 PM, June 21, 2007, Blogger still Unreal... said...

Please, please, please take that arguement to colombia, cuba or N. Korea.

please.

 
At 11:47 PM, June 21, 2007, Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

Okay, Hey Columbia, your government is corrupt. Hey Cuba, communism doesn't work and your leader is an insane old coot. Hey North Korea, you fuckers are just bonkers.

Um, so what?

Why don't you try answering my questions? Please, please, please? Do you think runaway slaves deserved to be punished?

 
At 11:34 AM, June 22, 2007, Blogger still Unreal... said...

You really ARE a friggin' idiot.

Last i checked, "runaway slaves" were brought over -against their will- to serve people in the new land.

the borderhoppers these days are voluntarily coming to this country to take what they can. AND trying to change whats here to be like the country they couldnt wait to leave! what a joke!

seriously, are your retarded?
"take that arguement to colombia, cuba or N. Korea" - was that too complicated for you?
GO OVER TO THOSE COUNTRIES AND DO YOUR "CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE" SCHTICK.
I can dislike and disagree with those governments, too.

join the real world and try to do something rather than "talk about it" to make yourself feel better.
Two words: Tienneman square.
You wouldnt be able to do that, big talker.

 
At 1:33 PM, June 22, 2007, Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

You seriously can't see the similarities? In every analogy I've given you, people did illegal things that were not "wrong." They were illegal because a government made a mistake and passed a bad law. Here, I am arguing that immigration laws are bad laws; the government's mistake. Just that it is a different bad law, doesn't mean analogies regarding other bad laws are not relevant.

As for civil disobediance in fascist countries, I'm not sure what your point is. You want the US to be more like those countries? We couldn't go there and speak our minds so other people shouldn't be able to come here and do the same? Sorry friend, but I like my country with a little more freedom. You liberals and your big governments...

 
At 4:13 PM, June 22, 2007, Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe said...

"Last i checked, "runaway slaves" were brought over -against their will- to serve people in the new land."

By the way Still Unreal, in order to distinguish my examples from the immigration issue, it's not enough that you point out a difference. You have to articulate why that difference is material. Why does it matter?

 

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