Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Well, it's a start...

The new Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act, that is. Who knows if the state will enforce the new law, but at least they got my phone calls and emails. . . OK, so it probably (definitely) wasn't just MY phone calls and emails, but at least the lawmakers here in Georgia are doing SOMETHING. The law, signed by Gov. Purdue Monday,

denies many state services paid for by taxpayers to people who are in the United States illegally. It also forces contractors doing business with the state to verify the legal status of new workers, and requires police to notify immigration officials if people charged with crimes are illegal immigrants.

Fine with me. I'm all for the benefits and services resulting from my tax dollars, the dollars that I've literally bled for (nailguns, saws, etc. . . even if you're careful, they always win), NOT going to someone who hasn't payed their own taxes. Why should the citizens of Georgia be possibly denied the full benefits of their citizenship for the sake of someone who wants those benefits without the responsibilities? Oh, and if someone comes back with the "Americans can't/won't do the jobs that illegals do" mantra, you can go to hell, since you have such a low opinion of Americans (I'm looking at you, McCain).

I'm not completely unsympathetic though; all people have individual natural rights; for example, illegal immigrants who are in need of immediate health care deserve prompt and professional treatment. When they're well, put 'em on a one-way bus or plane back home. Additionally, I do think that the process (NOT the requirements) to become a citizen takes too long. Want to naturalize? Fine, prove that you're not a criminal or terrorist, here's your I-551, take these tests, congrats, you can vote, you have until April 15th to file your taxes. It doesn't need to take 10 years or more.

By the by, I don't care one iota about the nationality of illegal aliens. The point to me is neither where they're from nor is it how they got here, be they "fence-jumpers" or someone who's grossly overstayed their visa. The point is that if the immigrants are illegal, they should not be benefiting from the taxes of Georgia's citizens, be they Mexican, Russian, Canadian, Martian. . . OK, that last one would actually be pretty cool, but it probably ain't going to happen anytime soon. If a person wants to legally become a citizen of the United States and the State of Georgia, I'll welcome them with open arms. However, to have the benefits that being a citizen brings entails also means having to accept the responsibilities of being a citizen as well.

I do have reservations about the bill, but those are mostly born out of the cynicism I feel regarding the state of affairs in this country. Will this law actually be enforced, or is it merely lip service to the conservative base in Georgia to maintain control of the General Assembly?* According to Gov. Purdue, it's the Georgia government's

responsibility [. . .] that our taxpayers are not taken advantage of and that our citizens are protected.

I'll take that at face value, but my aforementioned cynicism won't allow me to hold my breath. Will this be the first step toward true immigration control in this country, or is it going to be ignored and unenforced like so many of our immigration laws? I hope the former. I'll leave the last word for State Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Dist. 159), who sums the issue up quite succinctly:

What part of illegal don't you understand? We want people who are here illegally to become residents and to become taxpaying citizens just like everyone else is.

That about sums it up.

*Hey Media, it's called the "
Georgia General Assembly," not the "Legislature" down here. Been that way since 1777. A minor point, but it's a pet peeve.

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