Small World: A modest proposal

By Henry Precht

BN Columnist

Republican presidential candidates by the score (it seems) are calling for something to be done about the 11 (plus or minus) million illegal aliens who reside among us. The loudest voices demand that illegals be returned to their homes of origin and made to stand in visa lines like everyone else if they want to come here legally.

First, why are “illegals” a problem?  Plainly, it is an abiding offense to many of us that they did not follow prescribed procedures. Many of them did come over here with valid visas, but then declined to renew the permission to stay and so they exist in a documentless underground. Our sense of law and order is deeply offended — although many of the complaining citizens also complain when they have to fill out Medicare or IRS forms. What did Emerson say? “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

But back to the serious problem of illegals: Some critics say they take jobs away from American workers by picking blueberries or other back-bending jobs our people don’t care for. Or, undeservedly, it is said, they just sit around and collect Social Security, health care and other government-granted benefits.

Second, what is to be done about them? If Washington issues a polite invitation to come in to an Immigration Office with bags packed to return home, predictably a very small crowd will show up. The no-shows will have to be tracked down and forcibly shipped off to their place of origin.

Think for a moment: The agency which was assigned to keep tabs on these immigrants will now be required to find them, process them (law and order, remember?) and usher them across our borders. Think of the million, yea billions, of dollars that will cost us American taxpayers! And don’t begin to dream that Mexico, Guatemala and the rest will pick up the tab. Ha! Put that demand in the same joke drawer as telling the former country they have to pay for a wall between us.

Finally, as it is sometimes clarifying to think in analogies, let us imagine that we were dealing with another population that is a drain on our society and how we might handle them. I refer, of course, to the idle high schoolers or H.S. grads, who decline invitations to labor during the summer. Like illegals living on subsidies, teenagers subsist on parental plentitude. Offer them better that minimum wage and will they cut your grass? No thanks. How about stacking firewood? Loud ZZZZs from the mid-morning bedroom. Take on a small painting job? Time for skateboarding.

(This summer, after numerous inquiries and searches, I found a young fellow who would and did happily take on these hard jobs. He was, of course, from south of the border — South Carolina to be precise).

So, why aren’t candidates taking out after these parasitical (shall we admit it?) youth? We can’t ship them abroad, but we can send them off or draft them into work camps. Litter picked up. Public grass cut. The town, in general, spruced up. A winning plank on every Republican’s platform (especially since the young, like illegals, don’t vote).

That’s one alternative. Jonathan Swift (see title above) would have us grill loafing teenagers and illegals and serve them up with a side of jalapeno.

Or, we might treat teenagers and illegal aliens as we would like to be done unto. Recognize and welcome hard workers without criminal convictions, and after some formalities, (both should learn proper English), treat them as full members of our communities.

Henry Precht is a retired Foreign Service Officer.

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