Heather Lemon was absolutely correct in her assertion that there were “some errors” in my letter regarding illegal immigration, and I offer my apologies to the public in general, and Ms. Lemon in particular for my having relied on my memory instead of checking the facts. However, Ms. Lemon may want to adhere to the adage that says, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones,” because in the course of my research to check my faulty memory, I found that she made a couple of errors herself.
Firstly, she states that “He (the president) was proposing temporary immigration status of one year at a time for working visas only.” The following is an excerpt from a CNN “Inside Politics” Jan 6:
“President Bush will outline an immigration reform proposal Wednesday that would allow workers in the United States illegally to join a new temporary worker program and not lose their jobs, administration officials said.
The new temporary worker program would include a three-year temporary visa, and Bush will ask Congress to allow one renewal – for six years in all. Officials said they were open to allowing additional terms, subject to congressional negotiation.”
Ms. Lemon goes on to state: “You need a green card for seven years before you can even apply for citizenship.” And: “So the president’s plan, which must be passed by Congress to become a reality, is not politically self-serving, as there are no votes attached to it.”
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Following are three excerpts, the first two from the Washington Post, Dec. 24, 2003, written by Mike Allen, in which he states:
“The other half of the program would be what Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge referred to earlier this month as ‘some kind of legal status’ for undocumented workers in this country. The sources said White House officials were more skeptical about this idea than about the temporary-worker program, but they concluded that they needed a response to the large population of undocumented workers for the plan to be credible and for Bush to get credit from Hispanic voters.”
And: “But presidential advisers said they believe that Hispanic voters, one of the targets for Bush’s re-election campaign, will give him credit for pushing for the changes even if nothing is enacted before the election.”
The third is taken from the U.S. Citizenship and Naturalization Services Web page dealing with eligibility and testing of immigrants for naturalization:
“An applicant is eligible to file if, immediately preceding the filing of the application, he or she has resided continuously as a lawful permanent resident in the U.S. for at least five years prior to filing with no single absence from the United States of more than one year.”
While a temporary worker visa may not grant permanent residence in its original form, it is certainly an avenue that opens the door for a green card, which, after five years, can be traded for naturalization status, assuming they follow the proper channels.
In light of this, I find it astounding that Ms. Lemon can say that such proposed legislation is not “politically self serving,” regardless of which administration proposed it. Yes, I realize that this is not the first, nor will it be the last, administration to use illegal immigrants as a political football.
If I am a citizen who has a vote, as well as undocumented relatives in this country, I can assure you that I will cast my “undecided” vote for the candidate who will do my family the most good, so please don’t talk down to me and the rest of the public in such a manner. We “mountain folk” may not be as politically astute as the Beltway brother-sisterhood, but we do have the ability to recognize when a large column of smoke is being blown up our backsides.
One of the loudest voices opposing the aforementioned proposed legislation is that of the U.S. Border Patrol. They, amongst others, point out that such proposed legislation is viewed within the illegal community as a reward for defying the laws of our country, as opposed to a means of curbing future illegal immigration as the politicians, both Republican and Democrat, would have you believe.
If you doubt this statement, please check the following Web site page: http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=3046, an article by Joseph D’Agostino in which he reports at length on an interview done with said border patrolmen.
In addition, a page 2 article in the Denver Post of 28, April 2004, by Olga R. Rodriguez, entitled “Illegal immigrants rush border” states: “SASABE, Mexico – After a four-year decline, illegal immigration from Mexico is spiking as several thousand migrants a day rush across the border in hopes of getting work visas under a program President Bush proposed. Many also are trying to beat tighter security to come in June.”
Unfortunately, it is not possible to discuss the immigration issue without delving in to the political ramifications it brings forth, but the real issue is has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the fact that people who support, or find ways to rationalize illegal immigration and the hiring of undocumented workers are only one step removed from the slave traders of old. It has to do with profiteering and greed, and it has to do with people breaking the laws of the land they profess to support, which translates to pure hypocrisy. The way to change this is to make the penalties for breaking those laws tougher, rather than proposing and passing legislation that makes the problem worse. Thank you for your time and patience.
Vail community celebrates life of Nick Courtens, a talented horticulturist and dependable friend, at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
A celebration of life for Vail local Nick Courtens took place on Friday in the same location where Courtens arranged a memorial for his friend Spencer Cooke eight years earlier. Courtens, 34, died in a …