Friday, December 31, 2010

A Crime-Fighting Visa: The "Sing Visa"

Had at least two new thoughts concerning immigration today. One came while reading "Cartels and Combinations" (a novel). Two drug gangsters are talking, and one says the reason the U.S. has reduced the number of agents at the border is to allow more people to enter, so the politicians can reap their votes.

"Strange people, those Americanos." replies the other gangster. "Don't they realize that our people who cross over without papers are helping us distribute our products up there?"

Yes, it is true: Many (though not all) of those who migrate across the border are pressed into service by the cartels. I got wondering how many. It occurred to me there is some information -- maybe even a wealth of information -- about the cartels we could tap into if we could get the immigrants to sing. I am supposing they are usually out the influence of the cartels once they are here, no longer being monitored by them.

But, they do not go directly to the police simply because that would be turning themselves in. Now, inasmuch as informants to crimes are often not prosecuted, in exchange for their testimonies, how is it we don't utilize our immigrants the same way?

I got a name for this idea, "Project Sing." A program such as this will help in the war against crime and it will make it so a host of immigrants can live here legally. We've got work visas and espousal visas and I don't know all what other kinds of visas. Now, we can have the "Sing Visa."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Is it, Have a Merry Christmas, or a Holy One?

I've thought all week of the greeting, "Have a merry Christmas." We wonder about Christ being taken out of Christmas, don't we? Well, last week, it occurred to me "Have a merry Christmas" is not necessarily a greeting expressing Christmas being about the birth of the Savior. The word "merry" sides more toward it being a day of festive, Santa Claus-type celebration.

So, am I playing into the game of taking Christ out of Christmas by greeting people with "Have a merry Christmas"? Should I, instead, offer something that would indicate Christmas is about Christ? Maybe I could say, "Have a very holy Christmas."

As Christmas, itself, draws almost here, I find myself coming to the conclusion it is quite all right that Christmas is not just about Christ. For all the worthiness of keeping Christ in Christmas, I don't see a big need to take Santa out, either. So, no, I do not need to feel guilty for saying, "Have a merry Christmas."  Saying "Have a holy Christmas" would be fine, and would reflect that it is a day honoring the Savior for His birth. But, Christmas has come to also mean other things -- to mean Santa and all -- and some people simply do choose to have the day mean no more. I can respect that by offering "Have a merry Christmas" as my greeting. This does not prevent me from honoring the Savior on Christmas day. Christmas can remain, for me, a day for observing the Savior's birth.

It simply isn't such a day to many, though, and I should respect their right to worship (or not worship) as they choose. While offering "Have a very holy Christmas" can be no more than a reflection of my own beliefs, and therefore not wrong, it might also be argued that by telling a person to have a holy Christmas, I am telling that person to observe Christmas my way, to observe it as a day in honor of the Savior's birth.

If I do greet a non-believer with, "Have a holy Christmas," I would hope they will not take offense, but rather realize I am expressing my own beliefs and expressing what Christmas means to me. Freedom of religion should allow me to express my beliefs whenever and wherever I choose.

But having a right does not always mean exercising it is right. We shouldn't do things simply because we can. In this case, I expect I will usually choose "Have a merry Christmas" as a way of being considerate of others.

And, I may well (probably will) continue with "Have a merry Christmas" even when speaking to those who I know are believers.  They know Christmas for me is a day honoring the Savior's birth. So when I say, "Have a merry Christmas," they know that is what I mean.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Columbus and the Eclipse of 1503

So, we had a lunar eclipse last night. I bring you a story of one of the most famous lunar eclipses, famous for the "prophecy" from Christopher Columbus that it was coming. Columbus. If the Wikipedian historians from whom I read this story judged Columbus fairly, the story won't say much for Columbus' honesty, but it will speak to his cunning.
In 1503, Columbus' ships were grounded in Jamaica. The folks there greeted the newcomers, fed them, and treated them well -- only to have Columbus' sailors cheat and steal from them. So, understandably, the Jamaicans cut off the free food.

Columbus, having an almanac with him, happened to read how a lunar eclipse was about to occur and used it to prophesy. He told the leader of the people his God was not pleased with them for cutting off the food, and that to show it, he would give a clear sign. The God would take the rising full moon and make it appear "inflamed with wrath."

Apparently, Columbus' almanac told him it would be a red moon. Well, the red moon came out and then disappeared as Columbus prophesied, and the people screamed in horror and fear and ran to Columbus' with their food, begging for him to ask his God to pardon them. So, Columbus, knowing when the eclipse would end, told them they were, indeed, going to be forgiven. And, just as the moon began to come out from the shadow of the earth, Columbus told them his God had forgiven them.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bring on the DREAM Act, Flawed Though it be

I hesitate to favor the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that would turn some undocumented residents into legal residents. The DREAM Act creates a path toward citizenship for those who were under age 16 when they came to the U.S. Only those willing to further their education or serve in the military qualify for help.

Having education as the qualifier seems wrong on two counts. First, if one of the criticisms of the undocumented resident is that they often go through our education system without paying, why then should we make legal the very ones who "abuse" our system? Second, it concerns me that only the higher caste -- those able to obtain an education -- are being advanced towards citizenship, while the most poor and downtrodden are being left behind.

I think about some of the other objections being raised. One is that the DREAM Act is amnesty.

But, the thing which bothers me most is that we are rewarding those who have escaped the law. One requirement is that they have been in the U.S. five years in order to qualify. So, we make it a requirement that they have successfully avoided deportation for five years in order to qualify not to be deported? Does that make sense?

I much favor just granting the immigrant citizenship upon arrival at the border, rather than instituting a hypocritical system of reward them for successfully abusing our system.

Well, there is a lot I don't know about the undocumented worker. Basic stuff, I admit. Like, how many of them do not go to school? Maybe they all do and I am worried about leaving behind those who don't when there aren't hardly any at all who don't.

No, I don't like the idea of them using our education system without paying income taxes, but what is the  alternative? If they are here, and we deprive them of an education, is that wise? I say, give them an education regardless whether they pay their share. But, let it remain before our eyes that the way to erase this inequality is to make them legal right when they come across the border, thus making them taxpayers from the get-go.

As for amnesty, considering that we are merely excusing them for coming without paperwork, I don't think it a wrong -- but we shouldn't do it unless we also make it legal to come here in the first place. We have a system of pardons for those who commit real crimes, even serious crimes, so why not pardon those who simply didn't comply with the requirement that they have paperwork? I don't, though, like the idea of granting amnesty while at the same time restricting immigration so tightly that people continue to pour in illegally, thus creating a system where you come illegally and then, having been successful at that, are granted legality. Amnesty should be accompanied with laws making it legal for them to enter in the first place.

Well, I close this blog weighing in lightly in favor of the DREAM Act. I would like to see all those who are otherwise obeying the law made legal, and the DREAM Act would, indeed, help some. I do not like creating a hypocritical system, but perhaps a hypocritical system that brings justice to some is better than a system that brings justice to none. As for leaving the most disadvantaged behind, while that is not good, again, it is better to bring some along than to leave everyone behind.