Friday, August 29, 2008

Homeland Security? EPIC FAIL


So about three months ago, our neighbour disappeared.

He and his wife lived underneath us and, although I don't know this, it's a pretty safe guess that they were illegal immigrants. They didn't speak English, they received mail in about fifteen different combinations of Spanish-sounding names and he drove a beaten up old Dodge Caravan with mismatched Pennsylvania plates.

From various sources, we pieced together the reason why he didn't come home one night. Apparently, he'd been driving back from his black-market job, drunk (as he tended to be most nights) and got pulled over by the police.

No licence, insurance or registration, plus a prior record and tequila-scented breath you could light with a match, were enough to get him locked up and, unbelievably, the Immigration Department actually came and collected him.

That in itself is surprising - the local police are forbidden from demanding a prisoner's immigration status and unless there's a busload of them, the Immigration Department normally argue that it's not worth their while 'taking ownership' of prisoners.

For once, 'the system' apparently worked. Our plucky Mexican friend was bundled into a detention centre and then sent back home to Mexico.

That was three months ago. He turned up back on our doorstep yesterday.

In the intervening three months, his wife and kid has stayed in the house (still paying their rent in cash every month) and insisted to those who spoke Spanish that 'he'd be back.'

But I didn't believe her. I mean, this guy was a convicted criminal who'd been deported. I got 'refused entry' for a visa misunderstanding and it took me FIVE YEARS to return. Surely it was impossible - inconceivable - that this little Mexican bandito would be back in just three short months.

But he was.

So it looks like business as usual downstairs. The same slamming doors, the same swerving, rattling, smoking minivan knocking over dustbins every morning. A familiar, friendly smile from his nut-brown face as he scurries past our front door every night.

It just leaves one question unanswered:

HOW THE HECK DID HE GET BACK?

As it happens, the answer to that is obvious. He made use of the thousands of miles of border between America and Mexico that are only defended by a handful of rangers and a bunch of rednecks calling themselves a 'militia.'

Maybe he snuck over in a truck. Perhaps he floated across the Rio Grande in an inner tube (how many illegal immigrants earn the nickname 'wetbacks.') Perhaps he paid a 'coyote' to sneak him over the border - or crawled through miles of stinking sewer pipes like many illegal immigrants do.

Whatever the reason, it highlights the complete and utter incompetence of the Immigration Department. While they mercilessly harass legitimate immigrants at airports, the real problem is ignored - how illegal immigrants continue to sneak across the border into America.

Reports have claimed that a 'crack down' by the Immigration Department has successfully reduced the number of illegal immigrants in America by 20%. If that's true, they obviously weren't working in Jersey this week.

Now, don't get me wrong. I've got nothing against this guy. His wife is very sweet and their son is adorable (and an American, since he was born here.)

I just resent the fact that the current system rewards illegal immigrants. Whether McCain or Obama gets elected, they'll be given a safe route to citizenship despite breaking the rules. As it is, the local police turn a blind eye to them working under the table and driving cars without insurance or registration.

It's only the legitimate immigrants who get punished. They get harassed at the airport, they get stung with thousands of dollars in 'processing fees' and they spend years waiting for stamps on forms from a unaccountable bureaucracy. They get screwed.

When you reward the rule-breakers and punish the law abiding, you reap what you sow. That's why the immigration situation in America is such a God-awful mess.

1 comment:

PQG said...

I just resent the fact that the current system rewards illegal immigrants.

The current system is not about rewarding the illegal immigrants. It is about rewarding businesses that enjoy the effects on wages that high rates of illegal immigration cause.

When you reward the rule-breakers and punish the law abiding, you reap what you sow. That's why the immigration situation in America is such a God-awful mess.

One person's mess is another person's BMW. A BMW is a nice thing to sow for doing nothing but safely break the law and hire much cheaper and (usually) harder working undocumented people.

The rule breakers that should really piss us off are not the poor illegal immigrants looking for a better life but affluent Americans looking for a better life by getting the benefits -- direct and indirect -- of cheap and easily exploitable labor.

P.S. Wasn't reducing the rates of illegal immigration from Mexico one of the big selling points of NAFTA? The Clinton-Rubin regime really pulled a fast one there!