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Immigration Debate – My Daughter Teaches her Father about the Innocent Victims, the Children

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They are illegal and they committed a crime in coming here! They are illegal and they committed a crime in coming here! The mantra repeated over and over by Republicans on the immigration issue ignores a series of inconvenient facts. Let us take a look at them.

Besides repealing, there is another way that laws in the US cease to in effect be laws. They cease to be laws when they are not enforced. There are thousand of laws on the books that are no longer enforced, some of them can be seen here , and include that in Ottumwa, Iowa, "It is unlawful for any male person, within the corporate limits of the (city), to wink at any female person with whom he is unacquainted." and "In Carmel, N.Y., a man can't go outside while wearing a jacket and pants that do not match." It would be less than honest to call people who violate these laws ‘criminals'. This has an impact on the immigration issue because of how the issue has been treated and enforced. Consider that we did not secure the borders against undocumented immigrants. Consider that we have millions of jobs for undocumented immigrants. Consider that we have laws that protect undocumented immigrants from being reported to INS who come forward and report crimes against them. Consider that we have laws that protect the health of undocumented immigrants by ensuring they get treatment in emergency rooms. Consider that few people who become aware of an undocumented immigrants status turn them into authorities. These issues are just off of the top of my head. We have a society that at least up until now has tolerated and I would argue encourages undocumented immigrants to come here. But now Republicans want to call them ‘illegals' and ‘criminals'?

Republicans want to hide the fact that racism against Latin Americans and Spanish speaking people lies at the root of much of their objections to undocumented immigrants. But the truth is there if one looks. Despite the fact that Asians, Eastern Europeans and Africans also compose much of the undocumented immigrant populations, much of the nastiness is directed at the Latinos. Just look at Ann Coulter's "Se Puede Get Two Years Tax-Free!" article, a nasty reference to Cesar Chavez' Latino empowerment phrase "Si, Se Puede!" (‘Yes, we can!' or ‘It can be done!'), a reference no doubt lost on and inappropriate for undocumented immigrants from Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa.

As my daughter, Victoria Leser, pointed out to me, however, when one considers the children of undocumented immigrants that the cruelty of GOP desires to deport all undocumented immigrants becomes clear. Some of these children have been in the US for 6, 9, even 12-15 years. The United States is all that these children know. In some cases, particularly in central Florida in the citrus areas and other farming communities in the US, these children have been forced to drop out of school to help their parents in the fields and orchards so that the family can make a living. In fact, as my daughter's research showed, in Florida, 65% of the children of undocumented immigrants drop out of school to work on farms. Should insult be added to injury and these poor children deported back to impoverished areas of the world along with their parents?

Undocumented aliens have all but been encouraged to come to this country at every turn and with the full knowledge and aid of many government agencies. They should be given a path to citizenship right away and that includes a green card so that they can obtain employment at decent wages, not the slave wages that they can be paid now. This will allow their children to go back to school and leave the ‘hot and sweaty work' that my daughter discovered that many of them are performing on farms with the perfect knowledge of the US Department of Agriculture despite the obvious violation of the 1938 fair labor standards act. We have created these conditions for these people and their innocent children. We need to do something fair and compassionate about it.
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A political blogger for the International Business Times, Steve Leser is a hot national political pundit. He has appeared on MSNBC's Coundown with Keith Olbermann, Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Russia Today's (RT) Crosstalk with (more...)
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