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Jun 22,2007
Back to the mass slander of the undocumented
by Lionel Van Deerlin

The U.S. Senate has decided there's a chance for that immigration bill, after all. Under way, therefore, is a second phase of the only truly important debate that's likely to ensue in the 110th Congress.

This may also revive some of the nastiest talk heard in our land since the civil rights debate raged nearly 50 years ago. It would be comforting to feel immigration reform can be addressed without resort to mass slander of the several million undocumented aliens living and working among us - an element usually referred to in terms no gentler than "illegals."

Their legal status aside, however, it's hard to view the wretched outcasts encamped nightly in north San Diego County canyons as evil folk. Can we seriously suppose their desire to find a life in America scores high on the scale of deadly sins?

No matter how one feels about the pending legislation (an issue mixing patriotism with partisanship and often economic interests as well), everyone of good faith should aim to deal with the facts. That would seem to start with assessing the size of the problem. How many immigrants have entered the United States unlawfully and remain here? Although we must wait more than two years for our next national population count, the Census Bureau currently estimates the undocumented at 11 million to 12 million.

A sizable number, that - but not stark enough, it seems, to satisfy members of a self-styled "Immigration Caucus" in Congress. Habitually, and absent supporting evidence, this politically charged, mainly Republican bloc puts the number at 20 million.

Except for a militant border band calling themselves Minutemen, our most ardent anti-immigrant citizen front is a six-year-old cyberspace network that has taken the name Grassfire. Its purported 2 million armchair warriors keep their computers alive with a steady stream of suggested talking points for use in castigating the mostly Mexican horde. Under other auspices, Grassfire's output would be designated urban legends - alarming tales that, though lacking proof, gain credence with their constant retelling.

Sample offerings: Only 2 percent of illegal aliens do farm work - while 20 times their number draw welfare. One baby in every 10 currently born in the United States is to unlawful immigrant parents, and paid for by Medicaid. An average 13 Americans are killed every day by uninsured alien DUIs. A typical illegal doing prison time has been arrested eight times, and committed 13 crimes.

Oh, yes, and Los Angeles has 300,000 immigrants huddled in residential garages.

Grassfire's organizer, one Steve Elliott, lists himself a graduate of the Rev. Pat Robertson's 30-year-old Regent University, in Virginia Beach, Va. "America's pre-eminent Christian university" has been much in the news of late. Young Elliott may have failed to make the cut among some 150 fellow collegians who landed jobs in the Bush administration. Instead, he applied his talents to an Internet assault against the alien scourge.

Whatever the extent of Christian training available at Regent, Elliott apparently passed on any sessions dealing with the parable of the Good Samaritan. Or, for that matter, with the fourth chapter of St. Matthew and its challenging line, "I came a stranger, and ye took me in." Regrettably, most of the talking points spewed regularly from Elliott's Grassfire would fail the Eighth Commandment's stricture regarding false witness.

Those statistics on crime, for instance. A check with the Federal Bureau of Prisons discloses that illegal aliens - possibly because of a desire to stay out of sight - actually may be more law-abiding than the rest of us. The percentage of America's general population behind bars is markedly higher than the percentage of undocumented.

For sheer irresponsibility, however, no rap against aliens could top a statistical fabrication passed off as fact in a show hosted by TV reporter Lou Dobbs on CNN (a cable channel self-promoted as "The Most Trusted Name in News.") Dobbs' startling allegation was that the illegal influx is responsible for 7,000 leprosy cases in the United States - "far more than in the past, and probably an understatement," Dobbs added somberly.

The number 7,000 had a basis in fact, yes - except that the government report on which it was based made clear those cases stretched over 30 years. Health officials assert that the once dread disease is well in hand - indeed, that new leprosy cases have declined significantly since the early 1980s.

But so what? We'll be reminded those people shouldn't be here, damn it, with or without a communicable disease.

Van Deerlin represented a San Diego County district in Congress for 18 years.

© Copley News Service

1771 times read

Related news
U.S. Needs Comprehensive Immigration Reform by Deborah Notkin posted on Feb 09,2006

A sellout of our unemployed by Patrick_Buchanan posted on Mar 16,2009

No more trust on immigration by Cal_Thomas posted on Jun 08,2007

Illegal doesn't make them criminals by The Indianapolis Star posted on Jul 27,2007

Time to bring an end to the DREAM Act by Phyllis_Schlafly posted on Oct 12,2007

Did you enjoy this article? Rating: 1.77Rating: 1.77 (total 31 votes)

  • Citing that native-born Americans are "incarcerated" at higher rates than "immigrants" is a particularly transparent ploy to disguise the crime and violence being imported from Mexico and other Third World nations. Incarceration rates only measure the success of the government authorities in catching and prosecuting criminals. We know that because of "sanctuary" laws enacted by do-gooder fools like this commentator, police are severely hamstrung in their ability to catch and prosecute illegals. In addition, criminal illegals can conveniently skip back across the border when the law gets too hot for them. Please don't buy this man's bogus propaganda.
  • (Posted on June 23, 2007, 9:51 am Mary)

  • http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0705/16/ldt.01.html "In the last 30, 40 years we've had 7,000 by registry figures that are maintained, but it's likely to be significantly more than that because not all states require, including New York State, are requiring reporting of the disease. So it's underreported. So that's a minimal figure."
  • (Posted on June 22, 2007, 8:49 am Bruce Blodgett)

  • Or this one? Proverbs 25:17 Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbor’s house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee. Friendliness includes visits and communication. But too much of either can be a burden and spoil friendships, like too much honey can make you vomit (25:16). Excess will lead to contempt and hatred, so Solomon urges temperance and moderation even with friends.
  • (Posted on June 22, 2007, 8:49 am Paul W.)

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