Monday, November 05, 2007

Undocumented Aliens and Loupassi’s Ad

A sloganeer submitted a comment to my post “Shame On You, Manoli (revisited)”. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against sloganeers. In fact I have been known to be a sloganeer myself, and I think I am quite good at it. Sometimes, however, slogans are not the best way of addressing issues. For example, my commenter began with “What part of the phrase ‘Illegal Alien’ don’t you understand?” Now that’s a pretty good slogan, but it doesn’t begin to address the complexities of the issue. The commentator, Anonymous, goes on to say he has nothing against aliens in general. He is bothered that the first act these particular aliens did on coming to America was breaking the law.

Anonymous is right. In fact, as these undocumented aliens were in the process of stepping across the border of our country they were violating Section 1325 of Title 8 of the United States Code. For violating this statute they can be prosecuted and if convicted they may spend some time in prison or pay a fine. They may also be deported from the United States.

So, this attorney turned maven certainly understands the phrase “illegal alien.” Moreover, as an attorney I am greatly bothered by laws that are not enforced. When any laws are routinely violated without consequences the commitment of our citizenry to obeying the law is weakened. Our country learned this lesson when we tried to outlaw alcohol about eighty years ago. By making booze illegal we created an entire class of “illegal drinkers” and a vast criminal enterprise to serve their needs. Tragically, we have not yet learned this lesson with regard to outlawing drugs.

Since the Federal Government has made entering our country “other than as designated by immigration officers” illegal, the Federal Government has an obligation to enforce that law. However, since there are many millions of individuals who have violated this law, the logistics of enforcement are mind-boggling. Understanding this, President Bush proposed a reasonable way to solve the illegal alien problem. (You may want to save that sentence. It is and will probably be the only time that I praise W). However, there are far too many politicians in this country who would rather use this problem as an election issue than trying to solve it. So, this problem goes on unresolved.

What Mr. Anonymous does not realize is that I did not criticize Mr. Loupassi for his views on the illegal alien problem. I criticized him for running an ad that naturally has the effect of dehumanizing people. I criticized him for engaging in hate-based politics. I criticized him for being a divider rather than a uniter. I criticized him for scape-goating. In sum, I criticized Mr. Loupassi for having such a low opinion of the intelligence of the voters in his district that he thought such negative campaigning would work.

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