Shrug. My mother’s parents were born in Poland, but eventually moved here and became Dumb Polacks who took factory jobs away from deserving Americans. But my grandparents came here legally, by which I mean they bought one-way tickets to America and passed a TB test when they got here. (If that’s all it took to emigrate nowadays, I’d’ve long since become “one of those dumb American immigrants taking jobs away from deserving New Zealanders. Or maybe Tasmanians.”) If they had to leap over the same hurdles as today’s immigrants, they never would’ve left their miserable little Polish farm village not far from the Russian border.
So I think the best way to solve the illegal immigrant problem is to reform immigration law and processes so more people can come in legally. However, even if I were the type of person who sincerely believed, for some reason or other, that immigration was bad for America and needed to be stopped, I hope I’d never be callous enough to deny water to a would-be immigrant dying of thirst in the desert.
Then I read the story of Walt Staton, sentenced to 300 hours of community service and a year’s probation for leaving water in the desert for illegal immigrants passing through:
Walt Staton, a member of the group No More Deaths, left full water bottles in December in Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge for the illegal immigrants who routinely pass through the 18,000-acre refuge, according to court documents. A judge sentenced him Tuesday to 300 hours of picking up trash on public property and a year of probation, No More Deaths said in a written statement. He is also banned from the refuge during that time, the group said.The story goes on to list plausible-sounding reasons why individual water bottles really would hurt area wildlife, and later adds:
Although the case involved only a misdemeanor charge, both sides used the divisive issue of illegal immigration in their arguments; Staton's lawyer argued that Staton's actions were humanitarian, but the government said otherwise.
Mike Hawkes of the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge said Thursday that although he had no issue with groups leaving water out for illegal immigrants, "there's ways to do it without leaving plastic jugs out there." …. Hawkes said refuge officials and members of No More Deaths had met and were trying to come up with methods that don't involve plastic bottles.So maybe a misdemeanor littering charge and sentence picking up more of the same is perfectly sensible. But the prosecutors’ rationale is scary:
In a sentencing memo, the federal prosecutors wrote that Staton's "actions are not about humanitarian efforts, but about protesting the immigration policies of the United States, and aiding those that enter illegally into the United States."True. It’s also true that in this case, “aid illegal aliens” is exactly synonymous with “save people from dying of thirst in the desert.” Whatever damage illegal immigrants might do to my country isn't as bad as what the prosecutors do to my country by making a federal case out of that.
Noting the phrase scrawled on many of the plastic water jugs -- "buena suerte," or "good luck" in Spanish -- the prosecutors said, "The obvious conclusion is that the defendant and No More Deaths wish to aid illegal aliens in their entry attempt."