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 Texas : Features : Columns : Letters From North America :

Green Card and
Undocumented Workers

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry

Have you ever seen a 'green' card? Would you know one if you saw one? As most of us are aware these are supposed to be the identifying documents for aliens living in this country legally.

But are they all green?

Well, the answer may surprise you. The last time we checked which was some years ago, there were white ones, pink ones, and several other colors I have forgotten about. They weren't all green.

If you Google the term 'green cards', you'll get directed to the Immigration Department web site. Now, it would seem reasonable that if you are an employer (as I am) that you could easily be directed to a site where you could see what a legal immigration document actually looked like.

Not going to happen, if you do get to the employers section, you will find it very difficult to navigate and that most of the information is for people wanting immigration documents, not information for the employers. Call their toll free number and you will wait for a long period of time listening to the instructions in both English and Spanish. Try calling their enforcement office to see if you can get some information on what documentation looks like and you'll get a answering machine with a promise for the Dept. of Homeland Security telling you they will get back to you within 24 hours. That gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling doesn't it? Makes you wonder what would have happened if you wanted to tell them you overheard something important on 9/10 of 2001.

I'm sorry, but this whole situation has me in an uproar. How in God's name did we manage to get into this predicament in the first place? How could we have let 9-12 MILLION people enter this country illegally? Have we all been asleep at the wheel? I'm certain the folks that live along the borders haven't been these past several years. They have been yelling …but to deaf ears.

The current trend is to establish more legislation to take care of this national fiasco. Excuse me, but I think we already have laws on the books that make it illegal to enter this country without going through the proper channels. The current pieces of legislation are designed for the professional politicians who are looking for a photo opportunity so they can have their pictures in the paper to assist them in their never-ending quest for re-election.

I don't begrudge anyone for wanting to come into this country to work and to live. I also cannot ignore the work ethic and determination of millions of undocumented workers. What I object to is the flagrant flaunting of our laws and policies as if they do not exist in the first place. President Fox of Mexico is upset over our current plan to station National Guard troops along our borders to cut down on the wave of illegal immigration.

You ever been to Mexico? Sure, the borders are controlled by the customs officers, but drive a short distance into the interior and see who stops you at the checkpoints and wants to see your identification. It's the Federal officers. Go to Acapulco or other resorts and see who is riding around the towns in jeeps with automatic rifles, it's the Federal officers, not the local police.

Last night President Bush outlined his plan to save us. One of his key points was the establishment of a program to allow all of these undocumented workers to apply for citizenship and then after they have learned to read, write and speak English, then they can apply to become a citizen. If they fail to apply within a certain time frame then they must report and face deportation. If you believe this is going to happen, call me I have some bridges for sale in New York City you might be interested in learning about.

A few weeks ago, when we had the demonstrations against revision of immigration laws, what you didn't see in our national media was this: Los Angeles freeways were easier to drive on, the hospitals weren't overcrowded or over whelmed with indigent patients. Calls to 911 for help and emergencies were off by as much as 23%. I must have been in the bathroom or getting a sandwich when that came out on the news because I didn't see it being reported, did you?

Let's face it; I don't think anyone in this country, including me would be upset over anyone who is trying to make a better life for themselves. All of us, except maybe the Native Americans, are the result of immigration. But, the bottom line is there is a right way and a wrong way to do something. Providing schools, social services, police and fire protection to any group of people that are not living within the confines of the established law is just plain wrong. Sending our tired, overextended National Guard troops to the border to turn illegals around so they can just try to enter at some other point is not the answer.

I'm not certain what the answer is, but I can tell you for sure one place to start and that would be to fine the employers who subvert the process by paying in cash with no taxes taken out and who don't verify the legality of anyone they hire.

Obviously for a person who hires people and who is trying to do the right thing by making certain all persons have the proper documentation, looking on the Immigration web site for that information isn't going to help.

You'd think that would be one of the first places to start getting this situation under control. But then that's logical and we're talking about the government. The two don't go together, do they?

Too little, too late.

© Peary Perry
Letters From North America
- May 18, 2006 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
Comments go to www.pearyperry.com

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