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In the News Index

Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Date: April 17, 2006
Byline: Stu Bykofsky


Opinion

The still-evolving Battle of the Border is one of those bright-line issues that defines a person and a mindset. Finding a resolution is slippery as olive oil because one person's "rights" are another person's "wrongs."

This isn't the first time diametrically opposing viewpoints have dominated a debate. We've seen it before:

  • The back-and-forth of the soft drug wars — permissive on one side vs. prohibitive on the other.
  • Dogfights between "right to life" and "pro-choice."
  • The faceoff between baggypants 'boarders and brown-baggers over who has the "right" to rule Love Park.
  • Firefights between smokers and nonsmokers.

What makes these conflicts so stubborn is that each side is fighting for its "rights" — to toke, to abort, to skateboard, to smoke.

In the immigration argument, one side talks about "illegal aliens." The other side talks about "undocumented workers," or (even better) about "displaced human beings," as if their humanity were somehow the issue.

It is not.

Nor is the issue "immigration." That's a red herring thrown in to poison the debate. This issue is ILLEGAL immigration. It is not about whether illegals are hard-working, decent, God-fearing, or musically inclined. It is not even about whether they take jobs Americans will or will not do.

It is about playing by the rules.

It is that simple.

This is like a bad acid flashback to the culture wars of the '60s, with the hippie longhairs squaring off against the three-button-suit buzz-cuts. Today, the soft-hearted on the left claim the moral high ground by tossing around "compassion" like a Wiffle ball, while the hardheaded on the right sternly remind us we are a nation of law.

Free Love versus Law and Order, Chaos versus Progress, Love Beads versus Hard Hats.

One side evilly suggests that the immigrant tide cloaks criminals and terrorists. The other disingenuously says we betray our immigrant ethos if we reject "your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Should a nation made great by immigrants turn its back on immigrants, even illegal ones? Does "breathe free" translate to "work off the books for less than minimum wage"?

When illegal immigrants carry signs (as they did in Love Park and elsewhere last week) saying, "Immigration for all," does that mean America must accept anybody and everybody who shows up?

Name me one nation that does.

Legislation will try to resolve the illegal-immigrant mess. And no one knows whether the Hard Hats or Love Beads will prevail. I find myself, surprisingly, with the Hard Hats on this one.

Americans are steamed because illegal immigration offends, at least, their sense of fair play. This is about right and wrong. It is that simple.

Should the illegals be turned into felons? No. Should they be allowed to stay? No.

If you believe in fair play and doing things the right way, you have no honest option but to reject those who came here illegally — breaking U.S. law and jumping ahead of those who filled out forms and patiently waited their turn.

If you don't give a crap about right and wrong, leave the illegals alone — and brace yourself for millions more.

It is that simple.

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