The time’s long past for Con­gress to ad­dress im­mi­gra­tion is­sues

Manteca Bulletin - - Front Page - DEN­NIS WY­ATT Editor This col­umn is the opin­ion of ex­ec­u­tive editor, Den­nis Wy­att, and does not nec­es­sar­ily rep­re­sent the opin­ion of The Bul­letin or Mor­ris News­pa­per Corp. of CA. He can be con­tacted at dwy­att@man­te­cab­ul­ or 209.249.3519.

How bizarre is po­lit­i­cal dis­course in Amer­ica to­day? Take a look down in Texas where the hot but­ton is­sues of il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and abor­tion have come to­gether in a le­gal vor­tex that threat­ens to push the lim­its of logic and ab­sur­dity.

At the cen­ter of the flurry of le­gal fil­ings is an un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nor that came into the Unites States from Mex­ico and wants to have an abor­tion.

The ACLU has filed in the Ninth Dis­trict Court of Ap­peals in San Fran­cisco seek­ing a pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion against a fed­eral law that pre­vents fed­er­ally funded shel­ters from tak­ing “any ac­tion that fa­cil­i­tates abor­tion for these un­ac­com­pa­nied mi­nors in their care with­out di­rec­tion and ap­proval from the Direc­tor of Of­fice of Refugee Re­set­tle­ment.”

The ACLU ar­gues this is an un­con­sti­tu­tional pol­icy as it pre­vents mi­nors — in­clud­ing the Jane Doe in Texas — from ex­er­cis­ing their “fun­da­men­tal con­sti­tu­tional right to an abor­tion.”

Whether an il­le­gal im­mi­grant — and a mi­nor at that — who is not an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen and is not here on a le­gal visa to ac­cess an abor­tion, even though it is ques­tion­able that would make a dif­fer­ence, has full con­sti­tu­tional pro­tec­tion is an ar­gu­ment for the ages.

But what makes it a tad ab­surd is the same fed­eral gov­ern­ment — an­other di­vi­sion of course — is push­ing hard to de­port those en­ter­ing the coun­try il­le­gally. Add to that the caveat that if the un­wanted baby is born, he or she is an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen.

Im­mi­gra­tion Cus­toms En­force­ment has spent a lot of en­ergy break­ing up “baby houses” in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia where preg­nant women from Asia pay big dol­lars to give birth so their kids can be le­gal cit­i­zens of the United States from their first breath. It is the same fed­eral gov­ern­ment that has tried to crack down on Los Angeles area hos­pi­tals that are used for the same pur­pose by preg­nant women cross­ing the bor­der from Latin Amer­ica.

So what is it: Do we want to have “il­le­gals” take ad­van­tage of the con­sti­tu­tional guar­an­tee that if a child is born on Amer­i­can soil they are an Amer­i­can cit­i­zen? Or do we want to re­duce the num­bers of il­le­gals in the coun­try?

It seems the fed­eral gov­ern­ment wants it both ways.

No one should ad­vo­cate an il­le­gal mi­nor should be pro­vided a fed­er­ally funded abor­tion sim­ply to re­duce the im­mi­gra­tion of a fu­ture baby. But the sit­u­a­tion il­lus­trates how we have failed to come to any agree­ment on ba­sic is­sues sur­round­ing abor­tion and im­mi­gra­tion, le­gal and il­le­gal.

And let’s not forget the laws of the coun­try of ori­gin of Jane Doe and how her quest to have an abor­tion stands un­der the laws of that land and how much rights are vested in her par­ents, as­sum­ing they are still alive and in the pic­ture. It’s pretty ar­ro­gant for the Amer­i­can jus­tice sys­tem — whether it is the courts or those who pe­ti­tion them for re­dress — to be­lieve it can im­pose its will on the cit­i­zens of an­other coun­try.

Yes, there is a ques­tion of refugee sta­tus, but again that’s an­other ques­tion that hasn’t been an­swered and the di­rec­tion en­forced with clar­ity. Rules and quo­tas are set then the fed­eral bu­reau­cracy and wannabe city-na­tions pick and choose what they will en­force. And if that doesn’t work for some­one who wants en­try into this coun­try and are de­nied it, they come here il­le­gally and cir­cum­vent the process while dam­ag­ing the stand­ing of those im­mi­grat­ing here legally.

The more scat­ter brained en­force­ment of im­mi­gra­tion laws are, the more taxed fed­eral bu­reau­cra­cies be­come, draw­ing out the cit­i­zen­ship process for those com­ing to Amer­ica as le­gal im­mi­grants.

It shouldn’t take some­one like Ser­gio Gar­cia 21 years after ap­ply­ing for a green card to fi­nally be is­sued one. Gar­cia ar­rived in Cal­i­for­nia from Mex­ico as an in­fant and re­turned to Mex­ico when he was 9. When he was 17, Gar­cia and his fam­ily moved to Chico where his father op­er­ates a bee­keep­ing busi­ness. His father was a nat­u­ral­ized cit­i­zen by then.

Gar­cia grad­u­ated col­lege and se­cured a law de­gree while the fed­eral gov­ern­ment mo­lasses ap­proach to im­mi­grant — slow and sticky — took 21 years to make a de­ci­sion.

Nor should the so-called Dream­ers — those brought here il­le­gally by their par­ents when they were chil­dren — be left in limbo es­pe­cially when they have been ed­u­cated on this coun­try’s dime and can be help­ing build our econ­omy as con­tribut­ing tax­pay­ers.

And it shouldn’t take decades to ad­dress il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion.

This is some­thing that takes an act of Con­gress to fix.

Both the Democrats and the Repub­li­cans have failed mis­er­ably.

Un­til Con­gress acts we are going to have more and more bizarre twists to im­mi­gra­tion — le­gal and oth­er­wise — that does noth­ing but stir up di­vi­sion among Amer­i­cans.

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