A law that is difficult to understand
I promise this will be my final installment regarding this issue.
As I have mentioned in my other threads, the states of Alabama and Georgia (en los estados unidos) have passed laws that define the act of transporting undocumented aliens in a vehicle as a criminal offense. These statutes, to my understanding, have been upheld recently by federal court. To my knowledge, a case has not yet been tried in either state.
I am involved in a ministry that seeks to help people who come to this country. For the sake of this forum, I will leave the faith component out of my discussion and speak to the common thread of human decency we all share.
The laws mentioned above have resulted in decisions from community and ministry leaders that vehicles previously used to transport the needy to doctors, grocery stores, pharmacies, church assemblies, or other destinations may no longer be used to transport undocumented aliens. The leadership communities now believe the risk of exposing their respective organizations are too great to provide these accommodations. Now, leaders in adjacent states that have not imposed such restrictions are not allowing vehicles to be used for this purpose.
As I rode home from the clinic this afternoon, I saw one of our immigrants waiting at the public transportation pick up point. I wondered if the City bus driver will be held to the same standard of behavior the government now imposes on all of us. Will he/she be required to check documentation prior to loading a passenger into public transportation?
I have friends that are immigrants. I suppose we have a adopted a Clinton-like “don’t ask-don’t tell” policy with regard to documentation, but we often go to lunch or dinner together. At times, we’ve used the church bus. Now we can’t ride together in the van to a restaurant.
Volkswagen has recently built a huge vehicle manufacturing plant in this city. We have an influx of immigrants from eastern Europe now, and German is becoming a significant language here. I wonder if law enforcement would pull over our church van if it were filled with eastern European immigrants. For those of us in the United States able to remember, this all sounds a lot like the ‘60s.
These restrictions are difficult for caring people to stomach. There is much more I would like to add, but I won’t say it on the forum here.
When people start jumping up and down about "they're here illegally and we need to inforce the immigration laws....."
Yeah, that's all great and good now that "we" are here and have set up all the rules. I bet the Native Americans wish they would have had a fence around the country when we started jumping out of the boats.........
Our immigration system is broken people, it is beyond dysfunctional. I have friends that have been "set off" seven years by INS with no hope of getting an appointment to start the process of legal immigration. I personally know people that are here, that have fled their countries because their families are starving, or they are sick and can't afford any kind of treatment. They are here just trying to survive, and I'm not going to fault them for that.
I have been a political conservative for many years, but when I hear these right-wing zealots spewing their racist vitriol in the name of God and Country, it makes me want to vomit. Dogwood, I'll add my spiritual component. As a Christian we are given the 10 commandments in the old covenant, #1 being 'to love God with all your heart, mind, body and soul' and #2, 'to love your neighbor as yourself'. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ Himself tells us that all of the law and the prophets are summed up in these two commandments, #1, Love God, #2, Love Your Neighbor. I've heard all I want to hear about "God, Country, Family". Without a doubt in my mind, #1, Love God and Serve Him, #2 Love Your Neighbor, this is the totality of true Christianity. There is nothing in the Bible about "love of country" like we have it defined today.
If it was your children starving, what would you be willing to do? If you were the poor one without means to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps", what would you be willing to do to feed your family?
Ok, one more paragraph for those that want "to enforce immigration laws".... in 1984 after the passing of President Reagan's immigration reform bill (which, by the way, gave amnesty to nearly 5 million 'illegals' and made it illegal to hire someone that was 'undocumented') the United States has had an unprecedented time of prosperity. During this time, American Corporations would hire immigrants and the government just 'winked' at the legal 'indiscretion'. If we were serious about immigration, we should have busted the first company that hired an illegal. Well, we prospered, we created an inviting environment for immigrant workers, not enforcing the existing law and the problem began to grow and to mushroom. The government and corporations are complicit in this entire affair. I'm tired of the two-faced political posturing and lies about this situation with nobody wanting to talk about the truth. Every company that's been hiring illegals for the last 30 years should have been fined out of existence, but nothing has been done since 1984, and now all of a sudden it's the immigrants that are at fault. What about the companies and the government that have been breaking the law these last 30 years??? If I hear another ignorant American try to tell me that illegal aliens don't pay taxes, I'm going to slap 'em up side their head. If a person is on the payroll of any company in the United States, they are paying taxes. If a person buys anything at Walmart or other establishment, they pay taxes. The difference is, an illegal alien, the undocumented worker, they can't file a tax return to try and get any of that taxes that were deducted from their checks. Yes, if they have an ITIN number they can file, but over 90% of illegal immigrants in this country do not have an ITIN.
These laws are like cancer, once you pass them, you can never get rid of them. I know that portions of these laws have been temporarily stayed, but once the police have the right to stop you because you are brown.......
Lastly, take seat belt laws. I know, I know, it's a great law and a wonderful thing. That's now my point. My point is, we have always had the right to do something or not do it, and the more laws that are passed, the less freedoms your will have. At the time of the 'seat belt law' passing, I lived in the state of Florida. It was presented as a 'non moving violation', and the police can't stop you for not wearing one. However, if they stop you for something else, and you're not wearing your seat belt, you can be ticketed. Ok, the law passed, that's pretty benign. At first, the law was only for cars, trucks were excluded. Then they added pickup trucks. Then they added semi-trucks. Then they changed it to a moving violation. Now you can be ticketed for not wearing your seat belt when the police officer hiding in the woods takes your picture as you drive down the road.
I am sorry for my rant, ok, I'm not really. This is a very sensitive subject for me, and it makes me literally sick to my stomach. Remember, love God with your entire being, and love your neighbor as yourself (and no, your neighbor doesn't have to live next door, hehe).
the act of transporting undocumented aliens in a vehicle as a criminal offense
How ridiculous and awful.
I wonder how law enforcement or the courts can prove that I knew (mental state, i.e., knowledge, must be an element of the crime) that my passenger was illegal?
I'm sad to read this news; let's hope that the U.S. Supreme Court has more sense and puts a stop to it.
I feel that if there is such a thing as an unfair law you are duty bound to break it, for the sake of the state and the country and the people the law affects. And if you believe in a soul I think it's important for that as well.
It would be national news if a charity organization were up in court for helping the needy and it could really affect all those unfair laws.
It's really easy to say all this though. Actually going ahead and doing it is hard.
There are laws intended to benefit society as a whole (unfortunately, there aren't many of those be written these days.)
There are laws intended to benefit a narrow segment of society, often at the expense of everyone else (unfortunately, more than there should be.)
There are laws that only serve to advance the political aspirations of an individual or group, and are often bad for almost everyone in the end (unfortunately, proposals of this kind are increasingly common.)
There are laws intended to attack people who aren't doing any harm, usually motivated by hatred and ignorance (unfortunately, these are becoming more common afer a period of being reduced.)
The real problem is that people have forgotten why laws exist.
Dogwood, that part was blocked. But the other parts are still in effect.I still believe that immgration laws should be enforced and that whoever comes here illegally is risking being caught and should be prepared for that to happen. But I will not support a law that restrict movement or access to medical care.
**May the good God grant you that you never find yourself in the awful situation of having to flee your own coutry and seek refuge, in spite of all the risk, in a foreign land in order to try and survive. - Gekkosan hace 1 hora*
Bella has caused me to review my post and clarify some issues. As I understand the status of this portion of the law(s), there has been a temporary block of enforcement of this portion of the law in Alabama and (I think) in Georgia. This temporary block has been issued by U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn until she makes a final decision (9/29/11 was my latest information - I'm not aware of judicial action after this).
My point is this. Charitable organizations who have helped people are now deciding not to help in fear of this law. The whole matter is so confusing to everyone that most organizations are making safe choices.
I suspect this is exactly what the state governments intend. As I understand it, their objective is to discourage undocumented immigration as much as possible without treading on federal law. The laws are very successful to that end. They create an atmosphere of fear.
One more thing. No one has to agree with me. Everybody is entitled to an opinion and perspective. My comes from a humanitarian perspective.
Thanks for bringing the inaccuracy to my attention. I hope this is closer to the actual circumstances.