The failures in our broken immigration system are frequently, as with the September 3rd NY Times page one article, With Millions in 9/11 Payments, Bereaved Can't Buy Green Cards, reported as unfair treatment of illegal aliens.
Cara Buckley's piece begins:
"One widow has more than $2 million but walks or rides the bus everywhere, terrified of drawing attention. Another millionaire widow stopped going to 9/11 support groups because she feared that families of police officers and firefighters might betray her. A widower has enough money to start a business building houses, but cannot buy himself a home.
All three lost a husband or a wife when the World Trade Center collapsed. Like thousands of others, they were beneficiaries of the federal Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund, which awarded millions of dollars to families whose loved ones died in the attacks."
My major point here is not to attack any individuals, but simply to point out how bad at simple management and hence immoral our Federal government has become.
I defer argument on the point that, as illegal aliens working in the Trade Towers on 9/11, these were already law breakers, along with their other illegal family members. What seems evident is not that these people are living "in the shadows", as Buckley's piece points out at length, but rather that aliens came here in the first place without any government recognition, just like the estimated 20 million other illegal aliens who should have similar concerns about being apprehended and sent back to their home countries ASAP.
This may have been the greatest moral failure of our government in its history.
We feel sorry for people seeking to better themselves by coming to America. However, with $2 million of US taxpayer money in one illegal 9/11 widow's pocket, this lady and the others who got significant sums are far better off than the thousands of uncompensated Katrina victims, many of whom will never be able to return to their homes in New Orleans.
This widow certainly hit the lottery as a result of this tragedy, but says "I don't want to go back to my country. I know my husband's spirit is here." I guess I favor her spending our tax dollars here rather than in Mother Mexico. However, these windfalls went to alien widows who were, Buckley describes, totally unsophisticated, poor and much like those who win massive lotteries, unequipped to deal with this new wealth.
Among the 3000 people who were killed on 9/11, the illegal alien family survivor number was tiny, only 11.
Why didn't Congress give them green cards along with the money, which is the point of Buckley's article? Turns out, Buckley notes, that "legislation before Congress would grant green cards to the illegal immigrants who received money. But the measure, attached to the Senate's immigration bill, is deadlocked with the entire package." Another atrocious case of feckless, indifferent management by our elected elites on the issue of immigration.
As a Democrat, I have been totally unimpressed with the record of my own party's leaders on the immigration reform issue. The Senate's open border bill, S.2611, has offered endless blanket amnesty to the millions of illegal aliens here now with amnesties stretching ahead as far as the eye can see. While the Republican House has stopped this travesty for now, the Bush Administration is in deep trouble. The November elections could return the House to the Democrats and the arrival of Democratic leadership in the House with the likes of present House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her "never saw an alien I didn't love" cohorts might bring an avalanche of open border bills, none containing real immigration control features.
It is horrible to see such inane Congressional governance. However, why couldn't a caring Congress give these 11 non-poor souls relief with a special bill? Because too damn few from either party really care.
This symbolizes the indifference and moral turpitude of those empowered by American voters to be fair, to manage honorably and make special exceptions for true hardship, rather than goose-step to the demands from the White House or their corporate paymasters.
The views of my party on other issues are mixed of course, but not as bad as what the Bush Administration with his often lap dog Congress has brought. Now we may get change in November, but will we get better, more moral governance? Will we get better discussion and careful deliberation on matters pertaining to the best interests of all the American people?
The prospect for caring, moral, culturally sensitive immigration reform management remains highly doubtful unless the angry majority of Americans make their representatives from either party pay attention.
Frankly, those of us who define reform as meaningful border security first, before any new amnesty agreement, (i.e. the majority of Americans) need to take a few scalps at the polls! The gerrymandering of House election districts makes this very hard, but not impossible.
This overwhelming majority of American citizens are further impaled on the corporate cross of campaign donations from wealthy companies who want cheap foreign labor.
However, thanks to efforts of many concerned citizen organizations, the illegal immigration issue is now fully joined, our citizens are wide awake, and our elected elites are at least aware of the pitfalls of ignoring an angry public. Joe Lieberman found that out.
Whether you believe that these 11 illegal alien 9/11 beneficiaries are being immorally ignored, it is painfully clear that the wishes of this large majority of American citizens have been immorally dismissed by the power elites which control our government and seek increasingly to take away our democracy, which includes our right to decide who can be a citizen of this country.
As a Democrat, I am (as Will Rogers quipped) not a member of any organized political party. But I implore our Democratic leaders to look hard at the immorality of allowing floods of non citizens to increasingly steal our jobs, our tax money and more and more of our political process.
The ultimate case of immoral government management comes from the GOP's November campaign focus on terrorism as justification for its foreign policy failures in Iraq and the Middle East.
This fear mongering, accusing opponents of disloyalty approach may well cost the GOP one house of Congress. However, it turns out that we have an utter bipartisan failure to respond responsibly to the interests of the majority of American voters on many other vital issues including true immigration reform.
Donald A. Collins [email him], is a freelance writer living in Washington DC and a former long time member of the board of FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform. His views are his own.