The United States Senate: Playing With Fire
April 07, 2006, 05:00 AM
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If you or I wanted to share our immigration opinions with our Congressman in Washington, D.C., we probably wouldn't get in to see him.

In fact, last week, in response to an e-mail sent by NumbersUSA.COM executive director Roy Beck, hundreds of immigration reform activists traveled to their Senator's local offices—only to find them either closed or inaccessible during regular business hours.

Apparently aware that their constituents were unhappy about their support of Senator Arlen Specter's amnesty/guest worker proposal, the following Senators shut their doors: Sam Brownback (R-KS), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Marie Cantwell (D-WA), Robert Bennett (R-UT) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

But not everyone with an immigration agenda has trouble getting important interviews.

Some people, like Stockton, CA. migrant education students Carlos Torres and Porfirio Luna, are whisked through.

Torres and Luna recently visited Washington as part of the San Joaquin County Office of Education Migrant Program to share their accomplishments with federal officials.

As reported in The Outlook, the SJCOE's monthly newsletter, Olivia Sosa, director of migrant education chose Torres and Luna as Migrant Ed spokesmen because:

"These two men came to the states not speaking English and began working in the fields as teenagers."

Said Torres about his background:

"My family and I did not have enough funds to pay for school in my country. We had no other choice but to move to the U.S. for work. If it wasn't for this program, I wouldn't have been able to enroll in school…and I probably wouldn't have been able to stay in the U.S."

Both Torres and Luna are currently enrolled at the University of the Pacific. Torres is majoring in computer systems information; Luna, bio-engineering.

According to Torres, he "wants to work for NASA and explore different places in the world."

These stories are familiar to anyone who reads a daily newspaper: a youngster comes to America penniless, works backbreaking hours at stoop labor and enrolls in school despite every conceivable adversity and, in the end, triumphs heroically.

But Torres and Luna's histories are of particular interest to me during this time of heated national debate about immigration because the two young men are the types that Congressmen remember when they approve more immigration.

As I can personally attest through my classroom experiences as an English as a second language instructor, the nation has hundreds—possibly thousands—of heart-rending sagas of young migrant students like Torres and Luna.

But, and this is the crux of it, such tales are the dramatic exception. The scholastic achievement of the non-English speaking migrant is considerably lower than average.

VDARE.COM's Edwin Rubenstein has documented that "poorly educated immigrants have poorly educated children." (Read his column "Children, Grandchildren of Mexican Immigrants Fail to Close the Education Gap" here.)

And in the overall picture, the pressing question is how many immigration successes does it take to negate an immigration tragedy? Is the ratio 1:1; 5:1; 10:1; 100-1?

Let's say that Torres graduates from UOP with honors, lands a NASA job and has a long and productive life.

Does Torres' presence in America, which he entered illegally, offset the case of Mexican Cornelio Rivera Zamites who molested then strangled to death four-year-old Esmerelda Nava?

Or what about the 13 highway accidents in eastern Virginia since 2002 that caused eighteen fatalities—including Debbie Thomas, the mother of three? Fifteen of the cases involved vehicles driven by unlicensed, uninsured and drunken illegal aliens.

(These incidents and others like them are detailed on Brenda Walker's blog and her invaluable site ImmigrationsHumanCost.org  Read it here.)

No Senator will ever meet Zamites. And the chances are none would deign to speak with Thomas' family.

But scrubbed, polished and well-coached winners like Torres and Luna make perfect photo-ops for politically correct politicians. And when crunch time comes on immigration legislation, guess which way that Congressman is going to vote.

The simple and obvious truth (at least to us at VDARE.COM and our enlightened readers) is that good legislation cannot be written based on individual stories…either uplifting or catastrophic.

The NASA job will be filled with someone—who knows, maybe even an American?—whether Torres is hired or not.

Congress' obligation is to pass laws that promote our collective common good.

Since 1965, when the immigration disaster started, the U.S has allowed enough new people into the country to last us for a good long time.

I began writing immigration columns in 1988 and calculate that approximately 50 million immigrants have arrived over those eighteen years. That figure includes legal, illegal and visa overstayers— those who entered legally but never went home.

That's plenty!

There simply is no category of immigrant that we don't have enough of. The Senate can decree that the nation needs guest workers but plainly we do not.

Or it can write tortured, multi-layered, unenforceable amendments that preposterously create three categories of aliens like the Martinez/Hagel permanent amnesty disingenuously referred to as earned legalization. [Late note: In a dramatic win for common sense in immigration, the Senate surprisingly voted 38-60 against invoking cloture on the Martinez-Hagel amnesty. It is supposed to be taken up after Congress gets back from its Easter recess.]

But the country isn't buying it.

The Senate is engaged in dangerous business. Two major illegal alien protest marches are set for April 10th and May 1st.

Citizens reacted to the first of these demonstrations—March 25th in Los Angeles—poorly. Signs of anarchy are all around us.

The easiest course for the Senators is to uphold the oath they took when they entered office: exercise the will of the people.

To help that dysfunctional body see the light, here is a simple equation it can refer to:

280 million Americans carry more weight that 20 million illegal aliens.

And we are the ones who vote.

Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.