Sunday, July 16, 2006

And They Marched The Illegals, Hungry And Thirsty, To The City Line

The city of Hazleton PA wants to be rid of people who are living there illegally. (Ok, what they really mean are all those Mexicans who snuck across the border.) One can argue the point, as our economy is, in many ways, dependent on cheap labor, however we find it.

But the mayor and his scared populace really want to solve their problem with an intensive cleansing. The original law would shut down a franchise if any other unit, anywhere in the country, had hired an illegal resident; it would fine landlords if they rent to illegals, whether or not they are aware of the persons' status.

The present law is a little less stringent, if no less draconian. Everyone who is a renter must prove to the city that they are citizens of the US or are here legally. Otherwise, the landlord gets a $1000 fine, plus $100/day. Anyone who provides goods or services to a person who is here illegally gets fined.

Goods or services? Yes, goods: You cannot sell them food, water, a bus ticket, clothes or anything else. Services? If one wants to leave the city, you cannot give them a ride; you cannot give them English lessons; you cannot give them directions; you cannot provide religious services.

They are the untouchables of Hazleton's society, not to be fed, clothed or housed; not to be aided in any way. And woe to those who do so; the authorities will punish them for extending even the least humane care.

Hazleton is an overwhelming Catholic city. A city in which its citizens hear the Gospel reading which tells what happens to those who did not feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, etc. "Inasmuch as you did not do it to these, the least of my brethren," Jesus says, "you did not do it for me," and then He condemns them to hell.

We do have a problem (call it "illegals" or the p.c. "undocumented" as you will) and Hazleton, with a fast-growing immigrant population, has a big problem which is scaring the locals. Something has to be done. But not in the way that will have Jesus pointing out to them that they could at least have been humane about the whole thing.

I'm sure you do not need to be religious to recognize the essential dignity of those who crossed an invisible boundary without the proper piece of paper containing the proper characters in ink.


Blogger Reading Reader said...

Hear, Hear! How about we rehaul the INS in the first place? That agency is the epitome of ineffeciency...Let's make it work and give these folks a card that says they are legal, with English lessons attached. After all, there are bad people of every nationality. Go after the bad guys and let the good folk be.

July 17, 2006 11:12 AM  
Blogger Tom Carten said...

It's a complex problem, brought about by our desire for cheap help. Which brings about their desire to keep their 'hoods and lifestyle, rather than assimilate.

Not all, of course; many are moving into the mainstream.

But for those we don't want, we have to treat them humanely anyway.

July 17, 2006 11:28 AM  
Blogger Gort said...

Well said. I think this law will be unenforceable and will cost the city mucho pesos defending it in court.

July 17, 2006 4:20 PM  
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