Let's stop bashing the immigrants | August 15, 2008 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |


Mountain View Voice

Opinion - August 15, 2008

Let's stop bashing the immigrants

by Jim Doughty

Common sense would argue that most immigrants fall into Tom Day's "undocumented" category, having come over the border into this country without any benefit of supporting paperwork (Letters to the Editor, Aug. 8). Therefore, when it comes to "undocumented" versus "illegal," we can in fact "forgive the casual interchange of adjectives."

Day's letter strikes me as a case of venting and/or hairsplitting on his part. Those folks who overstay a valid visitor visa have lost the documentation they need to remain in this country and have become undocumented immigrants in the process, thus putting them in the same position as the border-hoppers.

There is some record of their being here in a computer somewhere, and they should show up in a background check if they come to the attention of any authority. If a straight-up border-hopper gets checked, there may or may not be any information on him. So, in the big picture, we have a group of people who are not welcome at our party simply because they have not registered or gone through some formalities to be recognized.

The immigrants come because those who came before them were successful in earning a buck or two and in sending something back home. I argue that most of these workers have managed to fit into a niche of the labor ladder — admittedly on the bottom end — in which they can take a job that is of no interest to anyone else in the labor force. Do we have a lot of people out of work because the immigrants have come in and taken over these jobs? I do not think so.

This leads me to ask, just what is going on in this country that we need to be so hard on one group of people? Have we come to fear those who are not one of us? Do we think they somehow represent a threat to our way of life?

We have a Constitution in this country which is the framework for a set of laws which define what we can and cannot do in order to remain free and functional members of society. If any one of us chooses to violate a law, we by default have chosen to accept the direct consequences of that action, regardless of our position in society.

The only thing that immigrants lack is a ticket to the party. By any other measure, they are fully qualified to be here and to join in reaping the rewards of being here. I just do not see that lack of a ticket making them "illegal."

Is it possible for us to embrace those who have demonstrated that they are ready, willing and able to be good citizens — to give them a ticket to the party and remove the stigma of "undocumented" or "illegal" that is causing this mood of us-versus-them?

Jim Doughty lives on Ednamary Way.


Posted by Chris, a resident of Whisman Station
on Aug 15, 2008 at 8:09 pm


Talked to a young American born bricklayer. He is out of work because the flood of illegal immigrants have depressed wages and opportunities that no work is available for him. An older construction worker told me that wages in his field are depressed because of illegal immigrants. These jobs are of interest to those who can legally obtain them. Jim, I think you only see those laboring in small diners, and fail to talk to people who are legal residents who have their income affected.

Furthermore, we are a country of laws, if someone has broken the law, namely entered the country illegally or overstayed a visa, the law should be enforced. If we need additional labor in our country there should be a legal channel to take.