The Métropolitain

WHAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND ABOUT “ILLEGAL”?

Par David T. Jones le 27 février 2017

Washington, DC - Language changes over time.  Try reading Shakespearean plays without constant reference to explanatory commentary.  Words take on new meanings.  “Cute” once meant “short and fat.”  Some words are transient—notably “slang” seldom lasts from one generation to the next (or even one year to the next).  

Thus anyone still extant who would respond to “Twenty-three skidoo” is not of the current generation.  Indeed, even the “It’s cool” of the 1950s-60s is long passé.  When “pimp” arrived on the linguistic scene, it had a positive connotation—not a man running a string of whores.

But “illegal” still has a solid basis.  If an action is illegal, it is contrary to the law and subject to official sanction.  Killing is illegal; assault is illegal; theft is illegal.  Trespass is illegal—or is it?

Somehow the presence of upwards of 11 million individuals in the United States without official documentation (or overstayed such authorization) is something else.  Somehow, these are not “illegal” aliens (unless you prefer the more politically correct designation “unndocumented” individuals).  Somehow, the presence of these individuals has become normal; they are accorded the rights and privileges (schooling, health care, etc.) previously reserved for citizens or individuals with documented rights permitting presence in the United States.  

And, even more remarkable (and reprehensible in the eyes of many) is refusal by substantial numbers of communities, including significant cities, to cooperate with US federal authorities to apprehend such individuals.  Somehow “sanctuary” has come to mean such individuals are immune from apprehension for criminality.

Permit an analogy.  Let us hypothesize an individual who owns a sizeable property with a detached garage and/or shed for garden equipment/storage.  He notices activity in these buildings that is not associated with him or his family; occasionally he glimpses an adult male in the area.  He also notices his property is being more carefully maintained for mowing/trimming/weeding/etc.  He doesn’t intervene at this point, but some while later, he notices greater activity, sees a female, and occasionally hears sounds associated with a child.  Eventually, the male approaches the homeowner and says the homeowner should upgrade his garage/out-building to install electricity and plumbing for their use.

The homeowner is nonplused.  What he had considered implicitly charitable action, which the individual sheltering in his garage had “repaid” with maintenance, had evolved into a “right.”  Or at least the trespassing individual regarded as a right.

At what point has the homeowner lost control over the illegality of the trespassers?  Could the resident family claim “sanctuary” if living within a “sanctuary” city’s parameters?  Does the child qualify as a “dreamer” immune from deportation?

Society needs to step back, take a deep breath, and recalibrate.  

The first step absolutely must be border control.  A country that doesn’t control its borders has lost sovereignty.  Such is blatantly clear for the United States, but recently “refugees” crossing into Canada illegally at nonofficial crossing points are exploiting a loophole that requires return to the country from which they have crossed only at official crossing points.

Consequently, a “wall” along the U.S. southern border remains necessary albeit not sufficient for border control.  It is an imperative—regardless of cost—and must be effectively policed.  Anecdotal comment suggests illegal individuals heading north from Mexico have declined, but whatever the numbers or composition, they remain too many.

Next, law breakers must be deported. Bluntly, the law is the law is the law.  And “sanctuary” should be eliminated—either by federal sanctions, e.g., removing payments to those refusing to assist federal law enforcement or legal action against those impeding arrests.

And “dreamers” are delusional.  Just why did they think that extended illegal action should go unpunished?  If they are particularly deserving, however, communities can unite, sponsor a “special bill” with their congressional representative, and secure legal status.

Moreover, visa law must be rewritten to provide regularized admission for labor currently being performed by illegals—who should be vigorously encouraged to return to originating countries and apply for visas officially.  Essentially, these illegals sneeringly present a “Trudeau salute” to those following the rules.  By jumping the queue, they persuade honest immigrants they are suckers for being honest.  Additionally, visa holder departures should be monitored as closely as entries to determine those illegally overstaying visas.

Let’s make “illegal” a meaningful word again.