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Immigration and War

If the number of comments is an indication of what our readers really care about, the top two subjects these days are immigration and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The comment-getting winner today tells us that a federal judge has barred the Bush administration from launching its crackdown on U.S. companies that employ illegal immigrants. The runner-up is about the Army offering cash bonuses of up to $35,000 in an attempt to retain young officers, many of whom have found repeated deployments a good reason to leave the service.

Meanwhile, if you're sick of this stuff, read and comment on William Booth's mahvelous profile of Billy Crystal, who tonight at the Kennedy Center will receive the Mark Twain prize for American humor.

First, Immigration
The comments on the judge's ruling oppose it overwhelmingly, although the action was sought by an interesting coalition that included the AFL-CIO, the American Civil Liberties Union and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Readers employ the familiar arguments that what's illegal is illegal, that there is a threat to the country that the ruling ignores, that immigrants place demands on public services and, of course, that this is exactly what you would expect of a Clinton-appointed judge on the notoriously liberal 9th Circuit, based in California.

The ruling does have its defenders, however, and we'll start with chrisfox8, who wrote, "Bravo to this judge. It's gonna take a lot more than some undocumented workers before the American people give their blessing to a POGROM."

But ronjaboy seems to have just such an outcome in mind in saying, "Unless they do something pretty soon it's going to be open season on the illegals. We'll be hunting them in the streets and the people down on the border will be picking them off as they come across the border."

StarsAndStripesForever, another of our superpatriots, said, "This Judge should be impeached and disbarred! Then the 9th CIRCUS court should be closed down and burned to the ground!"

And Saladin3 said, "wow 9th circuit sides with illegals, that's a shocker!
Oh please this is a non story, now if the 4th circuit [in Richmond, regarded as the conservative antithesis to the 9th] had done this you'd have something"

Carrick319 opined that "Justice is served one more time. Although a lot has been said about judges applying "selective justice," I knew that they weren't going to approve "cracking" illegal immigrants if it was going to "harm" some legal citizens."

And drihl expressed the frustration many law-abiding citizens feel, in saying, "This is a no brainer. It is the responsibility of the employee to prove they are citizens. I was born here, but still had to show 2 forms of proof (one from column A, one from column B). If there is a problem with a SSN, then the employee should be made aware of it just like the employer. Maybe the time frame could be modified, or the penelties for failure better defines, but doing nothing isn't an option eather!"

Now to Cash Bonuses. Some of our readers were sympathetic to both the military's needs and the individual officer's decisions to take the money. Others repeated the assertion that this is just another proof that an all-volunteer army is basically a band of mercenaries. And Blackwater comparisons also played a role.

For example, twistedreality109 wrote, "Captains make 50K to 60K, Blackwater agents paid over $200K by US taxpayeers and operate outside the law. The government's answer, a token 30K for 3 more years. What's wrong with this picture?"

And ggwalt123 said, "Why would anyone want to stay in the military when he/she can make far more money being a mercenary for Blackwater, have better equipment, and operate outside the law?... There was a time I thought military service would be a good option, but not as long as our country is in the hands of crazy people who view war as the first and only alternative."

But RobertTaylor1 said, "Come to think about it, the $30,000 bonus is a small compensation for the Captains and Majors who worked overtime and risked their lives over the past 3 years. This bonus is a compensation but it is disguised as bonuses to retain the services of the Captains and Majors..."

negotiator6 said that, " cannot be the prime motivation. If soldiers do not believe in the mission or have lost faith with their leaders, then leaving the Army is normally the only option..."

alzach disagreed, writing, "Mercenary: A soldier who is induced by money to join and serve in the military. Forget about all the talk about the honor and the glory, folks. It all boils down to the money."

However, therebel, commenting on the retention problem that is the genesis of the signing bonus, asked, "could it be they are sick of the mess that W created?"

And MajorConfusion gets the last word: "I expected nothing but anti-military pabulum from most of you pukes. Boy was I not disappointed. Any of you ever wear the uniform?"

Comments on the illegal immigration ruling are here and here.

Comments on the Army's cash bonus plan are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  October 11, 2007; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Illegal Immigrants  
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Next: AQI, PTSD, Salih Saif Aldin


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Humans Are People Too
by Christopher Jon Batis

To label, designate, view, consider, describe or otherwise regard any human being as illegal or alien is fundamentally, inherently, patently, basically, and vehemently offensive, disgusting, evil, abhorrent, humiliating, inhumane, oppressive, derisive, and completely, universally devoid of any possible recognition of the divine, corrupting of the spirit, and absent of any decency or morality, and defamatory of creation.

Do we really consider ourselves so distinct from one another to the manner in which we breathe, bleed, feel and occupy space on this planet and our place in the universe?

Is it so difficult to recognize in each other the divinity from which we all emanate?; that we are all drops from the same ocean?; that we are all running out of the precious time we all have on this plane of existence and chose to waste it in the futility of micro-detailing our differences, focusing on the banality of our external traits, concentrating on the irrelevance of our geographical origins when most of us love our children, long for purpose, and, at one point or another, will exhale one last time?

National sovereignty is important, but must we approach the issues of immigration with such personal anger and hatred toward one another? Can we not approach the issues of our nation with the dignity this country should be recognized for?

Surely, as Americans, as leaders of freedom, we can approach the issues that affect us with personal integrity, intelligent discourse, and respectful regard for all lives, foreign or domestic, with the same respect we demand for ourselves?

The jury is out. May the verdict be fitting of the fair, the just, and the pursuers of happiness.

Posted by: Christopher Jon Batis | November 21, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Comment to Marine:
I'm am sorry that you have been so fooled. The sad truth is that all your efforts have NOT been to "protect freedom". They have been to impose ECONOMIC slavery on people who were unable to defend themselves. If you're still in Iraq, look around and see who OWNS things like water, electricity, transportation, etc. Those are the people you have been working for.

Posted by: Awake | November 1, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I've been an active duty Marine for the past 10 years. Based on my experience, I can say that most of you are absolutely clueless about what's going on in Iraq, about the military, and about the people who serve in the military. First of all, ninety-nine percent of people who serve do not do it for the money. The bonuses are nice, but we serve to protect the freedom of this country and to bring freedom to others (case in point, for the first time in history, the Iraqi people have elected their own leader; also, Saddam Hussein is no longer gassing entire Kurdish villages). For most active duty members, all that we require is enough money to house and feed our families. If we are offered a bonus, we are obviously not going to turn it down (would you turn down a bonus from your current job?). One of the earlier posters (Awake) is obviously someone who has never served in the military and does not know anything about it. Instead of hating service members, why don't you go talk to them and actually ask them why they serve?

Posted by: Marine | October 20, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Why does everyone assume illegal immigrants use all these local services. What services ? they are not allowed to apply for welfare and or food stamps or public housing. The only service they might use is Education. Everyone assumes all hispanics or many of them are illegal. This is not true. In other countries families tend to live together, and if you saw the conditions they lived, you might understand why they sometimes have so many people in a house when Americans would not do the same. Do you know these students are not citizens, or have green cards, you do understand that green cards or any other type of visa gives people a right to services provided by local state and federal governments.

Posted by: Evan | October 17, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

McGonzo: "If they didn't have to compete with immigrants for entry level, mostly minimum wage jobs, unemployment in this country would be very low."

If you actually checked your facts inside job shouting populist nonsense, you'd realize UNEMPLOYMENT IS VERY LOW.

Posted by: RealChoices | October 13, 2007 12:27 AM | Report abuse

The reason that illegal immigration is such a hot issue is that it impacts so many other aspects of our lives such as our economy, education, society and government.

For instance in Prince William County our schools are so over crowded with hispanic students because there are so many living in the same household. Schools plan for only so many students to attend them. And another thing many of the hispanic children cannot read, write in any language and many can't even understand english. So how do you teach those children with out neglecting those who do know how to read, write and speak and communicate in english.

Not to mention the strain they are putting on social services. In my opinion they shouldn't have access to because they are not citizens.

Posted by: Rena | October 11, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

How many Americans are currently out of work??If they didn't have to compete with immigrants for entry level, mostly minimum wage jobs, unemployment in this country would be very low.Don't tell me that these are jobs Americans won't do or don't want, that's B.S.!Just go to any day labor office nationwide and you'll see how many people that are wiiling to do any job for daily pay.

Posted by: mcgonzo | October 11, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Solder or mercenary. Blackwater or U.S. marine. Big debate on who should be doing what in Iraq. Maybe we should worry more about WHY they are doing it in Iraq. We, the working class of America, are paying both bills. Why? What's the goal? What are both of these groups trying to achieve. Why are they there?
Certainly not for the reasons we were given. These are not missionaries. They're not liberators. They're not saviors. They're corporate invaders, and they are there for only one reason. Profits for the few. Not profits for you and I, of course. Just for the corporate wealthy. Using the United States Marines to make money for a few is unacceptable. Paying private killers to do the same job is no better. The American working class has sent over a trillion dollars to Iraq. What did we buy?
How much longer is this scam going to continue? Have some more coffee America. It's time to wake up.

Posted by: Awake | October 11, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

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