Thursday, March 27, 2008

With screw-ups like this... no wonder people don't respect the law

It seems that the folks who decide on legal immigration have bollixed things up once again. This time, they are refusing to grant a visa to an interpreter who helped our troops in Iraq, even though he and his family are clearly facing death or physical harm from terrorists.

The bureaucrats at INS would not even take note of the letters in the file from Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter and General David Petraeus. One would think any reasonable person would take note of said letters, the medal awarded, and the fact that this guy is facing the very real risk of physical harm.

This is not the only situation. I became aware, via a second-hand account, of a Colombian family who faced a somewhat similar dilemma. They didn't translate for the US, but they had heard of a FARC "recruiting campaign" that was to take place at the school where one of their sons attended. They tried to get here legally, but ultimately, when faced with the likelihood of their son being kidnapped and used as cannon fodder by a terrorist group, they came here on tourist visas and overstayed.

We don't know why the INS decided not to approve this, and to even label him a terrorist. And that is the problem with that bureaucracy. With screw-ups like these, it is no wonder a lot of otherwise good people are deciding that the law is fouled up.

This is why I reject the whole Malkin/Tancredo approach on immigration. Ultimately, we are dealing with people. It's not numbers, it's not about culture, it's people - individual persons who deserve to get equal treatment under the law.

The Marine Corps would be perfectly justified in bringing this translator and his family home, providing them with support, looking after them, and daring ICE to come after them. This man had more than earned American citizenship for himself and his family by coming to our aid in helping liberate Iraq. They should also assign their top JAGs to this and similar cases where the fouled up immigration system is causing problems for them. Other services should do the same. The Army, for instance, had an illegal immigrant who took part in the liberation of Iraq - doing the defense of our country that the likes of Reverend Wright have vehemently opted out of (yes, I know Wright served in the Marine Corps - but that service does NOT cancel out "God Damn America").

But this calls for a total revamping of immigration law in this country. It also means that we pass common-sense reforms that will deal with the real problems. Big Lizards has made a number of good posts on this issue, and the discussion should start there. There needs to be some penalty for breaking the law. But contrary to the assertions we hear from the right, it is not a choice between deportation and nothing. There are ways to ensure that those who broke the law pay a price for their actions. If they are fined, and agree to a form of probation, they have not received amnesty, contrary to the assertions from Michelle Malkin.

It is hard to respect laws when they are applied very poorly. Scrap the system, and start over.

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