‘Illegals’ deserve rights, too

Allen Hines

Conservative talk radio hosts can be laughably ignorant. Like when Lars Larson defends the PATRIOT Act by saying the Founding Fathers would have approved of it. What he doesn’t say is the Founding Fathers wrote the Fourth Amendment, which explicitly states no one is subject to “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Conservative talk radio hosts can also be frustratingly close-minded, as was seen in Jeremy Glick’s interview on “The O’Reilly Factor.” Jeremy Glick lost his father in the Sept. 11 attacks. Glick had signed an advertisement calling the United States a terrorist nation. But when Glick brought this argument to Bill O’Reilly’s show, O’Reilly told him, “I don’t really care what you think.” When Glick persisted in arguing his position, O’Reilly told the show’s production staff to turn off Glick’s microphone.

From time to time, from the lips of conservative talk radio hosts you hear the most ignorant and offensive garbage, and it makes you look at the radio. On Nov. 28, at about 12:30 a.m., I had this experience. Nationally-syndicated radio personality and uber-bigot Mike Gallagher said the United States should pump up security along our border with Mexico to keep “these illegals” out.

First of all, “these illegals” are human beings. They may have immigrated to this country illegally, but we must recognize they are not inferior to naturalized citizens. By calling people who look for work in this country “these illegals,” we dehumanize them.

As President Bush has recognized in his proposal to reform immigration, “these illegals” are vital to the economy. They do the work many Americans don’t want to do.

Bush’s plan would let millions of illegal immigrants gain temporary guest worker status for a fixed period yet to be determined. But at the end of this period, the immigrants must go back to their home country.

Bush’s proposed immigration overhaul is a start to finally give immigrants rights they are entitled to as human beings. They will no longer be subject to the vigilante minutemen who patrol the Mexican border looking for people crossing illegally.

This plan could be amended to allow guest workers to become permanent citizens. Instead of making them go back to Mexico, the United States should extend a hand to immigrants and welcome them to our country.

One of the major arguments against allowing immigrants into the United States is that the immigrants are causing law-enforcement problems and adding to the cost of welfare programs and education. But with Bush’s guest worker program, the government would be able to monitor who comes into the country and weed out those with criminal backgrounds. And once the immigrants are enrolled in the guest worker program, the government could tax the workers’ wages, thus making them pay into the welfare and education programs.

As Harry Reid has pointed out in a letter to President Bush, the United States should “secure economic stability for our neighbors to the south and honor the values of the United States of America as a nation of immigrants.”

Allen Hines is a freshman pre-journalism and mass communication major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].