As a parent with a house full of children, I spend a great deal of time discussing consequences. Don’t wait to work on an important report until the night before it’s due? Expect your grade to reflect that. Want to keep computer privileges? Then log off when I tell you and don’t visit sites that you know are off limits. Want the freedom to be out with your friends? Don’t participate in behavior that will make me question that option. The concept of rules and consequences seems like a fairly simple parenting guideline.
Certainly life throws us tricky topics and not all is cut and dry. When President Clinton told impressionable young minds that oral sex was not actually sex, (never mind the dozens of STDs that can be transmitted, nor the impact on tender hearts and minds) it was hard to explain, “But the President said so mom!!”
As the immigration debate rages and becomes increasingly polarized, I can not help but wonder if liberals parent their children with the same consequence-free approach they would like our society to take in confronting illegal immigration.
If junior gets behind the wheel drunk one Friday night, do they simply think hey….he just really wanted to go to that party and he didn’t hurt anyone that time…no big deal? If Sally leaves her new gameboy out in the rain, well gosh….she just didn’t understand what would happen, let’s buy her a new one tomorrow. Consequences are just so darn harsh and mean!
“What is the big deal about coming here illegally any way?” my kids have asked. “We all started as immigrants at some point!” They parroted after a social studies class.
What is the big deal indeed? Can’t we just be nurturing and understanding? Can’t we just enforce the laws we have and not be so mean and exclusive? When Morristown, New Jersey Mayor Donald Cresitello suggested simply utilizing a law already on the books, the collective gasp from the left could be heard three towns away.
Mayor Cresitello proposed using Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality, passed Congress in 1996 under President Clinton, to deputize local law enforcement officers allowing them the ability to address immigration status.
Based on the reaction, one might conclude he has plans to create a World War Two era internment camp in his sleepy little borough. The wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth would have us fear jack-booted, testosterone fueled policemen roaming the streets of New Jersey, banging on doors of sleeping citizens, searching for illegal immigrants to drag by the collar to a detention camp in the town square.
The Mayor, his supporters, and many who endorse even the most toothless forms of immigration reform, have been called racist, fascist, anti-immigrant and a host of unprintable and unflattering assessments.
Cresitello is not suggesting that these officers round up illegal aliens milling around the town square. Nor is he suggesting that they address the myriad of valid and vexing concerns that impact Morristown and the surrounding communities because of the strain on local hospitals, public services and schools.
Rather, the Mayor proposes addressing immigration violations only when an illegal immigrant breaks another law, (ie. one in ADDITION to the one they broke coming here illegally….hence the moniker ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT.)
We are not talking about looking up immigration status for every parking ticket or jaywalker. We’re talking about the big stuff here….the Olympics of social deviancy and destruction…murder, rape, burglary, battery. We’re talking about the kind of things that mark someone as a threat to life and liberty…things that should shock, dismay and anger us (unless, of course, you are the National Organization of Women and the victim is Wanita Broderick.)
Somehow the concept of holding grown men and women accountable is controversial. Somehow addressing all violations of American law is racist, anti-immigrant and immoral. To get to the point that Mayor Cresitello would have us address illegal immigrants, they would have to violate a law in addition to sneaking into this country.
In the very first opportunity illegal immigrants (I feel like I should throw in “undocumented workers” here just for fun) have been given to appreciate the amazing gifts of freedom and opportunity that American society offers, their first act is one of defiance and disregard for the law and our social compact. They say with their actions, “Yes I want to be here. Yes I want to be a part of the American dream…but it will be on my terms…on my timeline….the way I want it. Your laws, your rules, your culture and your society are not as important as my needs.”
Mayor Cresitello’s plan may not be flawless, but he is to be commended for having the spine to address an issue that is impacting his community. He, like so many other local leaders, has faced the sad reality that Congress and our President lack the stomach for real reform. It is left to towns and boroughs and cities to find solutions.
The left seems to endorse throwing out the whole pesky action/ consequence thing. It is too messy and hard and mean. It would be really, really mean to make an illegal immigrant leave. The left would have us live in a world where actions only have consequences if they feel up to the hassle. Or if it is impacting an endangered owl. Or if Al Gore is in the room. Or if the moon is in the seventh house.
Picture raising your children this way! Picture trying to get them to follow any household rules, even the ones we know are critical and life altering, if they know you aren’t ever actually going to hold them accountable. What kind of kids would we raise if there were no consequences for behavior? What kind of citizens are we molding if there are no consequences for their actions?