Stop Looking For Trouble

Posted on Saturday, October 22 at 13:34 by jensonj
The northern patrol is an offshoot of the group's more widespread patrols along the Mexico-U.S. border in the Southwest. Not that the citizens militia has had any success in stopping the considerable flow of illegal aliens from Mexico to the United States, but at least its members are equal-opportunity exclusionists. They're not crazy about how many immigrants of every sort come into this country each year, legally or illegally. A spokesman for the group told the Boston Globe, "We're just rapidly becoming a nation other than the one I grew up in." True. And if the past is any guide, the United States will continue to evolve as the most uniquely diverse collection of peoples living together as one free people. Legal immigrants are a vital, necessary part of the U.S. economy. The goal of concerned citizens should not be to try to do the job of the federal government, be it in the name of national security or to stanch illegal immigration, but to encourage responsible immigration policies that allow the economy and population to grow at sustainable levels. If law enforcement is the Minutemen Association's main focus, it should forget the border patrols, which carry all sorts of risks, and instead urge the government to crack down on employers who exploit the thousands of unregistered aliens working in this country. These people are paid below-average wages and are denied benefits and legal protections. This harms not only them, but also legal immigrants seeking to earn a decent living in this country. What has this to do with President Bush, you ask. Simple. His administration, by making the war on terrorism justification for virtually any policy it wants to impose, has fostered an us-against-them attitude toward the rest of the world. That breeds paranoia and bias and, inevitably, resentment. With regard to Canada, Bush has put forth something called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. Among other things, it would require a passport to cross the border between the United States and Canada. Even in an era of international terrorism, this amounts to looking for trouble where none exists. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., has repeatedly called for the White House to rethink this "onerous" proposal and consider other documents for identification purposes on the northern border. While federal security officials keep saying they are looking for alternatives, Clinton says they keep coming back to passports as their first choice for an ID. If enacted, this would have a significant impact on tourism, business and family travel across the entire border with Canada, which, last time we checked, hadn't posed a threat of any kind to the United States in a couple of centuries. "Our border with Canada is the longest, most open, peaceful border anywhere in the world," Clinton notes, in case the White House has forgotten. That means we should be able to make sure it remains secure without destroying decades of good will. Last weekend, groups of protesters in both countries who objected to the militia patrols passed the time by kicking a ball back and forth across the border. That is, until a Vermont state trooper took the ball away. We're with the senator. This is not how old friends treat each other. http://www.recordonline.com/archive/2005/10/21/21edit.htm [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on October 25, 2005]

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