The Barbershop has re-located

The proprietor has moved the shop to ChicagoNow, a Chicago Tribune site that showcases some of the best bloggers in the Chicago area. You can logo on to the Barbershop home page here. The ChicagoNow home page is here.

You'll still be able to post comments with the same ease as in this location. The proprietor also will keep this web site alive if you wish to review old posts.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Heaven help us when politicians start governing

By Dennis Byrne
Chicago Tribune

On May 1, millions of illegal immigrants and their supporters marched to demand that huge numbers of their own immediately get out of America.

I haven't seen anyone else put it that way, but if the protesters took to the streets to force Congress to pass what is dishonestly called "comprehensive," "balanced" and "fair" immigration reform, then that is exactly what they want.

The Senate legislation would require that an estimated 1.6 million immigrants who have lived here illegally for less than two years turn themselves in and leave America, perhaps forever. They're supposed to do this without any incentive, when a better option for them would be to stay here undetected. Who among the millions who marched would throw themselves under that bus, just because a new law comes along that says--just like the present one--that they must?

No one.

Here's something else all those marchers are demanding of millions of their compadres who have been here illegally for two to four years: They must uproot their families, travel hundreds or thousands of miles, return to a U.S. port of entry, announce they are illegal immigrants and then hope they are issued a temporary work visa to let them re-enter America. Some won't get the cards, because only 1.4 million work visas will be issued over three years, and about 2.8 million people would be asking for them.

As for the estimated 8 million illegal residents who have been here five years or more, the marchers are demanding that they: turn themselves in, pay a $2,000 fine (or $4,580 for an average-size illegal immigrant family) and any back taxes, hope to clear a criminal background check, learn English, keep a steady job and then, maybe, they'd be eligible for citizenship.

I keep harping on this because this legislation is a cruel hoax.

And the hoaxers are the immigrants' alleged friends--assorted "activists," agenda journalists, organized labor, above-the-law clergy, self-righteous "progressives" and, of course, politicians. Every politician knows perfectly well that it's a hoax, but they push ahead with their deceit to make themselves look good, and to hell with the immigrants. The disservice that this legislation does for illegal immigrants is so obvious that those who won't confront it have to be dishonest or blind. Or so enthralled by the sight of all those people marching arm-in-arm that they have abrogated their obligation to read the legislation and report on its real impact on real people.

In the contempt-of-the-public department, this dishonesty ranks right up there with politicians who know that pushing down gas prices is something that's way beyond their reach, but they act like they can do it anyway, calling press conferences and looking seriously into the camera as if they mean it. Pass a law, punish a villain. Ignore the law of supply and demand. Hand out $100 rebates. Have you ever seen so many transparently witless ideas taken so seriously by so many supposedly responsible people? Why is it that so many politicians think that we'll like them more if they treat us like idiots? Probably because they know it gets them re-elected.

Speaking of idiots, Illinois legislators obviously want us to believe that they're doing their job (governing) when they pass a $56 billion ("rough" estimate) budget a mere two or three days after they first see it. It was handed to them by a legislative oligarchy that has run Illinois government for years, effectively reducing remaining lawmakers to mopes. You know few of them are giving $56 billion the scrutiny that a pile of money that size deserves. Not when they only have enough time to check whether projects they promised favor-seekers back home made it into the budget.

Not a person who lays eyes on this budget even momentarily can fail to understand that it is a dishonest document, supplying money not for the public good, but for re-electing whoever is in control, which happens now to be a cluster of Democrats. How else do you explain Gov. Rod Blagojevich securing agreement from the Democratic-controlled legislature for funding "universal" pre-school?

"This is the real deal," Senate President Emil Jones said last week of this charade, apparently not noticing how foolishly self-serving that statement makes him look. Just like the "real deal" is a new immigration law that penalizes the very people it's supposed to help. Or vapid promises by reckless politicians to lower gasoline prices.

Do these people have a conscience?

Dennis Byrne is a Chicago-area writer and consultant.

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