You’ve got to do better, or bugger off


Boring and numbingly repetitive, not to mention often vile, intemperate, and pointless. Those are the too common characteristics of too many of the Comment posts that have to do with immigration, or Brazilian immigrants who are Vineyard neighbors, or illegal Brazilian immigrants, or legal ones, or legal or illegal immigrants from other nations, or legal or illegal visitors.

It’s my job to review the proposed posts and allow them, if it is at all possible to allow them, or not. Among the excluded are those that are so vicious, so vacuous, and so predatory as to chill one’s blood. But really, so many of the posts, including those that are allowed, are tiresome, banal, witheringly fruitless, and beside so many possibly constructive points, that I’m here to tell you, I’m not going to take it any more.

To the posters who never allow the word illegal to pass their fingertips, but prefer to praise the hardworking nature of immigrants, whatever their status, and who resort to charges of racism to condemn their opposites in the debate, yours is a hopeless, ships-passing-in-the-night, debate strategy, that mirrors one side of the hopeless, ships-passing-in-the-night behaviors of members of Congress.

To the posters who cherish the word illegal, use it to describe nearly all immigrants of whatever national persuasion, condemn their housing and hygiene practices, but never address either the nation’s need for immigrant labor or its 12 million members of the national population who are not enrolled as residents and what are we to do about that, yours too is a hopeless, ships-passing-in-the-night, debate strategy that reflects your side of the congressional stalemate.

It’s all the same with you people. It’s blah, blah, blah, you’re racist, on one side, and blah, blah, blah, you’re a liberal weenie, on the other. Neither side steps up to the difficult decisions that must be made.

So, if you want to debate immigration in the Comments, have at it. But, to pass muster, you’ll have to work on these elementary parts of the problem.

1) For security, tax, education, census, health care, disease control, anti-crime, and employment-related reasons, Americans need to know who is in their country. Illegal entry must be ended and punished severely when it occurs. How to do it?

2) Aliens who are already here — as students, vacationers, temporary workers, permanent workers, etc. — must be accurately recorded in our population records, including IRS, state tax laws, Social Security, etc. How to do it? Don’t say “round ’em up.”

3) Whatever laws apply to such people and their employers or schools must be enforced. How to do it?

4) Employers, in particular, must be required to employ only legal workers, including citizens of another country with immigration permission to work here. How to do it?

5) Really, the debate should be about the kind of visitors and the quotas for workers that may be imposed on different classes of non-Americans resident here, temporarily or permanently. How many of each sort?

6) In general, regardless of where they come from, victims of political oppression should be welcome, and short-term visitors of course, along with temporary and permanent workers whose quotas should match business needs here. But uniquely skilled and highly educated individuals whose abilities we need for research and business development purposes are especially desirable and should be encouraged also, with expedited visa and even citizenship programs. How to determine quotas for each class, so that we offer succor to those who need it and strengthen our own nation by addressing its need for brains as well as brawn?

7) To address the current population of aliens now in the country illegally, a vigorous and demanding screening and a path to legal status or even citizenship program must be put in place. Call it amnesty, with severe conditions. A program with a grace period that invites illegals to come forward for documentation, evaluation, and catch-up assessments ought to be part of this. How to make it work?

There’s fodder for a billion Comment posts in all of this, but most of all there’s the chance to do more than commit assault and battery on one another. There is the chance, and really the responsibility, to take on the issue in all its many, complicated, and difficult dimensions. Beyond writing you’re an ass, you’re a racist, do you have anything at all to contribute?