Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Illegal Aliens

My 85-year-old father asked me to put something on the Internet. He'd like comments or opinions from other people, so if you're reading this, maybe you could pass this question through to your own blogs for reactions.

Here's his idea:

Illegals, aged 17+, should be offered citizenship if they join the National Guard (or any service, I assume) and serve three years. They're on good behavior while they serve and if they get an honorable discharge (or choose to remain in the service) after three years, they would get legal status, possibly even citizenship.

My father grew up in Texas, so he was in close proximity to quite a few Hispanics. He's always believed them to be hard-working and generally honest folks. Do you agree with him that this type of amnesty is a good idea? Not? Please leave your opinion in the comments. He'd really like to know what others think.

If you could repost on your own blog, let me know so I can check for any feedback there.



  1. There is a citizenship program already in place for non-citizens (who read, write, and speak English) who would like to serve for citizenship. I assisted a couple of these soldiers obtain their citizenship while fighting in Iraq. I also have a friend who joined from Saipan. (He's deployed to Iraq and served with distinction.)

    The one issues with this is that is is not open to Illegals. A citizen of Mexico (who can write, read, and speak English) might be able to apply for the program before crossing the border.

    I do take issue with part of this idea. While I feel the military is an excellent opportunity for many, our society (as it is today) lets the poor fight our wars. Those with any other opportunity for a better life tend not to join the military. This program would seem to perpetuate this method of thinking. (I do think it's a fine idea other that that, however.)

  2. On the surface your father's proposal seems reasonable enough. But perhaps a small portion of pruning might be in order. For one thing, you cannot say (as you transcribed him doing in the second full paragraph) that those seventeen years old and older should be offered citizenship for joining the National Guard and then say that good behaviour and an honourable discharge will get them "legal status, possibly even citizenship." (Emphasis added.)

    But a more critical point might be that in one sense Guard service is an extremely simple ticket---what is the Guard requirement now, two weekends per month plus one two-week hitch per year? We are speaking, after all, of people (never mind their youth) who are indeed among the most industrious but who thought nothing, nevertheless, of breaking the law to come into the United States.

    I've never really known just whose figures to trust, regarding the actual volume of the illegal aliens' presence among us, because there are just too many people with too many agendas spouting off too many reams about the matter, and too many of them make it impossible to know whether they speak in terms of reasonable remaking of the law or in terms of nativist bigotry. But I think it reasonable enough to ask---if your father's proposal should become a serious policy---that those seeking citizenship through the military option are obliged at minimum to demonstrate a complete commitment to making themselves of the United States. Not just Guard (or, for that matter, Reserve) service but full-tilt, regular military service: three full years. Not three years worth of every other weekend and a two-week hitch, but three full years, in full-time service, and citizenship upon honourable discharge. (I hope I needn't suggest that it is not only Hispanics to whom this might apply.)

    But that aside, permit me to observe something that tends to drive the nativist brigades to the nearest distillery: that you could (if you really wanted to do it) round up every last illegal alien post haste and send them back to whence they came and you would have a like volume back across the border within a comparably short time. We are not going to resolve the illegal alien issue in any meaningful sense---not even with such programs as your father has proposed and I have pruned---until the dismantling of welfarism in these United States is put on the remainder of its path and kept there.

    Apology for the extended essay. Now I can say how I enjoy your blog. It is witty in a nice and gentle way, and it is a simple pleasure to read. Consider yourself linked to mine. :)