Thursday, February 28, 2013

Are Our Lawmakers Capable of Passing Humane Laws?

(Birmingham News photo)
A brief article (“Latinos plead with Sen. Jeff Sessions asking him to help them andtheir families”) in the Sunday print edition of The Birmingham News reported a town hall meeting in which our senator, Jeff Sessions, was confronted by Latinos in the audience about the reality of their lives here in our state. Sessions’ initial response was that we should abide by the laws of our country.  Later Sessions admitted that our government for 20 or 30 years has failed to address the immigration issue.  So Jeff Sessions loves to fall back on making sure we treat the issue of immigration in accordance with our laws, but as a member of the law-making body he is just as unwilling as the rest to make changes that would allow for a sensible and humane immigration policy.

If it did not benefit our society to have undocumented immigrants working here, they would not be here. Increasingly over the past 2 or 3 decades, we have willingly paid these immigrant people to mow our lawns, do our housework, clean our hotels, dig our ditches, work on our construction crews, and do any number of dangerous jobs in the meat-packing industry and other types of unskilled labor. We have used them for our advantage (or I should say, our society has).  Now we are getting a little uneasy and anxious. It is as though we are shocked and outraged that all of these aliens whom we have employed at low wages (and without reporting said payments) are somehow in our midst. We resort to passing harsh immigration laws rather than making it a more reasonable process.

It is quite telling that on the front page of the same edition of the News there was a “50 Years of Progress” article about how this state relied upon unreasonable laws to prevent African Americans from exercising their rights as citizens back in 1963 (see "Threats. Bombs. Love. Hate. Descendants of local civil rights figures reflect on 1963")  On one page we pat ourselves on the back for how far we have come; on the other page we celebrate the fact that we are still relying upon unfair laws to suppress those who provide us with their hard labor.


1 comment:

  1. Incisive, to the point, and right on. Even if we believe that it is wrong for current laws to be broken, we shouldn't allow that conviction to keep us from changing those laws.


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