Stepping into the world of Social Work

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A little politics…. revolving around social justice

I just read the news report regarding the new law in Alabama regarding illegal immigrants.

While I’d like to ensure that immigrants go through the proper process in order to get jobs here, there’s just too much ridiculousness in this.

One feature I’m fine with – requiring employers to use a federal database in hiring. I have no problem with that and believe the primary target of any immigration law should indeed be employers.  I also support law enforcement verifying the immigration status of suspects when they are booked and processed into the system, just as they check whether there are other legal issues pending surrounding this individual (wants/warrants, etc.). Not on the street just because the officer wanted to harass someone… but as a part of the booking procedure with someone who is actually being arrested.

But making schools document the status of their students is flat out wrong. Schools and their staff are not enforcement agencies for federal or state law. If they have to do this, who’s next – doctors and emergency rooms?

Doing things like this simply creates a permanent underground slave class of workers who cannot work for legitimate jobs, cannot send their children to school and cannot get medical care except in extreme emergencies. Providing education, at the very least, gives the next generation a chance to find their niche in society.

I know many would say, “well, why don’t they just ‘go home’ where they belong and can get jobs legally? Maybe some should. But many cannot. And a large number have been here long enough that we should accept that they are home, they just took the wrong path to get here.

The other thing I thought was crazy was making it illegal to “knowingly” give a ride to an illegal alien. I suspect they are targeting those who pick up day laborers from where they congregate. But if I were to do that (and I wouldn’t) I wouldn’t ask their status, so I wouldn’t know it.

One problem behind all of this immigration law (and the one in Arizona some time back) is that there is an assumption that someone from another country is breaking the law simply by breathing American air. While I see many many regulations and hoops to jump through in order to work in the US, it appears to be very easy to VISIT. Living in Los Angeles, the example of tourism comes to mind the quickest, but another might be family visits. Disneyland and the Grand Canyon aren’t just attractive to Americans, and many Americans have family that are citizens of other countries. I cannot imagine living in a country with laws so strict that someone’s family can’t come “see the new baby” just because they happen to live in Costa Rica or France. These folks, while visiting Disneyland or the new baby, might end up leaving the house or hotel without their “papers.” Do you really want to live in the kind of country where that is a worry?

In my searches, I couldn’t find anything that indicates it is a crime simply to be here in the US without some sort of visa or green card.  Illegal entry is a crime, but that can’t be assumed. Overstaying legitimate visas, as an example, would indicate legal entry but the time span had lapsed. I am certain that far more undocumented residents came over through fairly legal means than the stereotype of sneaking through the desert or hiding in RVs through the border checkpoints. And how could you prove how any particular individual got across the border 10 years ago?

Last but not least, the ridiculous claim by Sen. Scott Beason that “This will put thousands of Alabamians back in the work force.” How? Perhaps a few folks who try for legitimate jobs will get weeded out. But thousands? Evidence please….. not just pandering to those who don’t like the idea of sharing our country.

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