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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


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A few days ago I debated posting a satirical essay on the ultimate solution to dealing with illegal immigrants. No matter what penalties were offered up to the anti-"amnesty" crowd, nothing has satisfied them. Massive penalties, years of waiting for green cards, having to exit the US to qualify for legalization status, paying back taxes, taking English and civics exams, etc. None have been satisfactory. It occurred to me that only one penalty would satisfy some of the most viciously anti-immigrant loudmouths - public execution using the most painful methods possible.  Sure it might be expensive rounding up millions of people and fairly time consuming taking care of it all. But these people broke the law, after all.

My point was that at some point, the punishment needs to fit the crime. People break many laws and we punish them in many ways. Why do exile or imprisonment need to be the only forms of punishment acceptable? Many crimes are punishable by payment of fines and we don't  consider people to have been granted amnesty.

Anyway, I decided not to publish the post because I didn't think everyone would "get" it and I was envisioning the emails and the misquotes. I'm not The Onion after all.

But this evening I learned that my satirical vision of the views of the anti-immigrants may not have been such a stretch after all. One of the loudest voices on talk radio, a Mr. Michael Savage, is now plunging in to territory Lou Dobbs has yet to venture.

Savage recently discussed a hunger strike being undertaken by five college students in San Francisco to bring attention to the need to pass the DREAM Act. For those of you not familiar with this legislation (sponsored by the conservative Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)), the bill would allow certain illegal immigrants who came to the US before age 16 and who have been here five years to have a path to legal status if they graduate from high school and go to college or the military.

Savage had this to say about the students:

"I would say, let them fast until they starve to
death then that solves the problem. Because then we won't have a problem
about giving them green cards because they're illegal aliens, they don't
belong here to begin with...We don't need you as engineers, go back to
where you came from. ... Go be an engineer there. You stole the education from
us; now give it back to your home country. Go make a bomb where you came

Lovely that this is the state of discourse on this subject. I don't think I need to say more except to note that Mr. Savage was ranked number 61 in Bernard Goldberg's book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. Goldberg's book mainly criticized liberal commentators, but had this to say about Mr. Savage:

"Savage's brand of over-the-top bile...puts him right in there with the angriest haters on the Left..."

At least the "normal" anti-immigrants have said that the DREAM Act sends the wrong message to the parents of these young people rather than attacking the intended beneficiaries of the bill. I could almost understand that argument. But this is just hate, pure and simple.

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  1. In Immigration Limbo's Avatar
    I don't think we need to blame Children for the actions of their parents. Savage is an extremist that most conservatives (including myself) should distance themselves from. I wish I could get my wife to stop listening to him.
  2. Legal and waiting's Avatar
    Get her to call the program and ask to advocate for more EB and H1 numbers. I am pretty sure she will get the rub-down she will remember for the rest of her life.
  3. alex's Avatar
    Is there any point in those students' fast? Nobody really seems to care at this moment. Even immigration proponents have said that immigration bills will be put on hold until 2008. Everybody seems preoccupied with the Libby affair now, and immigration is losing the spotlight.
  4. Lisa Enfield's Avatar
    Michael Savage is a shock-jock, pure and simple. He is paid to say outrageous things and get people all riled up. I think he is a fringe guy that won't affect mainstream thinking. Lou Dobbs, Glenn Beck, Dennis Prager, Rush Limbaugh and others articulate the same message but with much less nativist, hateful undertones. As a political conservative myself, I think they all miss the point that the USA needs and can well absorb succssfully more educated, skilled workers under an orderly system that protects US national interests.
  5. Thinking of Going to Canada's Avatar
    What is amazing is that Savage is the third most listened to radio host after Limbaugh and Hannity. What does that say about the American public. I am seriously thinking of moving to Canada, because I'm so tired of living amongst these individuals who hate immigrants. And I do seriously believe they hate all, even legal one's, regardless of what they say.
  6. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    Dear Thinking of Going to Canada -

    While I understand your frustration, you should know that the debate in this country has been going on for more than two centuries and the pro-immigrant side always wins in the end. The country eventually remembers that immigration is the entire basis for our history and culture. So don't give up hope. Remember, even with the nastiness on talk radio and Congress caving to the pressure of the anti-immigrants, the public opinion polls show the vast majority of Americans supported immigration reform and have positive feelings about immigrants.

  7. Thinking of Going to Canada - TX's Avatar
    Greg, I really hope you're right and that history does in fact repeat it self in this regard. The only downside is that in the past, we did not have the power of the internet and talk radio that today helped the minority make such an impact. This is a different time and a whole different ball game. I can only hope that this country in the end remembers it's roots and understand what made it the greatest in the world.

    Thanks for keeping us updated with all the latest in the immigration world.
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