Monday, May 15, 2006

No Fear, Kiwis. EBay Is On The Case!! (w/Rivalries Question)

Heh heh.

Some fellow down in Australia decided he'd post an auction on eBay, attempting to sell New Zealand to the highest bidder. (Findlaw Link)

An eBay spokesman levelled the understatement-of-the-day, when he said, "Clearly, New Zealand is not for sale."

Intrigued, I had to look into this a bit more.

I've read where the articles on the subject say there's an intense rivalry between the Aussies and the Kiwis (mainly based on football), but it makes me wonder if it's anywhere near as intense as, say, Texas' rivalry with Oklahoma (mainly based on, well, the good kind of football). A tried-and-true joke told around here: Why doesn't Texas fall into the Gulf of Mexico? Answer: Because Oklahoma sucks.

Texas also has not so much a rivalry as an intense hatred of New Mexico, and vice-versa (based not upon sports, but upon everything else). It's common knowledge that, if a Texan needs to drive in New Mexico, he'd better make sure of a couple of things first. 1.) Make sure his car is in good working order, because if he breaks down, he's not getting any help from the locals; and 2.) Make sure he budgets enough time to drive at least 5 mph under the speed limit, because NM cops have itchy ticket-hands when they see Texas plates. Hey, New Mexico's got to get money from somewhere, right?

But all of this made me wonder if there's more rivalries in the states. I've lived in Texas all of my life, so I can't say. I've touched on OK and NM, and the only other state with any real border on Texas is Louisiana. Our attitude towards them? Well, they're like the cousins you love to party with, but you feel a little leery of living next door to them. ;-)

So, chime in with your rivalries. If any of my three readers live anywhere other than Texas, we should have, well, let's see, precisely three replies.

In the meantime, I'm going to set up a seller's account on eBay and see what I can get for New Mexico.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Illegal Immigration -- Clearing Up a Misconception

Yes, I am coming out of my almost 5-month dry spell. I've been pretty busy lately, and that's both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because if I'm working, then there's work to do. Bad, because if I'm not posting to my blog, all 3 of my readers have to find something else to do with their 5 free minutes.

What brings me back, you ask?

Headline on FindLaw today:

"Many nations harsher than U.S. on illegal immigrants, study says"

To that I say, "Nooo, really?"

Let's take a closer look and see if the article tells us something we don't already know...

I'm sure almost everyone by now has seen the Mexican government's position on illegal immigrants in their country. Deport! What's interesting to note is that there's some waffling and misinformation as to whether or not illegally entering this country is a criminal offense.

The article quotes Rep. James Sensenbrenner thusly:

"With all the blustery rhetoric coming from opponents about a 'harsh' and 'draconian' House bill ..., I note that five out of the six countries studied - including Mexico - make illegal entry and unlawful presence a criminal offense."

The article then proceeds to contradict the spirit of Sensenbrenner's quote, when it points out that illegal entry into the U.S. is a midemeanor. The last line of the article, however, notes that "Illegal presence in the U.S. is now a civil offense."

Shall we clear all this up, once and for all?

While it is considered a civil offense to be in this country without proper documentation, such a distinction is only relevant for those who entered the country legally, and who obtained proper documentation upon entering. See, those documents invariably include a time period in which the holder is legally entitled to remain in the country. When that time period expires, and the party has taken no action to extend the time period or leave, that person may then be held to the civil penalties that come from "Illegal presence in the U.S."

Those who do not have, and have never had, proper documentation for being in the U.S. have de facto entered this country illegally. Illegal entry is when someone enters the country at any time, in any place, or any manner other than those determined by our immigration service. If they enter legally, there is a record somewhere of their presence, and they may be kept track of.

If they enter illegally, however, they have violated criminal law and are subject to imprisonment. Sure it's only 6 months for a first offense (after that it becomes a felony), but it's still a criminal penalty, not a civil one.

Okay, so now we discuss the problem.

We're not enforcing the law already. If we pass Sensenbrenner's bill, and make it a felony to enter the country illegally, will we suddenly start to? I doubt it.

What's really disgusting about the whole situation is that we're devaluing all of our laws by not enforcing this one. Not to mention the damage we're doing by having our elected officials imply that it's not against the law to enter this country without passing through a border checkpoint.

I've heard all the sob stories about how these people are only here because they've got nothing else. They don't have any choice. If they want to live, they've got to be here working.

I'm not buying it any more. If they want to break laws to bring a change in those laws, I suggest they do so in Mexico. It's not a poor country, just poorly run. Let's dispense with the crocodile tears for people who can't afford to stay in their own countries, but can somehow afford to gamble with their futures by walking off the job here. Let's toss out the window any sympathy for people who come here illegally, forcing those who are willing to follow the law to take a backseat.

I've heard talk that the recent "boycotts" is starting to cause a backlash. Well, pardon my saying so, but "Duh." The American people are tired of paying for illegal immigrants with our jobs, our benefits, our health care money, our law enforcement money, our insurance money, and otherwise.

I'm tired of it, too. It's illegal for someone to enter the country without proper documentation. No more amnesty talk. Build a wall, round them up, and send them back.

Now that, I'd spend my money on.