So, I ask myself: What do I think about the idea of the Day Without Immigrants? I'm torn. I support the principle of fixing the current immigration mess in such a way that the immigrants who are already here -- who followed the reality on the ground, even though it was against the law -- get treated as human beings who are making a positive contribution to our country. So I'm behind the peaceful rallies and demonstrations. But I don't like strikes, or more specifically, I don't like the idea that people should be able to walk out on strike without suffering any consequences. A lot of businesses have either supported the strikes or gone along with them, and I think that's fine, but if someone didn't show up to work today for the Day Without Immigrants, without having cleared it before hand, and they discover they don't have a job, I don't think they have any right to complain.
On the wider question of immigration, I've been trying to decide what the country should do about it. I want to see the people who have come here illegally (as long as they are being productive and obeying the law the best they can without legal status) continue to hold jobs, pay taxes, learn English, and eventually become citizens. If they and their employers between them are willing to pay the income and payroll taxes they skated on while they were illegal, they should be able to get credit for the time they were here illegally; if not, they should have to start at the beginning of the citizenship process, but they should be able to get green cards as quickly as we can verify that they have jobs and don't have criminal records. If you want to call it amnesty, I won't fight very hard, but I think it's more like giving them credit for time served -- these people have been willingly living in conditions that most of us rich citizens would decry as cruel and unusual punishment if we had to go to jail and live like that. If anyone needs to be punished for the illegal workers, it's the employers who got rich by exploiting them.
We need to fix the system so that we don't have people crossing the border and living in the country illegally, not because of any terrorist threat, but because people who have to routinely ignore one law in going through their lives are much readier to ignore other laws, and people who are aware that they're always breaking the law come to view the police as an enemy to be feared instead of as people there to help them. 12 million people living in the country illegally undermines the rule of law, not in the sense of some abstract ideal, but in very practical terms of how well ordinary people function in society.
(starstaf suggested this topic and invited me to comment on this CNN story. You, too, are encouraged to suggest a topic for me to discuss. Go here.)