Confessions Of An Illegal Alien
July 21, 2010 by John Myers
I believe Arizona’s Immigration Law S.B. 1070 is going to be damn effective. In fact I think it should be adopted across the United States. What special insight do I have into the matter? I used to be an illegal alien.
Twenty-seven years ago this month I was sitting at my desk in the Peyton Building in downtown Spokane, Wash., and I got a letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). I jerked it open and realized my worst fears. My work visa had not been extended.
Immigrating to the United States had been a disaster right from the start, even though it shouldn’t have been. My dad, C.V. was a U.S. citizen by right of his father being born in Oklahoma. At least that’s what the U.S. State Department said when they issued C.V. a U.S. passport.
Yet INS thought otherwise. They hadn’t forgotten that C.V. had sold gold to Americans when it was illegal for them to own it. INS wanted to deport him. It was a legal fight that would take a decade to resolve. In fact a U.S. Federal judge finally ruled in C.V.’s favor a few months after his death in 1990.
But on that day in 1983 the only thing that mattered was the letter on my desk; the letter that said I had to leave the U.S. or face deportation. It didn’t matter that I had paid my taxes, bought a house and that my wife and I had an American-born son.
Despite the fact my dad was ill I decided that I didn’t really have a choice. Better to move back under my own terms than to be roped-up like a criminal and be “escorted” by deportation bus.
Of course my dad, who was also my boss, was dead set against me going back to Canada. Besides the fact that he hated the Federal government, he had a U.S. passport that proved to him that I was entitled to a green card. He talked to his lawyer Bob Magnuson, who was the brother of Idaho mining legend Harry Magnuson, and set up a meeting with a young immigration lawyer named Dan Keane.
Before Dan became an immigration and criminal lawyer he had worked as an INS agent. In fact his father was a well known immigration judge.
I showed Dan the INS letter and he read it carefully. Then he smiled and said, “So what’s the problem?”
“What’s the problem? This letter says if I don’t leave I am going to be deported!”
“That’s not likely to happen. You’re dad’s citizenship is going to get sorted out and when that happens you will get a green card. Until then I wouldn’t worry about it.”
I told Dan I was plenty worried about it. That I was afraid to get so much as a speeding ticket; that the cop would check on my immigration status and that my wife and I would be headed for Canada.
Dan started laughing. “Hell John, the cops don’t enforce immigration law. They don’t care.”
“They don’t care!” I was astonished. Here I was, living illegally in a country and this lawyer—my lawyer—was telling me that law enforcement didn’t care.
“You could get caught robbing a bank and your immigration status probably wouldn’t be called into question,” explained Dan.
Because of Dan’s advice and my father imploring me to stay, I decided to be an illegal until there was a ruling on C.V.’s citizenship. Fortunately I was given amnesty and granted a green card by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. A decade later I became a U.S. citizen.
I have always been grateful for the opportunity to become an American. But I also know it would never have happened if I had fretted about the police enforcing the law. And while Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has been called a bigot for signing S.B. 1070, she has struck upon an idea that is long overdue: That state law enforcement should enforce U.S. laws and that in doing so the U.S. can at least slow the flood of illegals entering the country.
In fact, on July 12th azcentral.com wrote: “The upcoming enforcement of SB 1070 has caused many illegal immigrants to flee Arizona.”
It is hard for me to understand why the Obama administration is challenging assistance from local law enforcement when clearly the Federal government needs all the help it can get.
There are as many as 30 million illegal aliens in the U.S. That’s the population of Canada. And no place has been impacted harder than Arizona.
According to the Connecticut Law Tribune, “Three state counties have been lost to violent Mexican drug cartels. More than a thousand attempt to cross the border every day. Between 1996 and 2009, the illegal alien population in Arizona increased 300 percent.”
The CLT goes on to point out that, “In 18 months alone, more than 22,000 people were killed in an ongoing drug war in Mexico near the Arizona border. Thugs are now throwing rocks at the heads of our border patrol agents.”
Yet even as Arizona suffers the highest kidnapping rate in the world outside Mexico City, the Obama administration wants to obstruct Arizona from protecting its own people who are, after all, American citizens.
U.S. News & World Report says there may be method to the Federal government’s madness, with both the Obama administration and the Republican Party, “spending way too much time bowing to the interests of illegal immigrants (who come in all races and colors) and refusing to enforce existing laws or pass new ones limiting immigration to that which improves our environment and our economy.”
Through the Justice Department President Barack Obama declares that S.B. 1070, “illegally intrudes on federal prerogatives,” and further states that Federal law “trumps state statutes.”
Is the State Department serious? After all, if somebody is hijacking an airplane or kidnapping someone across state lines do we worry whether they are arrested by the Feds or the local cops? Of course we don’t. So why then should we worry who is enforcing immigration laws? We should only worry that they are being enforced.
As a person who once feared deportation I am not sure what if any of S.B. 1070 has to do with race or racism. I knew that if the INS caught me I was in fact going back to Canada. It wasn’t like they were going to say, “Oh heck you’re a white guy, we will let you stay.” As far as I could see back then and right now, Federal immigration laws are color blind. It is the Federal government which is blind to America’s needs.
Yours for real wealth and good health,
Myers’ Energy and Gold