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The Tentacle


March 18, 2008

Taking Up The Banner

Farrell Keough

My computer has been trashed; I allowed someone else to use it and a program was downloaded that hacked my system. For me, this is a painful process as I use my computer regularly to communicate with folks, look up information, post my viewpoints on issues, etc. But, it also gave me an opportunity to view some of the issues of illegal immigration in a new light.

 

An odd analogy? Not really. Most of the time we do not get exercised about issues until it hits home. We may read about various things in the newspaper, but getting involved or trying to make a difference simply does not enter our thoughts – it’s just another political issue. And like the multitude of other stories and issues out there, someone else will handle it.

 

Truth be told, that is generally true. And with regard to stemming the tide of illegal immigration, there are those people and organizations that will pick up the banner. We can sit back and read about it in the newspapers – and on The Tentacle.

 

The difference? This issue is hitting home. We are paying tremendous amounts of money for schooling, for health services, for roads, for food; the list goes on and on. But either we do not see it directly or the myriad of issues seems so large, working towards changing it seems far too great. But, in truth, movements begin with individual people. Groups form and voices are heard when one person and another and another stand up.

 

For example, Virginia has gained national attention for its counties calling for restrictions on the services provided for illegal immigrants. Maryland, unlike Virginia is developing a reputation as a possible sanctuary state for illegal populations.

 

As Brad Botwin, director of Help Save Maryland pointed out in a letter to the editor in the Washington Post: “Federal law requires only ‘emergency medical care’ for illegal immigrants, not full-service clinics with dental and mental health care.” This creates a direct cost for us, the tax paying public.

 

Lest someone think this is an uncaring and mean-spirited perspective, keep in mind those in our community that truly do need these services. They are now limited in the help they can receive as well as the tremendous wait time to obtain these services. Our friends and neighbors who have paid their taxes for years and years suffer due to the misguided requirements that these service providers must give to those who do not pay into our system.

 

Consider our schools. Many of our systems are stressed to their limits. We have the children of these illegal populations forcing our systems to slow our children’s learning process, spend money on foreign language services, bring ‘gang’ activity into our children’s lives just to name a few of the consequences. And we pay for this through our state and county taxes.

 

Fortunately, our county sheriff, Chuck Jenkins, has taken action over the last year to gain acceptance in the Federal ICE system. This will help with those illegals who have already committed crimes and getting them deported. This should also have a ripple effect throughout the illegal community that criminal, illegal immigrants will not be tolerated in Frederick County.

 

But, on a state level, that message is not consistent. For instance, the day-labor center in Gaithersburg as well as the Mount Rainier attempt at creating a sanctuary zone. The political representation to attempt these two actions is in direct contradiction to the desires of many, (if not most) Marylanders who have educated themselves on the issues.

 

And, what prevented these events from happening were people getting involved. They read about it in their local paper and rather than simply sitting back and believing someone else would deal with the problem, they involved themselves and showed up. As someone once noted, 90% of life is just showing up.

 

We are still in the throes of having our representation in Annapolis determine what we will do about drivers’ licenses, requiring service agencies to document citizenship, and numerous other bills dealing with these issues. Our own governor has flipped-flopped on the requirements for something as simple as a Maryland drivers’ license.

 

After 911, Virginia was quick to change their drivers’ license requirements since so many of the terrorists had one. Why Maryland will not follow that lead is more than perplexing. But, nothing will change if we do not get involved.

 

Think about it this way, if your car worked, but the lights would not go on, you could only drive during the daylight hours. While you would be able to accomplish a number of your daily needs, you would be stuck if something occurred during the night or during a rainstorm.

 

Our nation is something like a car that is only partially working. With these huge numbers of illegal aliens entering our country, using our services, filling our schools, and further, requiring these things through the political process, it won’t be long before we wake up to find we live in a different nation, one that can no longer afford our own services, does not speak a common language, has not only upper and lower economic classes, but disconnected classes who take more than they give.

 

As with so many things in our lives, we do not take the time to make a change until the pain is too great. With respect to illegal immigration, once that pain is so great, we may already be too far down the road to make a difference.

 

Take the time today. Look up these various organizations, write your representative, talk about it with your neighbors or coworkers. But, don’t just read about it and determine someone else will take up the banner.

 

fkeough@hotmail.com



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