Posts Tagged ‘illegal immigrants’

Penn State: do the sanctions punish the innocent?

July 24, 2012

 

The ESPN telecast showed student reaction (photo) on a split screen as NCAA President Mark Emmert ticked off one harsh penalty after another against Penn State’s football team. Clearly these horrified Penn State students were being punished for the sins of the formerly sainted coach, the university president, and other senior members of the administration. Their future autumn Saturdays, their social lives, and their pride in their university were being stripped from them.

Accountability for wrongdoing often brings down the innocent along with the guilty. Think about the workers at Enron, Arthur Anderson, or MCI-Worldcom, who lost their jobs when their bosses’ malfeasance destroyed their companies. Or think about innocent children of illegal immigrants who are wrenched away from their world when their parents are deported.

Is it all right to punish the innocent? First, there is no way of punishing the guilty without harming people close to, or dependent on them. Even a mass murderer–when he is sent away his mother suffers along with him. When Al Qaeda militants are killed, their family members often die with them.

Still we mustn’t be blasé about collateral damage to innocents. It was painful to watch the students as their innocent college years were stripped of top-quality football. But in a sense they’re not innocent. They share a nation-wide belief that football is more (more…)

Obama’s an ethical hero for creating a virtual Dream Act to give a million young Americans a path to a productive life, free from fear of deportation

June 17, 2012

 

Joanne ____ is one of America’s twelve million illegal immigrants. She was brought to the United States from Mexico as a baby by her parents.  She has a younger sister and brother who are American citizens because they were born in the United States. Her sister is in her last year at Harvard; her brother is in high school.

Five years ago alumni of the North Hollywood High School Class of 1957 decided, as part of their 50th reunion, to give a scholarship to a deserving senior. The school’s top choice was Joanne, and so she was awarded the scholarship. With that financial help and her own tenacity and hard work Joanne got her degree from the California State University, Northridge, a year ago. She’s spent much of the past year looking for work, but it’s been a hopeless case because she can’t produce the necessary papers.

Until yesterday, when President Obama announced that the United States would no longer consider deporting people like Joanne—people who had been brought here illegally as children, earned a high school diploma or GED, or served in the military, and had behaved well—had what we would call a record of good citizenship, were they citizens. Moreover the government will give them permits to work in the US for two years, renewable indefinitely.

In effect the President granted by executive action much of what the Dream Act—stymied only by an especially ugly Republican filibuster (more…)

Pass the Dream Act, give Luis Luna and 300,000 like him a chance at citizenship. Obama and Gingrich favor, Romney opposes

January 19, 2012

Luis Luna, 20, was an illegal immigrant, smuggled here from Mexico at 3. The LA Times tells his story. Luis did well in school, graduated, got engaged to his high school sweetheart, got a job, then got pulled over while on the way to work for a broken headlight. He had no driver’s license, Immigration was called in, and Luis was deported to Mexico.

He tried to get back by riding the undercarriage of a boxcar, scant inches above the train roadbed, until the train stopped at a U.S. border checkpoint, where a German Shepherd sniffed him out, sank his teeth into Luis’s ribcage, and dragged him out. Luis is now homeless in Nogales, hoping to find a way legally to return to his girlfriend-now-wife, his family, friends, and the only life he’s ever known.

Luis’s tragedy could have been precluded under the Dream Act, which would provide temporary residency and a possible path to citizenship to Luis and hundreds of thousands like him who were brought here as small children and have played by the rules ever since.

President Obama supports the Dream Act, which passed the House last year but failed to get the 60 votes needed to avert a filibuster in the Senate. Mitt Romney says he would veto it, Newt Gingrich says he supports it—a principled position that is costing him dearly with Republican primary voters.

Let Romney lose because his opponent is better, not because of ugly religious bigotry

October 25, 2011

Reasons to vote against Mitt Romney: He’s a liberal trying to look like a conservative. He has no convictions other than a determination to appear what’s necessary to get elected. He’s willing to employ illegal immigrants as long as no one knows about it. He put his pet dog in a cage on the roof of his car and drove 500 miles.

But some people have another reason: He’s a Mormon! And Mormons aren’t Christians. Not really. Mormonism is a cult!

So said Robert Jeffress, a senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, explaining why Christians should prefer his candidate, Rick Perry, who he introduced at the Values Voter Summit two weeks ago in Washington.

Jeffress and the people who agree with him are repudiating the Constitution of the United States, which says in Article VI, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

Pretty strong statement, using ‘no,’ ‘ever,’ and ‘any’ in one clause. But Jeffress believes that Christians must prefer a Christian to Romney. That’s a religious test. It’s wrong when practiced by Evangelicals opposing Romney for the Republican nomination, and it’ll be just as wrong when liberals use it if and when Romney gets the nomination.

The theological argument over Mormonism as Christianity (more…)

The Phoenix Suns become Los Suns for a day to support Arizona’s Latino community

May 9, 2010

If you’re in business you don’t want to offend your customers. Not even half of them. That’s why you avoid taking a public position on controversial issues. If asked you just say, “I don’t know about that,” or That’s politics, my game is basketball,” or whatever.

So what do you do when you think your state has acted against “our basic principles of equal rights and protection”? If you’re in business in Arizona you keep your mouth shut. Why alienate the 70 percent of Arizonans who favor the state’s new legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants and those who help them or hire them? Or else why alienate the majority of Latinos who despise the new law?

Why? Because you believe in something and you believe it’s your duty to speak up. Robert Sarver, owner of the National Basketball Association’s Phoenix Suns, had his team wear special jerseys emblazoned with Los Suns for the playoff game on May 5, Cinco De Mayo, the day that Mexican Americans celebrate their Mexican heritage.

Amid the rancor over the new law, Sarver said he was taking the controversial action “to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, the state of Arizona, and our nation.”

Hooray for Sarver and Los Suns.

Illegal immigrants: Treat them humanely or make their lives miserable?

April 15, 2010

Ethics can be confusing. Like the case of illegal immigration: how do we decide between compassion and legality? {Disclosure: My ideas may be affected by my family experience. My grandparents came here from Russia and Germany in the 1880s, when there was no such thing as illegal immigration. You just had to be free of TB and you were admitted. Had they not been admitted the whole family would likely have been subjected to fierce anti-Semitism, then murdered in the Holocaust.)

The Arizona House of Representatives this week passed America’s toughest state law against illegal immigration. It makes it a crime to lack proper immigration paperwork and requires police, if they suspect someone is in the country illegally, to determine their immigration status. It also bars people from soliciting work as day laborers. Its author, state Sen. Russell Pearce, explains, “When you make life difficult, most will leave on their own.”

I certainly believe in making life difficult for lawbreakers, but there’s serious collateral damage here. What about the “foreign-looking” people who will be challenged to prove their legal status? Like Graciela Beltran of Tucson, who, the Los Angeles Times reports, was asked for immigration papers while boarding a bus. And the other dark-skinned people who will be “profiled.”

And along with the lawbreakers there are innocents, like the U.S.-born children of illegals, who face having their parents deported. Or who face hunger because their fathers can no longer find day work from the Walmart parking lot.

Americans have contributed to the problem by allowing so many to overstay their visas or to enter illegally. Now it seems to me that we have an obligation to be humane in our treatment.

What’s an ethicist to conclude? Let me know your opinion.