Friday, August 13, 2010


Changing the Constitution

There's always been an irrational element in the make-up of the American public regarding politics and public policy. I want to call the members of this bloc the Yahoos, but that may be an unfair and unkind term. I will limit myself to saying that I consider them to be mistaken and wrong-headed.

These mistaken ones today are angry at immigrants who are in the country without papers -- people who sneaked across the border and crossed the desert to get to Tucson, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and other large cities near the boundary with Mexico. They include in their anger persons who came here lagally many years ago with valid visas but who have chosen to stay after their visas have expired. Many of these "illegals" have applications on file with the Immigration and Naturalization Service for permanent residence status. The INS is notoriously slow to deal with these applications.

I have some personal experience to relate. I married an alien who was in the country with a student visa. When we got our degrees and left the University, her student visa was ended. Because she was my wife, she wasn't in any danger of being rounded up and expelled from the country. However, her application for permanent residence status languished in the files of the New York office of the INS. Eventually a friend told me what I should do. I went one evening to a meeting of the local Congressman with his constituents. I waited in line to speak to the man. When my turn came I started to tell him that I needed help to get my wife permission to stay in the country legally. Before I had finished he turned me over to one of his assistants. I told this person my story. He typed a nice letter to the head man at the New York INS office, forged the Congressman's signature, and gave it to me with instructions to deliver it in person to the secretary of the INS Chief.

The next day I boarded the elevated in the Bronx and rode to central Manhattan, where I walked to the INS offices. I went to the ninth floor and presented the letter to the secretary. She read it and spoke to me about as follows: "We have been very slow in dealing with your wife's case. However, now that Congressman Buckley has taken a personal interest in the matter, we will handle it with dispatch." Not long afterward my wife traveled to Montreal, Canada, and obtained a permanent residenct visa from the American Consul there. She became a citizen several years later while we were living in Los Angeles.

Both of my children were born while my wife was living here without proper papers.

Some of the mistaken want to change the constitution to remove language in the 14th Amendment that guarantees American Citizenship to any child born in the United States and require that the parent(s) of that child not be in the country illegally when the child is born. Theoretically that change could take away the citizenship of my two children and, consequently, of my grandchildren, and so on. If I have a chance, I will vote against it.

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