Immigration Reformation

Commentary from SMAG

This past Tuesday U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents locked up 59 illegal immigrants at the Lansdowne Resort near Leesburg, Virginia.

The ICE said “that family members could call a hotline for information about those detained”.

Good idea, right? Good for the ICE, maybe.

For family members, maybe not. You call the ICE, they’ll probably trace the call, they’ll probably want your name, they’ll probably invite you down to visit the detained family member. They might even invite you in for a bit of detention yourself.

Chances are, the other family members are all laying low, illegal or not, until they figure out their next move and how safe it is to venture out.

Interestingly, two female workers were released for ““humanitarian concerns.” I wonder what that means. Were they pregnant? Sick? Pretty? Based on the comments posted about the online version of the article, I’’d be surprised if they were pregnant. Many of the citizens writing in wanted to get pregnant illegals out of here before their babies became US citizens. Their argument: pregnant women come here from Latin America to have “anchor babies”. Those are babies who, in 21 years, will be able to sponsor other family members, so they too can become citizens.

Now that is what I call long term planning.

If you look at any of these online news items about immigration, I’’d avoid the comment section at the end. It’’ll make your blood boil. One person’’s comment I read made an analogy between the bird feeder he put on his deck with the immigration problem. Evidently he quickly had hundreds of birds coming for the free food. Before long he was overrun with birds nesting and defecating everywhere, all looking for a free handout. He couldn’’t enjoy his deck any more because of the noise and the mess. He took the feeder down and the problem went away. No more “free rides” on this guy’’s property.

Evidently Texas has hundreds of miles of suet feeders we didn’’t know about.

  • Ironic thing about Lansdowne is that it was built on the site of an historic Lee family plantation called Coton. The plantation was the home of a large number of slaves. These “legal” immigrants worked this property for about 75 years, from the time the plantation was built in the 1790’s until emancipation. The workers in those days were forced to come and clear the land and tend the crops. The willing workers today are sent packing.

  • Another interesting thing about Lansdowne is the name. I’’m not sure of the origins of the name of this resort and the surrounding development that goes by the same name, but coincidentally, the Marquis of Lansdowne was the owner of a large estate in southwestern Ireland in the first half of the 19th century. His tenants were some of the poorest folks in all of Ireland. In 1850 the Marquis paid for his workhouse tenants to immigrate to America following the toughest years of the “potato famine”. They were known as the Lansdowne immigrants. They came here without passports. They came here with nothing. They worked for low wages and made homes for themselves. They were marginalized and ostracized by society. Much like those who work (worked) at this new Lansdowne resort they came here looking for something better.

  • For an interesting study of the Lansdowne Irish immigrants, see the article by Tyler Anbinder in American Historical Review, April, 2002.

Another recent article from the same region describes overcrowded county jails due to the high number of arrests of illegal immigrants. ICE is supposed to pick up arrested illegals from local facilities within 72 hours, but with the large numbers being arrested, it is taking weeks. Local officials are complaining

that county jails are overflowing with illegal immigrant detainees whom ICE has not been able to pick up promptly…. As a result of the stepped-up detentions, county jails that were already badly crowded are now bursting at the seams. In February, the county’s two main jails, whose capacity is 402 inmates, held an average of 664 a day; an additional 275 inmates were sent to facilities elsewhere in Virginia at a monthly cost to the county of some $220,000. To compound the irrationality, it is native-born inmates, often with roots in the community, who are being shipped to far corners of the state, while the immigrants are kept at Prince William’s jails, waiting up to four weeks for ICE to get around to retrieving them.

At a time of intense budgetary pressure in Prince William, the crackdown on illegal immigrants may force the county to spend some $3 million a year on transportation, processing and other expenses to deal with jail overcrowding. And that doesn’t include the millions of dollars in new costs that county police would incur to enforce the crackdown.

Sounds like they need some folks willing to work hard for less money. Hmm, wonder where they could find them.


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