ID cards cause immigration scare

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Derrick Jean-Baptise
Staff Writer

With each passing day it seems as if more and more social issues have become prevalent within the United States. Social issues that include but are not limited to gender equality, sexual equality, racism, the militarization of the police force, birth control, etc. Yet despite all of these pressing concerns one is often discussed more so then the others: immigration.

A new law that has been brought up in a few states has reignited the immigration argument. This law, if brought into action, will allow illegal immigrants state licensed identification cards. When the news of these cards first arrived many people, as well as many news outlets, assumed that these cards would in some way make illegal immigrants legal. But this is not the case.

In regards to this specific case, the IDs are not just for immigrants but they are for all of New York. The IDNYC program offers a chance for residents of New York City who are at least 14 years old to get a photo identification card. This ID allows New Yorkers to utilize services, programs and benefits regardless of immigration status, homeless status or gender identity.

These identification cards are not just for immigrants, yet the media portrays it as such. Turning a general identification into an immigration issue is a larger story then the outright truth. But the only good thing about the half-truths that this case presented is that it brings up the issue of immigration once again.

The issue of immigration is a particularly difficult social issue to speak about. When one speaks about it two outcomes are possible: either the person could be accused of allowing illegal immigrants to take American jobs or if they can simply be deemed an ignorant racist if they say they are against immigration. With such general dismissals on either side of the argument, it forces us to be unable to move on and have a logical discussion on the topic of immigration.

In order to discuss immigration we as a collective group must come to understand a few certain guidelines:
Opposition to illegal immigration is not racist. However, the rhetoric used to push it often is. Yes, sometimes the people fighting for it often have racist motivations, and the laws intended to enforce immigration often cater to that same racist rhetoric. As a whole though, most people against immigration are genuinely fearful of job losses and are not inherently being racist.

The Arizona immigration law SB 1070 is an excellent example of these types laws in order to enforce immigration. This law allowed police officers to check for identification of people who the officer had a “reasonable suspicion” of being illegal immigrants. It even said that officers “may not solely consider race, color, or national origin.”

Hey, that’s not so bad, right?

Except just what does “reasonable suspicion” mean though? What are the consequences for an officer if they do solely consider race, color or national origin? And the use of “solely” is a nice touch, isn’t it? It means that they can use race and color in conjunction with something else. So even though, on the face of it, the bill warns against racial profiling, that warning has no teeth, and there is not really any direction given on just what criteria are to be watched for when enforcing immigration laws.

What do you think the average person is going to look for when they look for an illegal immigrant? And the moment you try and tell me anything other than something that equates to racial profiling, you are not even lying to me anymore, you are lying to yourself.

Even if we were to say that those who wrote this bill tried to keep it from being racist, it is written in a way that could easily be twisted by racists, and arguably even invites racists to do so.
The immigration problem is never going to go away. That is the only thing I know to be true. We can only come to an agreement on what exactly we must do in order to get through this “problem.”
Well unless…we build a wall 20,000 ft high that creates a complete circle around the continental United States. The wall would be 500 ft thick at its base with a one-meter thick layer of steel in the middle and a metal plate connected to an electric current spanning the first 13 ft of the exterior to prevent people climbing it.

Of course this is just a suggestion on a consistent problem.

Since it seems like no one else will approach this issue logically it is probably best that I do not either.