Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Left on the vine

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 1:49 PM

blueberries.jpg
  • Photo by julesho

Today, the Associated Press is reporting that 78 criminal undocumented immigrants have been arrested in a sweep of Colorado. These weren't your run-of-the-mill immigrants, according to the article. These were convicted criminals hiding out in this country.

ICE officials said the goal was to arrest convicted criminal aliens and track down fugitives who were taking advantage of the U.S. immigration system.

Okey-doke. Sounds good. Yet stories like these always prompt the comments, which are beginning to trickle in, conflating these allegedly dangerous criminals to the workaday undocumented immigrants that our economy needs in order to function.

The two are not the same, whether or not they are here legally. One could be a productive member of our society, if we'd just allow that to occur, and another is not — at the moment — a productive member of any society.

Case in point: Last week in Georgia, the impact of thousands of undocumented immigrants fleeing that state under a strict new law was being felt in a predictable way.

See Jay Bookman's post at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for the cautionary tale of what happens when government jumps to an extreme solution:

After enacting House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia, state officials appear shocked to discover that HB 87 is, well, driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.

It might be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Thanks to the resulting labor shortage, Georgia farmers have been forced to leave millions of dollars’ worth of blueberries, onions, melons and other crops unharvested and rotting in the fields. It has also put state officials into something of a panic at the damage they’ve done to Georgia’s largest industry.

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