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What Part of ‘Illegal’ Don’t They Understand?


By Doug Patton

January 24, 2005 


Such behavior no doubt is as typical in state legislatures across the country as it is in the United States Congress, but here in Nebraska, our own out-of-control lawmakers introduced 763 new bills in the first ten days of the 2005 session. And believe it or not, that is the lowest number in two decades. 


Since there is only one House in Nebraska’s quirky, non-partisan Unicameral Legislature, its 49 legislators are all called “state senators” and all proposed laws are dubbed “Legislative Bills.” (Proposed constitutional amendments, which require ballot approval, are labeled “Legislative Resolutions.”) Overall, it is not a system that works particularly well, due to an obvious lack of checks and balances, but Nebraska voters approved it back in the 1930s, and now, it seems, we are stuck with it, at least for the foreseeable future.  


As usual, there are all kinds of inane topics being addressed in Lincoln this year. Legislative Bill 627 would require school boards to adopt a bullying policy. LB 628 would impose a state sales tax on snack foods and use the revenue for school facilities. LB 104 would allow women to openly breast-feed their babies in public. (It’s always “for the children,” isn’t it?) 


Most of these bills are simply new and improved ways for government to meddle in our lives, but some are insidious measures that actually encourage lawlessness. The most blatant example is LB 152. Introduced by State Sen. DiAnna Schimek (the Barbara Boxer of the Nebraska Legislature), this proposal would not only give illegal aliens the right to attend the University of Nebraska and other state colleges, it also would allow them to pay in-state tuition rates currently paid only by citizens of the State of Nebraska.  


So to sum up, a law-abiding person born east of the Missouri River would be denied rights and privileges granted to a criminal born south of the Rio Grande. I ask you: when did the lunatics begin running the asylum? 


This idea has been floated in other states. Last year, the Iowa House of Representatives passed a similar proposal, only to have it rejected by the State Senate after hearing from angry Iowans and at least one of their congressmen. 


Of course, Sen. Schimek and her bleeding-heart supporters would tell you that I am being insensitive to the plight of the poor, hardworking criminals. In their world, the proper term for the individuals in question is “undocumented immigrants” or “undocumented workers.” But as columnist Michelle Malkin has pointed out, they are hardly undocumented. Most of them have plenty of documentation — all of it phony — and the rest of us are paying the price for their criminal behavior. 


There is a false belief among many elected officials that all immigrants agree with public policies that blur the line between legal and illegal immigration. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many immigrants who have jumped through all the hoops to legally immigrate to America resent the very officials and policies that tolerate the flood of illegal immigration. And why not? How would you feel if you had worked hard, played by all the rules, filled out all the paperwork and waited — sometimes for years — to come to this country, only to find that others who had broken the law were given preferential treatment over you and your family? 


Whether you live in Nebraska or elsewhere, you can tell Nebraska State Senator DiAnna Schimek exactly what you think of her proposal. You can e-mail her at dschimek@unicam.state.ne.us. 


And while you are at it, send a message to your federal officials as well. You can find your U.S. Representative at www.House.gov, or your U.S. Senator at www.Senate.gov. Tell them that in a post-9/11 world, America’s lax immigration policies are an absolute scandal. Then ask them what part of “illegal” they fail to understand. 


Doug PattonDoug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a speechwriter, policy advisor and communications director for federal, state and local candidates, elected officials and public policy organizations. His weekly columns are published in newspapers across the country and on selected Internet websites. Readers can e-mail him at dpatton@neonramp.com.

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