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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Civil Disobedience, Civil Initiative, or Civil Disarray? 

Elaborating the comments I made here. First, some background on No More Deaths:

We are a diverse coalition of individuals, faith communities, human rights advocates, and grassroots organizers who have joined together to work for justice along the U.S.- Mexico border.

We have mobilized in response to the escalating numbers of migrant deaths in the deserts of the American Southwest. Since 1998, over 2000 men, women, and children have lost their lives attempting to cross the border.

We are a bi-national network of migrant-friendly organizations and individuals throughout the United States and northern Mexico that participate through symbolic and direct action.

We offer a strategy to intervene and put a stop to migrant deaths in the Borderlands.

No More Deaths is in the news because two of its volunteers have been charged with a crime:

No More Deaths volunteers, Shanti Sellz and Daniel Strauss, both 23, were arrested by the U.S. Border Patrol for medically evacuating 3 people in critical condition from the 105-degree Arizona desert in July 2005.

Shanti and Daniel were following the protocol of NMD training (acknowledged by NMD and US Border Patrol) by consulting medical professionals who advised them to evacuate the critically ill men to a medical facility, and then consulting a NMD attorney who approved the evacuation.

Their arrest and subsequent prosecution for providing humanitarian aid has shocked people of conscience around the world. These young humanitarians are facing prosecution by the US government which could result in a 15 year prison sentence.

Here's what happened:

Strauss looked back and saw that they were being followed by a Border Patrol vehicle. The officers trailed them for maybe 13 miles before pulling them over; they stopped, shutting down their engine and letting the heat outside creep in.

Strauss gazed at his three passengers, cowering in the tattered black clothes they had hoped would help them evade detection.

There was nothing we can do for you, the volunteers said _ you are going to be arrested. "We had warned them before they got evacuated what the rules were, and that we couldn't hide them in any way," Strauss says. "We did our best to try to tell them it was going to be all right, but we didn't know if it would."

The officer asked, "Are your three passengers illegal?"

"I don't know," Strauss said.

Then, Sellz recalls, the officer poked his head into the car and asked the passengers: "Do you guys speak English?"

No one answered.

"The officer turned to us and said, 'Those guys are illegal and you know it.'"

Two more Border Patrol vehicles arrived. They arrested Hidalgo-Solis and his companions.

But they also arrested Strauss and Sellz.

"Are you really arresting me?" Sellz recalls asking, in amazement.

"I know you guys are good people but what you're doing is illegal," she was told....

Sellz and Strauss...are slated to go to trial on April 25 on felony charges of knowingly and intentionally conspiring to transport an illegal alien, and with transporting an illegal alien, knowing and in reckless disregard of the fact that he had come to, entered and remained in the U.S. in violation of law.

If convicted, they could face up to 15 years in federal prison.

They have declined two different plea offers, one that came just a week after their arrests, that would have wiped their records clean in exchange for a no-contest plea. They insist that in transporting sick people, they were not in any way breaking the law.

"Humanitarian work needs to be applauded, not prosecuted," says Strauss.

No More Deaths believes that their actions fall under the category of "civil initiative," which Jim Corbett has defined as follows (emphasis mine):

"Isn't what you do illegal?" No. We work within the law to save lives. We do not engage in civil disobedience, but rather civil initiative.

Civil initiative is formed by this function; our responsibility for protecting the persecuted must be balanced by our accountability to the legal order.

As formed by accountability, civil initiative is nonviolent, truthful, catholic, dialogical, germane, volunteer-based, and community-centered.

Nonviolence checks vigilantism. Civil initiative neither evades nor seizes police powers.

Truthfulness is the foundation for accountability. Civil initiative must be open and subject to public examination.

Civil initiative is catholic (in the sense of all-embracing) rather than factional, protecting those whose rights are being violated regardless of the victim’s ideological position or political usefulness.

Civil initiative is dialogical, addressing government officials as persons, not just as adversaries or functionaries. Any genuine reconciliation of civil initiative with bureaucratic practice- the discovery of an accommodation that does not compromise human rights-is a joint achievement: civil initiative can never be based on non-negotiable demands.

Action that is germane to victims’ needs for protection distinguishes civil initiative from reactions that are primarily symbolic or expressive. As a corollary, media coverage and public opinion are of secondary importance when our central concern is to do justice rather than to petition others to do it.

Civil initiative’s emergency exercise of governmental functions is volunteer-based. The community must never forfeit its duty to protect the victims of human rights violations, but no new bureaucracy should be formed that would oppose the return of governmental functions to those constitutionally designated to assume responsibility.

Civil initiative is community-centered. To actualize the Nuremberg mandate, our exercise of civil initiative must be socially sustained and congregationally coherent; it must integrate, outlast and outreach individual acts of conscience.

One could misread (or read) this to say that civil initiative people make up their own laws in certain situations, but that's not exactly what they're saying.

This post explains civil initiative's views on the law...and the Law:

Basically, civil disobedience breaks the law, and civil initiative upholds the Law. (Corbett distinguishes between law as in statutes, and Law in a larger sense.)

Or, to put it another way (emphasis mine):

Civil initiative is the name that Corbett, the Quaker founder of the Sanctuary Movement, gives to his understanding of nonviolent response. Civil initiative has deeper spiritual insight than Thoreau's civil disobedience and clearer cultural relevance to the United States than Gandhi's satyagraha. Corbett asserts the duty of the individual to obey the law when the government defiles the law by calling illegal acts legal. He places the fundamental root of the law in spiritual experience. As a goat tender in the Arizona desert he experienced the deep meaning of the Jewish experience of Exodus and this prepared him to assist refugees from Central American in their flight to Canada. His Quaker commitment to helping those in need on any side of the conflict and to maintaining the rule of law without consenting to illegal law separated him from other activists protesting the Central American civil wars.

Or, human governmental laws themselves are illegal and not to be obeyed. Legal is illegal, and illegal is legal.

Let's look at the ramifications of this:
  • There's the argument above that laws against illegal aliens are immoral and therefore invalid and not to be obeyed.

  • There's the argument that government laws legalizing abortion are a violation of the moral Law, and that these invalid laws must be resisted, and that resisters are not guilty of a crime. Although I believe that Jim Corbett, a Quaker, would not agree with the tactics used by Eric Rudolph, the act of physically blocking access to abortion clinics, even when illegal to do so, would presumably be in line with his philosophy.

  • There's the argument that the Afghan government itself violated the law by using trumped-up procedures to free Abdul Rahman, who (in the eyes of some people) was guilty of a crime against higher Law, and thus deserved death. Granted that we're talking about a different higher Law, but the Islamic equivalent of Jim Corbett would probably have some views on this.

Regarding the second point above, there is a web page that, while not using the term civil initiative, certainly agrees with the philosophy that (small l) laws can be disobeyed when they conflict with the (capital L) law. (Emphasis mine.)

In Romans 13:1-7 Paul says the Christian should obey government. Why? He says it is because government fulfills the God-intended purpose of rewarding righteousness and punishing evil (Deut. 25:1). What is God's posture toward civil laws which protect evil-doing, and punish righteousness? "Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent--the LORD detests them both" (Prov. 17:15).

Paul says the government we are to obey is "God's servant" (Rom. 13:4). The state is the representative of God to society in the same sense that a baby-sitter is the representative of parents to their children. God delegates authority to the state just as parents delegate authority to the baby-sitter. But God does not give unconditional authority to the state any more than parents give unconditional authority to the baby-sitter.

We must realize that the law does not only permit abortion. It actually prohibits intervention to save lives at the very place they are being taken. It actively facilitates abortion, in that it forcibly removes those who would peacefully prevent it. It fines such people, puts them in jail, and awards their money to abortion clinics, in order to assure that child-killing can continue.

Further, the text states that we must not allow evil to take place:

The fact that we are not forced to get abortions does not settle the moral issue. It is rare that laws directly command people to do what is evil. In a republic such as our own they almost never will. More often they will command people to allow evil, to not interfere with evil, to not intervene for innocent lives. In other words, governments order sins of omission much more often than sins of commission.

Next the Nazis are examined (which raises the question, not discussed here, of those Christians that participated in the attempted assassination plot against Hitler; was it wrong for the government to execute them?).

The law did not require that the German people kill Jews. The law only required that they stand passively by while others killed them. Likewise, our law "only" requires that no one be able to go to the killing place and stand between the baby and the knife. (Some object to comparing Nazi Germany and the United States, which were two very different countries. But the point of the comparison is not the intent of the governments, but the reality of the victims. True as it may be, it is no consolation to 4500 innocent victims a day that they are being killed in the greatest republic the world has ever known.)

Scripture doesn't say, "anyone who knows the evil he shouldn't do and does it, sins." That is obviously true, but the Bible says something more: "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins" (James 4:17). This means we cannot say "no one requires me to sin by killing my child, therefore I am not morally obligated to save the lives of children being killed by others." God doesn't simply tell us not to kill--he also tells us to rescue those about to be killed. If it is right to intervene for the innocent, then a law that prevents intervention prevents people from doing what is right....

Jesus said that there was one law above all others, and upon which all others were based--love God with all you are, and "love your neighbor as yourself" (Matt. 22:37-40). Jesus extends this law in the form of the golden rule: "In everything, do for others as you would have them do for you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 7:12). We should ask ourselves the question, if we were being taken to a brutal death, what would we like someone to do for us at that moment? Take all the arguments against civil disobedience to save the unborn, and imagine yourself stating them before an audience of slaves, Jews or unborn children about to die.

In cases where helping victims is illegal, there are two conflicting ethical demands, one of which will be met and one unmet no matter what we do. One demand is to love your neighbor by saving his life. The other demand is to obey civil law. One of these ethical demands must be placed over the other. The question, then, is not should we disobey an authority, but which authority should we disobey--man's or God's?

So, are Christians called to disobey immoral governmental laws? Probably.

Are Christians called to plead innocent to charges of violating immoral governmental laws? I answer this with a qualified no.

Three Examples

Let's look at three trials/convictions in the Bible - one in which the person was guilty of the crime with which he was charged, and two in which the persons, while probably not guilty of the specific crime with which they were charged, were guilty of a crime against the civil authorities nonetheless.

Let's start in Daniel 6. In this case, the accused was clearly guilty of a crime against the state:

Daniel 6:7-10 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions' den. 8 Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed." 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.

10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

His crime was discovered, and was reported to the governing authorities. In this particular case, it was the government itself that wanted to save him, but was forced to conclude that Daniel was guilty:

Daniel 6:14-16 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.

15 Then the men went as a group to the king and said to him, "Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed."

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!"

Let's skip to Acts, and the initial charges against Paul:

Acts 21:27-29 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

27When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, 28shouting, "Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place." 29(They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple area.)

This case involved issues regarding the violation of civil liberties, which demonstrate that Paul, rather than being agreeable like Daniel, was taking a different tone:

Acts 22:22-29 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

22The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, "Rid the earth of him! He's not fit to live!"
23As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24the commander ordered Paul to be taken into the barracks. He directed that he be flogged and questioned in order to find out why the people were shouting at him like this. 25As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, "Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn't even been found guilty?"

26When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. "What are you going to do?" he asked. "This man is a Roman citizen."

27The commander went to Paul and asked, "Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?"
"Yes, I am," he answered.

28Then the commander said, "I had to pay a big price for my citizenship."
"But I was born a citizen," Paul replied.

29Those who were about to question him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.

Later on, after appearing before the Sanhedrin, Paul petitioned for a change in venue:

Acts 25:9-12 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

9Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, "Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and stand trial before me there on these charges?"

10Paul answered: "I am now standing before Caesar's court, where I ought to be tried. I have not done any wrong to the Jews, as you yourself know very well. 11If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!"

12After Festus had conferred with his council, he declared: "You have appealed to Caesar. To Caesar you will go!"

So, unlike Daniel's model of acquiescence, Paul fought the charges all the way. But there is another model:

Matthew 26:59-65 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

59The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.

Finally two came forward 61and declared, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.' "

62Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" 63But Jesus remained silent.
The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ,[a] the Son of God."

64"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

65Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.

Matthew 26:63 Or Messiah; also in verse 68

In this case, Jesus was not technically guilty of the false charges lodged against Him; he was guilty of a much more serious charge. And he didn't dodge it; he admitted to it.

Then he went before another court, a court that could save him:

Matthew 27:11-14 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

11Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.
12When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13Then Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?" 14But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.

So Jesus talked in front of the court that wanted to convict Him, and kept His mouth shut in front of the court that wanted to save Him.

So, if you ask that time-worn (and lucrative) question "What Would Jesus Do?" I believe that Jesus would have aided the dehydrated illegal aliens...and would have been arrested...and would have made sure that he was convicted.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)


I did not understand the "civil initiative" stuff on the NMD site, so thanks for doing the research to explain it. I want to spend some more time on the Quaker guy's site, since my ancestors were Quakers and one of my best friends is at a Quaker seminary.
There was a Quaker meetinghouse near our college, and at least one of my college classmates became a Quaker pastor (or whatever they're called).
Thanks for the great article. I am not convinced Jesus is a good example because his death/sacrifice needed to happen for other reasons totally unrelated to the charge. However, the other two make good points.

I also appreciate the further infromation on the case Jennifer cited. Knowing more information, they are not only guilty, but should be put in jail. I also believe the have no moral authority to stand on. I personally don't see a valid comparision between what they do and what crisis pregnancy center does. They are much more like an Eric Rudolph and both of them are guilty and not following God. I don't think Jesus would have necessarily tried to harbor the illegal aliens. He definilty would have provided for their physical and spiritual needs, but I think he would have told them to not break the law.
George Orwell said it in his book "1984". "Truth is Lies, Lies are Truth". There is nothing like a secular law to make it difficult to do the right thing!

Even the inhabitants of Stalingrad did everything they could to help the surrendering Germans after the Seige of Stalingrad. These were "Godless Commies" who had every reason to be cruel yet the doctors said "there are no enemies, only people", and saved thousands.

I personally as a former military person do not regard illegal alien immigrants as the enemy, but I WAS part of a unit which did that job, and we found that there was a high percentage of criminals, drug mules, and gun runners (As well as illegal fishermen, stupid rock stars on the ice getting bit by seals, and sports fishermen who got in over their heads!) in amongst the Tamil and El-Salvadoran refugees. Sorting them out IS NOT a military job, thats "Immigration", but rounding them up IS a military job. And I was stuck fixing airplanes which supported the coast guard and navy in intercepting those little boats which would leave the offshore ships and head pell mell into our waters.
Up here in Canada, it was not the dehydration..it was the exposure to cold. The North Atlantic, even in the summer, is not the tropical paradise these folks originated from. In the winter...well there were some heartbreaks.

Its not like the Border Patrol are the Gestapo rounding up Jews in Holland in 1942! They are simply carrying out the wishes of your elected representatives, and the worst the detainee can face is a couple of days in jail with good food, medical attention, and a free ticket back to his family!
If I had been part of the border team described in Ontario's blog, I would have contacted that car I was following by radio, and escorted them to hospital. Made sure they stayed around to get medical attention. Then I would have received instructions on whether to arrest the NMD people or not. Clearly the NMD's first mistake was to exceed their mandate to care for the injured by transporting them. That really IS against the law guys! Their second mistake was to not co-ordinate this evacuation with the authorities. (I know....supposedly they had. However, if they REALLY had, there would never have been an arrest...in fact, there might even have been an ambulance dispatched.) The border patrol doesn't want a bunch of folks to die on their watch!!
The third mistake was to pull off a stunt which would annoy the border patrol. The shot their best possible asset in the foot. I think an arrest would be in order just to remind them not to be so darned stupid in the future. You can't re-hydrate an injured person from a jail cell dammit!

It wasn't the aid they were giving which was stupid, it was the failure to co-ordinate with the proper authorities before carrying out an act they knew was contrary to the law of the land.

And having said all that, if I had been in the shoes of the NMD person who got instructions to bring them into hospital, I would have done so, even if I would have faced arrest in the process. However, the fact that they had a working radio (wow, I never seemed to have one when I needed it!) implies that they decided to ignore due process, and carry out an illegal act. After all, if they had simply turned those people into the border patrol, they would have received the medical attention they needed, no arrests would have been made, and the border patrol would have started using the NMD as an asset instead of a liability.

Just my 2 cents worth.
I am extremely confused by Doug and Stag's comments. Apparently I didn't make it clear in my post that the NMD volunteers were transporting the immigrants to a hospital, which changes your position. I'm not sure why. If they needed to be hooked up to intravenous fluids and given antibiotics in order to save their lives, that has to be done at a hospital! If the border patrol had found those guys in that ditch, they would have arrested them without offering medical care. YES - it happens to hundreds of them every day. This country spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for the collection of their dead bodies, autopsies, identification tests, burial preparation, and transport back to Mexico. If coordinating with the officials for an escort to the hospital was an option, why wouldn't NMD take advantage of it? Because it's not an option. The officials would rather collect the dead bodies than nurse these guys back to health, at which point they are sure to be raping, murdering, and stealing.
When I read the information included in OE post it showed that the group these two were connected with believed it was right and just to help illegal immigrant get across without getting caught. Taking them to a hospital is perfectly find and even Godly, but they should have also notified the boarder patrol of the hospital they could find the illegal immigrant at. That is why I feel what they did was wrong. They were harboring illegal aliens and breaking the law.
Ok, apparently I'm missing something. Where in the article is it implied that the group believes in helping people cross the border illegaly?
I scoured the website, and (at least in my search) didn't find anything that explicitly stated that the NMD people crossed the border. Here's a quote from a 2004 letter:

"[O]ur government has instituted a blockade policy that has forced migrants who might otherwise have been able to cross through urban areas into the dangerous deserts of the Southwest. Since the blockade strategy began in 1995 with Operation Hold the Line, 2600 people have died in their journey across the border.* Last year in Arizona alone more than 200 men, women, and children died excruciating deaths trying to cross the desert.** These people lost their lives in search of jobs so that their children would not starve. We here in Arizona cannot stand by as our brothers and sisters struggle against injustice and make a life-threatening journey through our deserts. As people of faith and people of conscience we have come together to address this crisis. We invite you to join us as we take action to demand an end to deaths in the desert....You can act in solidarity with migrants in your own community, or you can send members of your own community here to Arizona to aid migrants in the most dangerous part of their journey."

While No More Deaths appears on concentrate on the humanitarian aid, they are also looking at what they believe to be the root cause of the problem. (At some point I'll blog about the TRUE root cause of the problem, but that's another story.) NMD believes that this can not be solved by a fence across the border, and can be solved by permanent residency. Here's a suggested script for supporters to use when calling their senators.

"Hi, My name is ___________. I am a resident of ________ and a member of No More Deaths. I am calling to urge Senator _______ to make sure that the Senate approves an immigration reform bill that

1) provides a path to permanent residency

2) protects civil and human rights on the border

3) affirms the principle that humanitarian aid is never a crime."

On the other hand, one can argue that deaths in the Arizona desert could be prevented by a border fence, but NMD doesn't appear to care for that option.
Other comments:

A Human Bean is right when noting that the case of Jesus was different from the others. Daniel and Paul did not need to die (and in fact, both of their deaths occurred after their trials), while Jesus did.

Stag's comment got me thinking about another point. How was the Border Patrol supposed to know that the NMD people met the illegal aliens on THIS side of the border? For all they knew, NMD could have driven down to Mexico, picked them up, and drove them over.

Interestingly enough, just before I went to the faculty bathroom this morning, I was looking at a voter registration form for 18 year olds in California. Just before the question that asks if you're a citizen of California, it's stated that failure to answer this and other questions truthfully is a felony. I suspect that this will be the next target for activists.
Ontario, I read all the same info, too. It seems to me NMD's position is that due to increased patroling of the border in urban areas, the immigrants have started making the journey through more treacherous terrain. It doesn't appear they are taking a position on the legality of such border crossings, but they are merely offering aid to those who need it. Kind of like Jesus didn't take a position on adultery, but he came to the rescue of the woman who deserved to be stoned for it.
In my view, NMD's scripted call to the Senators (as well as their opposition to HR 4437) *does* indicate that they are taking a position on the border crossings - namely, that people crossing the border should get a path to permanent residency (i.e. not be "illegal"), and that walls shouldn't block their path.

Lots of good comments on your blog, by the way.
Wow, just got here, this is a great debate and discussion going on.

I think I like the idea of creating a "quick and easy" path to citizenship for current "illegals." After all, they're here for a reason, and that's to make money, live a dream, and ... pay taxes. Why not create a path that leads to fully legitimizing them? Sure they got here illegally, but we have to be a bit more pragmatic and less black-and-white.

The root of the immigration problem is not that we have no fence, it's that living in Mexico sucks. We can solve the immigration problem by helping Mexico bring up its economic standards, particularly in the border regions. If people have a viable alternative to leaving their home country, they'll take it.

My two pesos, anyway. ;)
Also... national security intrests would be met by making these invisible residents part of the national database, too. The ones who choose not to become full citizens are criminals of another sort, and these folks are the ones we need to usher out.

As for helping people survive and get to hospital... that's a no brainer, imo.
Agree with you on the root cause, but I'm not certain that the quick and easy path is the best one. After all, we tried that method to resolve the problem in the 1980s, with the result that there are between 11 and 20 million illegal/undocumented in the U.S. today. If McCain/Kennedy passes, and if Mexican minimum wages stay at $4/day, how many illegal/undocumented will be in the U.S. twenty years from now?
You may want to see my comment on this Lonewacko blog post (Sensenbrenner to Catholic Bishops: please stop lying).
But it's good to see that we have our priorities in order. This post links to this article:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says golf fairways would suffer if illegal immigrants were returned to their native country.

"You and I are beneficiaries of these jobs," Bloomberg told his WABC-AM radio co-host, John Gambling. "You and I both play golf; who takes care of the greens and the fairways in your golf course?"



(My favorite site is this one.)

Our government has to do something," he said. "It's not the immigrants coming over for jobs we're worried about. It's the smugglers, Mexican military and the national threat to our borders that we're worried about."

Citing a Jan. 15 story in the Daily Bulletin, Reps. David Dreier, R-Glendora, and Duncan Hunter, R-San Diego, last week asked the House Judiciary Committee, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the House Homeland Security Committee and the House International Relations Committee to investigate the incursions.

nice article........... http://www.looksmartbonds.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_4_19/ai_97450981

Here is somebody who uses the term "literary Post-modern border theorists"....read at your own risk. It is an adobe file...smile...

More Mexican governmental interfearance...or help if you prefer...http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/0124bordermaps.html

Good article from the "Ledger". http://www.theledger.com/static/americanimp/1004_texas.html

McConnels article...quite famous. http://www.nationalreview.com/31dec97/mcconnell123197.html

So you see, I am not just expressing an opinion without researching it first. The book "The Devil's Highway" is a scathing and disturbing story about how even the most well intentioned acts can end up in death and misery. It was a good read, though I thought it was a bit biased. But then, arn't they all!

Enough of this. The above is some good reading. Some crap too....
Be interesting to see what happens to David Dreier this election. He had a bit of a challenge the last time around.
Jennifer: that's news to me about the Border Patrol refusing to take those in medical need to hospitals or give them medical care.

In fact, if you have any proof of that charge, you should post it or just send it to 60 Minutes.

You do have proof, right?

BTW: if NMD wants to prevent border deaths, they should realize that the *only* way to do that is to reduce the numbers of those who try to enter illegally. The *only* way to do that is to reduce the demand and reduce the services. Do you see them supporting workplace enforcement and supporting Prop. 200?

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