Originally posted April 27, 2010
Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God that I live in a free country. For all of our problems, on our worst day, we remain the land of the free, a place of endless opportunity. No wonder so many people long to get here, by car or boat or tunnel or hang glider or inner tube, any way they can. And since I did nothing to earn such a privilege myself, I have no problem with sharing the wealth with others.
But not by theft, nor fraud, nor deceit.
Case in point: Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times had a feature story about Ekaterine Bautista, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who was denied citizenship after serving six years in the U.S. Army. Turns out, she qualified for enlistment only by impersonating her aunt, a U.S. citizen who now lives in Mexico. She was hoping to take advantage of a decades-old law that allows (legal!) foreign nationals to earn citizenship by serving in the armed forces, particularly in wartime. And now that her ruse has been discovered, she may end up being forcibly returned to her home country.
Of course, the Times account was little more than an op-ed piece in the guise of hard news reporting. They reported Bautista’s crime, yet refused to recognize it as such. The headline itself is telling: “A misstep may mean deportation.”
Excuse me? A “misstep?” I don’t think so. A misstep is when you make a mathematical error in your checkbook. Or use the wrong fork for your halibut in a fancy restaurant. Or misspell a word in your term paper. Missteps are accidental and innocent, and don’t have far-reaching implications.
Miss Bautista’s crime – yes, let’s call it what it is – was no accident, and she shows no signs of remorse. It was premeditated and deliberate, and the falsehood continued for years. She knew that she was breaking the law, and told lie after lie to conceal her trickery. She tried to cut in line ahead of multitudes who earnestly work the system by following the rules. Yet the Times chose to spin the story as a David-and-Goliath analog, whereby she was betrayed by the big, bad government after serving her country so honorably.
Trouble is, this isn’t her country. It never was. She’s not entitled to be rewarded for her lies.
By all accounts, Bautista was a model soldier who earned many commendations. She served in highly dangerous war zones in Iraq, where she bound the wounds of her comrades while neglecting her own. Thank you for your service, Ekaterine; credit where credit is due. But no law, either military or civilian, has ever translated such good deeds into automatic grounds for citizenship.
This morning, the online blogs and chat rooms are abuzz with opinions about Bautista’s plight. Most are sympathetic, as I suppose could be expected. They speak of compassion, an end to racism (where did that come from?), and giving a girl a break.
As for me, I’m fed up with these continual not-so-subtle attempts to make me feel guilty for not giving away the store. My country routinely takes in poor, hungry, and persecuted people from all over the world, more than all the others put together. Likewise for foreign aid. Unlike our president, who loves to trot around the world apologizing for our corporate sins, I’m immensely proud to live in a country that does so much to serve the rest of the world. And I’m sick and tired of hearing the rants of those malcontents who tell me we don’t do enough.
Many of our political leaders, such as Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, refuse to use the term “illegal alien.” Instead, they prefer the innocuous designation of “undocumented.” Oh, is it really that simple? Could it be that the problem is only a matter of “documentation?” If that’s the case, then by all means let’s all get together tonight at Kinko’s, down the street. Their new machines can crank out 12 million passports and Social Security cards in no time.
Who’s with me?