Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

Off The Grid

on 6 January 2010

I know that this post is bit out of the norm for me, but may I rant for just a little moment? The other night I was listening to NPR (a mistake, perhaps, but I’m not perfect). I’m not sure what program I was listening to- I didn’t leave it on long enough to find out.

The program was a young man and his family talking about how difficult their lives were. All well and good; I’m sympathetic to a sad story. The young man was telling about how he couldn’t get into the prestigious college he wanted to attend, and how he couldn’t get financial aid for the few schools he was able to get into. His mother discussed the difficulty she had in her job- finding her place, getting promotions, etc. What horrible twist of fate could be preventing these poor people from realizing their American dream?

Well, they are undocumented.

Wait a moment. Let that sink in.

….

….

Undocumented.

They are not supposed to be in this country. There is no paper trail. They are not American citizens. They are not citizens of this country. For years they have avoided our government’s notice.

Now, they are on national radio talking about how difficult their life is because of their undocumentation.

Really.

Hmmm.

Why are we fighting for the rights of people who never declared their citizenship? More importantly, what right do these people have to complain that our universities ask for green cards, or that our government won’t allow them to receive free money without proof of residency or citizenship? Why are we expected to change the rules to make their lives easier, their jobs more pleasurable?

Would any other government stand for this behaviour? If I surreptitiously sneak into England, would they allow me into any college and then give me money to attend? I’m thinking not.

Why, then, is anyone promoting the idea that no matter who waltzes into the country we will hand them an education and pay for it as well.

Or maybe, why not? We are trying to give them free health care, benefits, basically anything they could ever wish for- whether we know they are here or not. Who pays for this? The people who are residents of this country; the people who by family lineage, birth right, or naturalization have earned the right to live in America. Those people who work hard in order to pay taxes left, right, and center for education, benefits, cars, and houses.

I’m not normally a “rah-rah, go America” type of person, and this post really isn’t about American citizenship per se. It’s about the nature of citizenship itself. We need clear definitions of where we belong geographically to keep order in this world. I’m sure that there is a wonderful reason for citizenship to even exist- for some reason (or maybe many reasons), it wouldn’t be good for people not to belong to a country. However, the media attention undocumented people are receiving lately makes me wonder if life would be easier if we all just went off the grid.

Oh yes, that’s right.

It’s a bad idea.

It would limit my choice of colleges.

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