A 'Fuller' picture of immigration

2013-03-14T05:00:00Z A 'Fuller' picture of immigration Casper Star-Tribune Online
March 14, 2013 5:00 am

It's so easy to grouse about immigration in a state like Wyoming. 

We're not a border state. We don't rely as heavily on manual labor as some states. With little on the line, it's pretty easy to stake out a partisan position on either side and be comfortable.

Then along comes Ashley Fuller -- an affable, erstwhile Australian who came to America more than a quarter century ago. Tomorrow, because of a low-grade marijuana charge not even in the United States and technically not even on his record, he will be deported.

That's what he got for telling the judge a truth back in 1988, when asked if he'd ever been convicted of anything. A marijuana charge as a minor. The record had been expunged -- the fancy way of saying erased from his permanent record.

If ever there was a case of no good deed going unpunished, this is it.

And yet, Fuller's case is challenging for more than just its oddity. That is, Fuller's plight is a sympathetic one not only because he is a rarity in a state not often challenged with the issue of immigration. Instead, his case challenges us because he's been a part of the local culture for years. Many of us know him, consider him a neighbor and a friend. More importantly, he doesn't have a foreign sounding name. He speaks English. And, his work here in the construction industry is something that might be valued more than say -- a minimum wage man picking lettuce or milking cows.

That's also the danger in Fuller's case.

It's so tempting to look at Fuller's case and easily conclude that he's an obvious exception to whatever immigration rule officials can find to send him back "down under." 

Yet immigration -- as an issue -- cannot and should not be a case-by-case basis. Just because we think Fuller and his contributions to our part of the country have made him more than worthy of citizenship shouldn't be the subjective measure by which naturalization is granted.

Instead, Fuller's case is illustrative of the problem with the immigration debate. We can sit here and discuss one specific case or another, but it doesn't help in developing a set of logical solutions to immigration.

We have to have a more coherent, cohesive and clear immigration policy. It's almost impossible to justify how Fuller has been allowed to stay for so long only to be deported now. It just doesn't make sense. 

It's easy to say we value highly skilled immigrants, all others need not apply. But the economic realities are that as long as employers turn to illegal immigrants for cheap labor -- no matter what sector -- the problem won't be solved when there's so much to be gained by illegally crossing the bordered and nothing to be gained by staying behind. Immigration is as much of an economic issue as it is a social one. We have to get at the root issues which have nothing to do with the languages or color of skin. 

We're also concerned that cracking down on immigration -- taking the hard line -- might not take into consideration the broader picture. First-generation immigrants may not be classified as high-skilled laborers, but what about the next generations who are often pushed by their parents for a better life, which includes college? How many families can trace their successes back to the humble hard work of immigrant ancestors?

Fuller's case is an important one: It demonstrates that something needs to be done. But like so many other issues facing Congress, just passing more laws and restrictions may not solve the problem. Instead, we may just be punishing exactly those whom we need the most.

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(2) Comments

  1. DaveJFrancis
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    DaveJFrancis - March 14, 2013 3:09 pm
    We must be losing our minds, if we cannot see through the lies about the cost of a federal ID card. Expensive as it might be, it will be able to eliminate numerous problems we have to deal with today? The biometric document should be issued to every citizen and legal resident, not just workers? Blame for withholding of issuing a National ID card falls without any form of contradiction on both political parties. Democrats and their Liberal subsidiaries, the Republicans have not only been absent from protecting Americans from the illegal alien invasion, but the pandering to majority ethnic groups, including the outrageous cost of supporting them. I trust the Heritage Foundation for reporting after analysis that this next amnesty, if enacted will cost taxpayers $2.6 Trillion dollars to legitimately process and settle them. This dollar figure should not be confused with the $113 million dollars spent annually, which is rising as President Obama’ is spreading illegal cheer in the way of food stamps for all. The unsuspecting American taxpayers as with the signer, the late Ronald Reagan never realized of the undermining of funding and enforcement for the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA). Republican campaign contributors for corporate welfare had their say and enforcement mainly became a useless word in the Federal Register. However that didn’t mean the GOP was entirely to blame, as assuredly so the Democrats assisted in the skillful fraud. Not even processing of the 3.6 million Guest Workers in the agriculture industry or others, who then flew the coop once they gained citizenship to the cities. The whole 1986 can be classed as really inoperable and it caused millions more were encouraged by the (IRCA) act, suddenly rushing to the poorly equipped borders, or overstaying there visitor, tourist or educational visas forever.

    The tangible miasma of an amnesty or Comprehensive Immigration Reform floating around is the Border Patrol is already seeing an upsurge in numbers crossing the border. It was obvious this was going to happen, as illegal aliens are testing the chance of slipping past the border or arriving here as an inconspicuous visitor, who cannot be tracked once here. If the illegal population is truly 11 million, which the most prudent American doubt, that number will shortly fly through the roof as the U.S. government will not be able to contain the charge? Currently—what do we have as worthwhile identification—a Social Security number, a driver’s license or state issued ID card. Hundreds of data bases of legal immigrants are not centralized. Because of this vital situation we have this unfortunate dilemma today, with a growing ration of stolen personal information. Illegal aliens using this form of identification, plus the SSN of deceased persons and even the number of infants and children, no to forget our troops overseas ID. I think for a matter of security and an individual’s personal information, we need a biometric card, which will not only identify the recipient as an authorized job seeker, but for many other entitlements.

    It will give the birthright or naturalized citizen the right to vote in all elections, stopping with a swipe of the card non-citizens from voting, as I sincerely believed happened in the presidential election. A biometric card with a scan of the holders thumbs print or a retinal impression or both, plus a picture will be very difficult to counterfeit. Election bickering would become a thing of the past, less expense in recounts and court cases over absentee ballots or electronic registration machines being compromised. In just this one sector of authentication hundreds of millions of dollars could remain in state coffers. Other possibilities of a onetime biometric card would be proof of who you are, for registering a car, applying for welfare or other entitlements and stop those criminals who are violating many different laws. Today we have an Internet industry that is selling other peoples personal ID, social security number and causing major anxiety to the individual who must jump through loops to gain their credit back, their integrity. This kind of theft is predicament that I have been confronted with. Ask around—how many people do you know whose personal data has been procured in some way? The financial impact to me was around $4000.00, is not the greatest amount, seeing that some members of the public have had their house equity stolen?
  2. Wyomingsportsman
    Report Abuse
    Wyomingsportsman - March 14, 2013 12:27 pm
    Maybe its because he is not considered a undocumented democrat.
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