In his "My Spin" column yesterday, TV host Tom Campbell of the NC SPIN television show spoke accurate and courageous words about the recent developments in our state on the immigration front. They ought to be reprinted everywhere:
The Immigration Witch-hunt Must End
by Tom Campbell
July 31, 2008
The emotional fervor over illegal immigration is reaching the status of the famous Salem witch hunts and the irony is that our law enforcement officials appear willing to circumvent basic human rights to justify the discovery and exporting of illegal immigrants. Two recent instances, both in Alamance County, illustrate the point.
O.K. We get it. We've got a serious problem with people who are undocumented coming into this country. Our federal government has known this problem existed for years and has done little to fix it, primarily because these immigrants are coming here to work in jobs that many of our citizens don't want, or don't want to work at the wages being paid. There are now more than 350,000 of these people here illegally in North Carolina. As long as they have jobs, they aren't going back and we aren't going to send them back. The business community wouldn't tolerate it even if we could logistically and financially accomplish such a mass deportation.
We can understand the rationale in deporting undocumented immigrants who commit crimes and are a threat to society. But that is far from what is happening in Alamance. In the latest incident, a librarian, here since childhood, was taken from her job, arrested, taken to court in shackles and is standing trial. Authorities obtained public health records, confidential information, to learn that the woman was using the social security number of a dead person. Because of this revelation her sister, who worked in a local law firm, was also arrested, as were their parents. The librarian is facing jail time. All will likely be deported.
There is also the story of an illegal immigrant stopped at 2 a.m. in the morning, driving without a driver's license in a car with illegal plates. Whisked away to jail, her three children, ranging in age from fourteen to six, were left alone beside the road for eight hours. Yes she was breaking the law. But do these infractions warrant the risk of danger to innocent children?
We afford thugs in drive-by shootings more rights than we are affording these here illegally.
This is reminiscent of Nazi Germany and Hitler's reign of terror, only this is Alamance County, North Carolina. It is impossible to believe that we started a revolution on the premise that every person has rights, yet we are eager to deny any rights to people who don't have a piece of paper saying they are here legally. Every single one of us, with the possible exception of Native American Indians, is an immigrant or descendant of one. I thank God my Scottish ancestors who came in search of a better life didn't face such hatred.
This has gone too far. It is time that people of all political parties, religious affiliations and racial persuasions cried out for these witch-hunts to end. We should demand that the members of our Congress immediately formulate and pass an immigration policy that is sensible and realistic. It is time for all people to tone down the emotional rhetoric and raise the principles of fairness and respect for human rights, resolving these problems without being hateful and uncaring. We are better people than we are currently demonstrating. Let's take a stand, but one that is humanitarian and just for all.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.