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I watched the movie "Crossing Over" two nights ago. It stars Harrison Ford and others. Harrison Ford's character is an immigration police officer. They show him and his squad raiding sweat shops in LA and busting illegal immigrants all over Los Angeles.

I never knew how the immigration system worked here in the United States nor did I know anything about a six month visa, extending your visa, and what can happen to you if you are busted for illegally living in the United States of America.

I know since 9/11 laws have been changed, some for the worse, and some for the better. My girlfriend and I have been argueing about a part of the movie.

In the movie a fifteen year muslim girl gives a speech to her high school class defending the 9/11 suicide bombers. She basically says that the bombers and Bin Laden, needed to get their message heard and this the way they had to go about it. She pointed out that after our own planes crashed into our own buildings their voices, the suicide bombers and Bin Laden's, were heard.

I thought to myself, "Hmm, I still don't know what message Bin Laden was trying to get us to hear. I was too busy mourning for the lives lost, the devastation of being attacked on our own soil, and crying for the famililes that were left to mourn their loved ones."

Any message that I was supposed to hear, if I wasn't so busy being outraged and sad, would have fallen on deaf ears because who in their right mind could kill so many innocent people to make a point? Only a psycho, and I don't want to hear what a psycho says.

The girl in the movie went on in her speech to basically say Americans are ignorant. The principle reported her to the FBI who sent immigration officers to her house. Her room was searched and her computer was picked apart. They found several sites she visited pertaining to suicide bombers and other sites that were sympathetic to terrorists.

In the end, immigration deported her and her mother, both whom were residing in California illegally, and allowed her father and her two siblings who were citizens of the United States to stay. The siblings were born here.

As this fifteen year old girl was boarding the plane to be deported back to her country I was cheering the TV. My friend thinks this was terrible. I am all for allowing any person from any country into the United States of America if they are here legally and are not sympathetic to terrorists and their cause!

Was I wrong guys? Should she have been allowed to stay? Yes, this was a movie, but these things happen. Unfortunately, the Patriot Act has opened up peoples lives to be studied like an open book for our government. It has also unlawfully targeted people of middle eastern descent.  Obviously, that is not what we stand for here in the United States, discrimination, but shouldn't someone who is speaking in favor of terrorist be able to be examined under a microscope? Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

I believe it is both! I believe the system is flawed. But I also believe the system works. Any insight?

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Illegal Immigration Conundrum

You are brave to tackle this problem, Heather. We need to talk about it--not to foist our views on each other but to come up with ways to deal with this huge problem--and to allow our lawmakers to discuss and try to solve it. We do not want a nation that is a scofflaw nation. It does not make sense to have laws and not enforce them. And yet. And yet. Laws alone will not keep illegal migrants out. Nor will fences. The need in Mexico to come here is obviously great or people would not regularly risk their lives going across deserts, riding the tops of trains, and other methods used to get here. We have to take those circumstances into consideration. Human desperation needs to be respected, and we need good neighbors on our southern border. Teachers, churches, and good folk everywhere rightly feel compassion for the children once they are here. Employers who need these workers also should also be shown respect for their needs. And yet. And yet. It is not right that legal immigrants have followed the law, and the illegal ones haven't. (A child of a legal Mexican immigrant said this to me.)

Despite all the email forwards I get complaining that illegal immigrants receive social secuity benefits, etc., I do not know this can be. Does anyone understand this? Obviously, if California cannot afford social services for its own citizens, they cannot afford such services for non-citizens. The same is true here in Illinois.

Is there no way to change our laws to allow more Mexican immigrants into our nation legally? What are the quotas and why? How long does it take to be allowed to immigrate here legally? I think we need to quit making this an emotional issue and start thinking hard for creative solutions. I thought George Bush's plan sounded workable, but politians were afraid to vote for it. We are not going to get a perfect plan. But we certainly need to improve our present situation.

As for the fictional character in your movie, I don't know what to say to solve her problem. I don't think parents who come here illegally should be surprised if they get deported and their family gets separated. It is a terrible thing, but they made that bad choice for their family. And while the young illegal Muslim girl should have freedom of speech, she deserves to discover the important lesson that there are consequences to what we speak and what we write. She offended people with her cruel heartless rhetoric, and now she knows what happens to some illegal immigrants who do so. I am glad she did not have her hands cut off, and I hope she doesn't go back home and become a suicide bomber. Instead, I would rather she'd become a legal citizen who discovered the error of terrorism and who grew to love our nation and its people, but that did not seem likely. So a happy ending to this movie probably would not have been probable. Can we make more happy endings in real life, however? Can we at least talk about it and how to accomplish fairness, justice, compassion, and how to serve the self interest of our nation?