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Catch Me If U Can

by Lynn Woolley

The campus group “Young Conservatives” has a unique talent for utilizing political incorrectness to point out illogical political correctness in many of our government’s policies. Case in point - a demonstration at the University of North Texas wherein students were paid with candy to “arrest” other students posing as illegal aliens.

According to the group’s president, Chris Brown, “Capture an Illegal Immigrant Day” (January 26, 2005) was a way to call for tougher enforcement of federal immigration laws. The Young Conservatives’ stance is that illegal immigration harms the economy and threatens national security.

The goal of the YC’s is to point out the obvious – thereby creating some friction on campus and drawing media attention. You may recall that in 2003, the chapter at SMU conducted an “affirmative action bake sale” in which white males were charged $1 for a cookie, but blacks were charged only a quarter. Campus leftists opposed the simulated bake sale, while supporting the same type of practices in real life. The YC’s had made their point.

In this demonstration, the YC’s had some students pose as illegals with T-shirts bearing the phrase “Catch me if U can.” This was an interesting slogan because, in fact, we could catch more of the illegals. But do we really want to?

Illegal immigration has been a “wink wink” situation for years with high government officials looking the other way. Indeed, some people seem to have the attitude that illegal immigrants are not people anyway, so let’s take advantage of the cheap labor. The old Woody Guthrie folk song “Deportee” tells the story of a plane wreck at Los Gatos in which many illegal immigrants perished – while news reports said they were “just deportees.”

But these deportees had been in the United States doing work that Americans didn’t want to do and didn’t want to pay livable wages for. And therein lies the three-way conundrum that President Bush faces.

One constituency – those industries that utilize cheap, illegal labor – doesn’t want so see that labor supply dry up.

An emerging constituency – legal immigrants and native-born Americans of Hispanic heritage – is often offended at the idea of deportation. And President Bush and other politicians are anxious to please that new voting bloc.

The third constituency, represented by the Young Conservatives, is that group that believes illegal is illegal and that our borders should be controlled. This group believes that immigration without assimilation adversely changes the culture, and that loose borders enhance the probability of terrorists entering the country.

For his part, President Bush would clearly like to have it both ways. On the one hand, he has asked Congress for $23 million – five times the current level – for work site investigations to crack down on undocumented labor. But on the other hand, he and his point man, Sen. John Cornyn, are working on legislation that would legitimize millions of illegal workers in the United States.

So what is the answer? As Mr. Guthrie’s song asked, “Is this the best way to pick our good fruit?”

Well, no, it’s not. But more logic could be applied to all sides.

Conservatives should be quick to admit that, even though they are illegal, those workers are human beings who want the best for their families back in Mexico and they are seeking a better life here in the United States. American citizens of Mexican descent should stop taking it personally when conservatives call for control of the border and for deportation of illegals. And liberals should take the PC blinders off long enough to realize that vast changes in the culture brought on by decades of non-assimilation can have a detrimental effect on our country.

We need a logical approach, and that involves at least four elements.

First of all, we are going to have control our borders – both north and south – because the threat of terrorism in this country is real. Second, we need a policy that allows a reasonable number of immigrants into this country provided they are willing to learn the English language and further assimilate. Third, if rule of law is to mean anything, we’re going to have to take a tough stand and return illegals to Mexico, allowing them to return if they are willing to go through legal channels.

The fourth point may be the toughest.

People don’t cross the Rio Grande ONLY because things are so good in the United States; they also cross because things are so bad in Mexico. President Bush and the Congress should put tremendous pressure on Mexican President Vicente Fox to end political corruption, promote education and property rights, and generally improve the lot of the Mexican people. A first-world Mexico might mean that Americans have to pay a little more for their fruit and their construction projects, but the value in human terms would be immense.

(c) 2005 Lynn Woolley. All rights reserved.

About The Author

During a morning drive radio in Central Texas, Lynn Woolley is the "Secretary of Logic," taking the vital issues of the day, stripping them of their emotion and analyzing them with logic aforethought. Later in the day, he turns from talk show host to political writer, commenting on current events for such venues as the Dallas Morning News, the Waco Tribune-Herald, and the website Lynn's broadcast career has included stints as a radio news anchor in Dallas and Austin, a political reporter, and a play-by-play announcer. He is the author of two prior books, both on the subject of broadcasting. He is a past winner of the Dallas Press Club "Katie" award, and has won several Associated Press awards for political commentary. Lynn has been a local TV host of the Children's Miracle Network Telethon in the Waco-Temple market since 1986. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin. His columns are archived at

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.