Getting Carded on Branch Ave
While David Richardson, owner of Rhode Island Refrigeration on Branch Avenue in Providence, went over the line in asking to see the social security card of someone in his shop speaking a language other than English, his action on this and prior occasions is understandable. It stems from frustration with a government which has carried out one of its basic responsibilities – defense of its sovereignty and enforcement, on every level, of its borders – sporadically at best.
On the federal level, our government:
> allowed employer enforcement to drop to ineffectual levels,
Figure 3. Employer Sanctions Cases Resulting in Fines for FY 1988 to 2003
thereby not discouraging the employment of undocumented immigrants and, correspondingly, providing a major incentive for them to risk life and limb to come to the United States;
> repeatedly passed legislation which promised to pair amnesty with immigration law enforcement but in each case, assiduously carried out only the former;
> in 2007, tried to pass such legislation yet again [for those who would rather listen than read: YouTube video of Glenn Beck outlining the many problems with this bill] and was only stopped by the determined efforts of many, many constituents who firmly said, “Won’t get fooled again”;
> has waffled over the funding and design of a border fence;
and on the state level:
> has demonstrated, contrary to federal law, a studied indifference to the immigrant status of anyone seeking social services, exacerbating a serious budget problem and, more importantly, failing to remove another incentive to illegally migrate to the state and country;
> has until recently seemed too willing to place the best interest of the state a distant second to both misguided compassion and a delusional effort to curry favor with a hypothetical, future constituency.
Advocates, predictably, are shouting “racism” at this incident and at anyone who dares to insist that our employment and immigration laws be enforced. They could not be more wrong. Mr. Richardson asked only about the legal status of the gentleman. For Mr. Richardson and for all of us, the question revolves, prima facie, not around race, but around legality, adherence to a process for immigration and, equally important, respect for immigrants who upheld those principles in coming to the United States.