Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Roanoke Times Supports Law Violations...Violators Must Not Be Punished

Yes, my headline above is misleading, but only slightly so. Not nearly so misleading as the one chosen by the Roanoke Times for todays leading editorial.

When immigrants aren't welcome

The sub-head reads;
If Virginia is serious about mitigating the impact of undocumented immigrants, then it first must understand exactly which issues to address.
If The Roanoke Times is serious about educating their readers, then it first must understand exactly what words mean. The only time this editorial uses the word illegal, it is encased in quotes. As though the word illegal is being used by others to mean something that is actually legal. Come on now, Tommy, "undocumented" is illegal. Don't be so afraid to use the word that more clearly describes to your readers what the subject being discussed is.

Nowhere in your editorial do you make the case that immigrants (legal) are not welcomed into Virginia. Instead you attempt to make the case that certain laws can and should be violated. You also suggest it is morally reprehensible to suggest that those violators should be "punished". The correct word to describe the actions you are deploring would be "sanctioned".
Sanction, in law and ethics, any inducement to individuals or groups to follow or refrain from following a particular course of conduct. All societies impose sanctions on their members in order to encourage approved behavior. These sanctions range from formal legal statutes to informal and customary actions taken by the general membership in response to social behavior. A sanction may be either positive, i.e., the promise of reward for desired conduct, or negative, i.e., the threat of penalty for disapproved conduct, but the term is most commonly used in the negative sense.
In what cases should we less enlightened Virginians look to the wisdom emanating from Campbell Avenue to tell us which laws are serious and should be enforced and which are merely frivolous and should be simply overlooked?

If I had no driver's license and drove from Collinsville into Roanoke, I would be an "undocumented" driver. That could be a major advantage to the citizens of Roanoke. I could drive your bus or taxi at a greatly reduced wage because my employer would have that "undocumented" sword to hold over me. Would that then make it OK? Why then, do you make that claim about other forms of undocumented workers?
...Yes, benefits are derived when undocumented workers fill menial jobs for employers who can't find legal workers in a state with as low an unemployment rate as Virginia enjoys. And yes, future benefits can be projected if Virginia successfully educates immigrants.
That quote brings up another subject, to be left for a different post, but you should be rather careful discussing Virginia's overall healthy unemployment rate where folks from Henry, Pittsylvania, Smyth, Bland, and other Counties can hear you....

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