The Common Good
July 2006

Finally, an Immigration Solution

by Ed Spivey Jr. | July 2006

Anyone in this country illegally should leave. But first...

Congress and the White House have yet to settle the contentious immigration debate that has consumed our nation in the fires of divisiveness, threatened the bulwark of our democracy, and turned brother against brother and father against sons.

Or maybe I’m thinking of the Civil War. Whatever.

Be that as it may, there’s a clear reason it has taken so long for our political leaders to find a solution to this vexing issue: They didn’t ask me.

I’ve had the answer for months now, and were it not for the distraction of the woefully unfair voting on American Idol—can you believe Katharine McPhee didn’t win?! It’s an OUTRAGE!—I could have stepped in and settled this once and for all.

Actually, it’s quite simple: I believe that all immigrants who have entered this country illegally should be sent home. No exceptions.

Just as soon as they finish all the projects we have for them.

THIS MEANS, SIMPLY, that at the precise moment that our office buildings, hotels, and motels are cleaned for the final time, the immigrants who push those funny-looking carts around should immediately return to their home countries. Hasta la vista. (You just know they were taking toilet paper rolls that didn’t belong to them.)

Just as soon as all our potholes are finally fixed and won’t appear again (I can’t WAIT!), the illegals that work on our streets in the boiling heat of summer and in the harsh winds of winter—I know they do this because I’ve often watched from my office window—they should just up and leave. Sayonara.

And just as soon as our bridges, schools, and the rest of our infrastructure are built and repaired, and this nation is finally bright and shiny and new, then we don’t need those workers any more. At that moment, they will have officially overstayed their welcome. (“Welcome” being loosely translated as “stalked, threatened, hunted down, and generally treated as sub-human.” That kind of welcome.)

In the meantime, we’ll just have to put up with all of the problems associated with illegal immigrants, such as inexpensive labor, an uncompromising work ethic, and the billions of dollars* in productivity they contribute annually.

We’ll have to put up with the fact that they are keeping our food prices low, our lawns cared for, and our homes painted and repaired for a reasonable price. Not to mention that most of them are doing a heckuva job which, in the nation’s capital, can get you, like, the Medal of Freedom.

And it won’t be easy for our society to cope with the children of immigrants, as they grow up in households where hard work and sacrifice are the norm and paychecks are often sent to needy relatives. That kind of role model could cause an unexpected cultural shift that would undermine traditional American values, which guide our children through their formative years of text-messaging, shopping, and developing critical brand loyalties. After all, our kids know where their self-worth comes from, and it’s not from some cheap iPod. Nope. It’s from the more expensive iPod, the one that holds up to 5,000 songs!

In raising my own children—mainly during commercials—I would try to instill the important values that form the backbone of a productive society. But then the show would come back on and I’d have to stop. So I guess they picked up that values stuff somewhere else. Maybe at the mall.

I’M WELL AWARE that my solution to the immigration crisis is a controversial one, and it has not come without risk to my personal reputation. Recently, in fact, a group of retired generals has publicly called for my resignation. (Or am I thinking of somebody else?) But I am undeterred. In fact, in an effort to draw the attention of government authorities to my innovative ideas, I recently enriched uranium in my office.

Admittedly, it’s a small amount, nothing like what’s giving Iran the kind of bragging rights that any high school chemistry major would envy. But it’s enough to be taken seriously by international monitoring groups and ... excuse me ... “CAREFULWITH THAT! Easy. Easy. Now put it back in the mini-fridge where you found it.” (Nosey colleagues.)

Actually, it’s been hard to keep track of the stuff, because somebody comes in my office every night and cleans up the place. I wonder who does that? Elves, maybe.

Ed Spivey Jr. is art director of Sojourners.

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