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Am I crazy?

March 24, 2008

I was just reading a CRS report,”Immigration Legislation and Issues in the 110th Congress,” (as wretchedly boring as it sounds) when I came across this sentence:

“Striking a balance among the facilitation of legitimate travel and trade, the integrity of immigration documents, the security of personal identification documents, the protection of personal privacy and civil liberties, and the deterrence of foreign security threats remains a challenge for Congress.”

In English, that means that Congress is still trying to find a way to let

a) businesses trade
b) Americans travel
c) immigrants enter legally, but
d) still keep “terrorists” out.

They’re trying to convince every American to have a “biometric” identification card — with all sorts of personal information recorded– promising that the proper safeguards are in place to prevent abuse — by criminals and by the government. Not forgetting, of course, that there’s 800 miles of Southern border, 5,522 miles of Northern border (the longest common border in the world and still, surprisingly unmilitarized) and then a couple hundred U.S. ports and airports to regulate.

And thinking about all this, I actually felt bad for the mysterious body commonly known as “Congress.” Besides those handful of folks who seemingly take joy in bashing immigrants and turning this challenge into even more of a political nightmare, the majority have been trying to figure out a — yes, comprehensive — solution. It’s no easy problem to solve!

I know it’s not fashionable to feel sorry for Congress, to make excuses for their general incompetence or to suggest that the schedules set for them are terribly inhuman. But I’ll admit that for just the briefest of moments– as I trudged through the CRS report– I felt a pang of compassion for our sorry members of Congress as they go forth, trying to figure this mess out.

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