NOTES FROM THE HENGE
A baby just recently born
Was promptly the subject of scorn
He’d no skills and no job
And just sat like a blob
And his English? You’d think he was foreign!
Below is, I’m embarrassed to admit, kind of a “rerun” post. It’s actually an essay I wrote a few years back for Asinine Poetry, my friend’s awesome site. (Check it out!) I reprint it here partly because I still stand by these words 100%… and partly because there’s something on TV I want to watch.
|Give me your swaddled masses|
THE SCOURGE OF UNLAWFUL INFANTS
Okay. Those concerned about illegal aliens often cite the huge strain put on our social infrastructure by undocumented immigrants. They talk of schools, hospitals, welfare, etc. But they ignore the gargantuan elephant squatting dead-center in their parlor. The biggest strain put on the system is caused by our very own people making babies.
Here’s my point: Why should the offspring of Americans automatically be U.S. citizens? Why is that a basic ”given?” I don’t get it. What have these children done to earn this right? Some newborn Kyrgyzstanian, Belizean, or Upper-Voltan kid has done no less nor more to deserve being (or not being) an American.
Look, we’re supposed to be a meritocracy here, yes? Why should one get to be a citizen just because one’s parents were? If you really think about it, the concept is downright un-American. In fact, it smacks of the same kind of unjust birthright notion inherent to a monarchy,for goodness sake. And, lest we forget, our nation was created by wriggling free of just that kind of institutionalized nepotism.
You wanna talk merit? Some Mexican hiding in a sweltering Toyota Corolla’s wheel-well has arguable proven his grit — and his genuine desire to be part of our country — way more than some proto-RugRat who arbitrarily popped out of an American womb on NY’s Upper West Side. Truth is, being born of an American pudenda is a matter of sheer luck — no skill, talent, or basic worthiness is involved.
So here’s the deal. I say we ship every single newborn out of the USA immediately upon delivery. I know it sounds crazy, but please hear me out. Let’s use all the cash we regularly spend on education, childcare and, uh, playground-repair or whatnot, to immediately banish these infants to the far corners. Every newborn is henceforth instantly classified an illegal alien and deported to Siberia, Maruitania, or some-such-foreign-land. France, even. (We’ll pay off assorted random countries to take ’em.) And don’t worry, parents can travel off with their child if they so desire — but on their own dime. (I suspect many folks will choose this option.) We might even make a tidy profit if we play that part right.
Anyway, years later when the kid hits eighteen, he/she will have a right to go through the usual process of applying to become American, just like everyone else. Background/loyalty checks, U.S. history tests, health screenings, temporary provisional work visas — whatever hoops we typically make potential immigrants jump through.
And I suppose we could occasionally make exceptions about the age requirement. Sure. If a kid is a genuine prodigy — great at math or baking or karaoke — we might consider letting them apply sooner.
But the bottom line is we make everyone go through the same basic process, whether they were lucky enough to be the product of an all-American, red-white-and-blue egg/sperm combo, or happen to be from some Norwegian, Peruvian, or Ugandan set of, ahem, primary ingredients.
What could be fairer? Seriously. This way, within a few generations, we’ll be absolutely certain each U.S. citizen trulydeserves to be part of this great land of ours.
And, hey, here’s an awesome bonus to my plan: Very soon there’ll be nobody younger than eighteen living in our country! Things will be a lot quieter, and a lot less smelly (especially on airplanes). There’ll be no Barney the Dinosaur. No gummy worms. No Chuck-E-Cheese.
And we won’t have to watch our language in public.
Or wear pants.
Please write your congressmen.