No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service

Say goodbye to Land of the Free

Growing up I can recall moments where I would often see a sign posted on a business establishment window with the words, “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.” Those words set a standard of particular behaviors expected by society. Fast forward and those signs have been removed, bypassed with the introduction of flip-flops, or completely ignored. There appears to be a standard that implied rules or laws are meant to be broken or perhaps apply to individuals we selectively want to create constructive prejudisms.

Decades ago establishments and Jim Crow laws applied to where an African-American could legally use a restroom, water fountain, eat, shop, and perhaps live. Eventually, those ridiculous laws were overturned, but someone migrated under the table towards the homosexual community as a silent gesture. However, if people look closely, there are continual hints that such laws used in a discriminatory fashion that continually apply restrictions but in discrete methods. Such methods begin when areas wish to gentrify neighborhoods, business districts, or rezoning regulation. Grandfather clauses became a thing of the past to be replaced with loitering, eminent domain, low-cost housing initiatives, immigration reforms, and group home regulations. These issues present an odor of Jim Crow legislation but masked and prepackaged to tailor a politically correct argument with a single vision and directive to make it nearly impossible for people to have an actual say regarding their wishes or wants.

Society claims to be free embracing the rule of law only if it applies to their standard which varies from person to person. In fact, legislation and regulation have been either pedestaled as too extreme or either too weak. There is no middle ground or an act of understanding anymore – at least from my daily observations. Instead of “no shirt, no shoes, no service” we have constructed conditions where people are no longer free to choose where they live. Such choices could be if a person has deemed a registered sex offender or an individual ordered by the courts for domestic violence has restrictions placed upon them. Again, these are hidden versions of Jim Crow styled laws not allowing free people to move freely. But when registrants, parolees, or rehabilitated drug users attempt to find work, housing, and to integrate into society once again, the Bill of Rights, Constitution, the rule of law, human rights, societal behaviors of redemption have been somehow tossed out the window. My argument is that law has become a new form of selective prejudices to create and manufacture how we can hope to keep others to their standard rather than an equitable and equal standard.

A fact is that society continually seeks not justice but an issue it wants to either rid of or kept hidden, invisible, and unnoticed by others for the sake of properly value and supposed safety. Americans do like to pick on the underdog quite often. However, a free nation that enjoys and employs a vast sex registry among a large jail and prison network it won’t even with the best prison reforms be able to hide the fact that supporters of such methods are no different than Jim Crow supporters. In fact, they are enabling the visions of Jim Crow standards no differently by citing freedoms to live, shop, work anywhere as long as it’s not in my neighborhood or community. Say goodbye to Land of the Free based on that assessment.

Out of Control Immigration

If you asked me a year ago about immigration reform, I would probably shrug my shoulders as if immigration issues don’t really affect me. Ask me today, and my answer will demonstrate an out of control point. A close friend of mine recently had a car accident where another motorist ran a red light t-boning his car. He was injured, and both cars were totaled. What makes this interesting is the person that was at fault was in the United States illegally driving someone else’s driver license with expired license plates under a fictitious company name and no insurance. Needless to say, it is a messy situation. The driver was arrested but released on bond and never showed up to court leaving the insurance company to sort it all out. The police officer that arrived at the court said he has dozens of similar cases mounting to frustrations, but his department is prohibited from making minor traffic infraction stops for fear of profiling.

 

I am mindful that this case could be a small portion of issues versus an entire migrant population that does obey the law. However, I am surrounded by illegal pop-up businesses in my neighborhood. It is so bad that county inspectors come to cite improper business operations without a license or permit only to have the inspector be greeted by someone that doesn’t speak English or a different person on each visit. The homeowner who doesn’t exist receives unanswered mail. The county inspector I recently spoke with said, “I have thousands of such infractions that have overwhelmed our department. All we can do is flag the property tax records to collect.” Many of the homes with illegal businesses have children born in the United States making them immediate citizens while the parents are the ones here more than likely illegally. It is a huge dilemma that places innocent children and parenting at risk begging the question of how to remedy the immigration problem?

 

Another issue in our neighborhood is Hispanic gang activity. To be honest, I was unaware of this activity until police began hinting at organized crimes where innocent people are gunned down to clear neighborhoods to make them Hispanic or Latino only. A recent violent parking lot robbery only blocks from my home have put my community on high alert. I fear that because there is a division between Hispanics, African Americans, and Caucasians. The tension is growing because of hit and run accidents, graffiti on homes or stop signs, break-ins, and violent crime. It seems that when an arrest is made and a deportation order is rendered that the person disappears into the system only to reappear later under another false pretense of an assumed name. Our town has seen too many repeat offenders that were deported only to return within the year. To me, this is nothing more than a form of organized crime.

 

Personally, I want everyone to have a chance at the American Dream. But I do have an expectation and prioritization that those that applied and provided due diligence in the official application process be granted priority. Those that bypassed the process should, in my opinion, go straight to an immigration jail. There are rules and procedures for a reason. I think it is time to revamp our naturalization laws with regards to birthing rights. Your parents must be American if you are born in the United States. If the laws are good enough for our allies, then it should be good enough for us. I am not trying to close the door on immigration. Instead, I suggest that we have a door that opens and closes. The current immigration door appears to be propped open with no guard at the door checking to make sure that those that meet our basic immigration standard are allowed into the United States.

America Killed the Passport

I remember traveling to Israel once. Getting there felt as if I were a would-be terrorist. The amount of security to get on a plane to visit the tiny nation can be nerve racking but at the same time a feeling of security and safety. Once in Israel, the rules were pretty simple and clear. Avoid walking as a large group, be prepared to have any bag or backpack searched, and dress appropriately. At that time Isreali customs agents would stamp your passport. That practice stopped so Americans would not be turned away in Saudi Arabia or other nations that won’t accepts Israeli passport stamps.

 

This reminds me a bit of the recent American ban of Muslim-majority countries. I am not very pleased with our current level of diplomacy. But it does raise a question on how the very nations that discriminate against Israeli stamps in my American passport on how they feel being handed a similar feeling or gesture. I would like to take a step further by saying when I visit China that I must pay over $140 for a visa that typically costs $30 for all other nations. Other countries levy some hefty visa fees in retaliation for visa-waiver programs or other fiscal issues.

 

The passport as we once knew it has become somewhat worthless because of various visa requirements or financial hoops. But equally the American Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) has become just as cumbersome and problematic. The latest rules now require where a person was born rather than where they are a citizen. Permanent Residency in the United States once thought as a promising program is being destroyed by politics and fear tactics. I am afraid that many programs extending to Americans overseas may be in jeopardy because of knee jerk reactions by our current administration. Additionally, I also fear that many nations may begin to refuse extradition treaties to circumvent extremities in our immigration laws.

 

The bottom line is that extreme conditions by any government more than likely will ensure the same treatment from the opposition or another government. Visa fees for Americans will more than likely skyrocket because other nations want to send a strong message to the United States even if it risks reductions in tourism. It somewhat feels as if Americans are no longer welcome around the world. We didn’t do it any favors by the latest events with immigration and visa restrictions.

Presidential Witch Hunt

President Trump has introduced some rather controversial executive orders lately. A recent order was the temporary banning citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States. Personally, I think this is a dangerous policy and idea. However, Trump did lay out the plan during his campaign. It is not as if these succession of presidential orders are a surprise. In all honesty, I think a majority of people are actually surprised at how quickly these campaign suggestions became instant policy.

 

An interesting observation is how quickly demonstrations, and well organized I might add, suddenly appeared across the nation. Additionally, many private universities have sent out letters and social media postings letting it be known that they intend to defy a presidential order. A quick civics lesson says that executive orders do not require Congressional approval to take effect, but they have the same legal weight as laws passed by Congress. While I applaud the effort of Universities advocating for immigration issues, I think they may want to take a step back and think if such a stance is right for them. Trump has already said that he will issue another executive order to halt funding for sanctuary city schools. In all honesty, I think he will do it sooner than expected. This could mean that universities will lose federal funding leaving many students and families apparently in the middle. It could become rather nasty, but all students could be caught in the middle instead of those the target of policy intends.

 

I could not help but think of the Salem witch hunts where women and children were singled out because of the way they looked or what they said. In some cases those accused in the Salem Witch Trials never committed a crime nor did anything wrong. It was a populist agenda filled with mass hysteria, isolationism, religious extremism and false accusations. Many innocent people died or were forced into some form of exile to escape possible prosecution. The similarities of regular Muslims living in our country or wishing to visit versus the Salem trails are scary. Hundreds of millions of innocent people have been banned from the United States because of merely their origin. It also appears that our own method of protected discrimination classes are soon to be shredded where sex, race, religion and origin are thrown out the window with no due process but only a swipe of a pen.

 

Our nation must come to grips that we have President Trump for the next four years. This is how this political game has been played out since the creation of our constitution. Sure, many are not happy with the results and naturally wish they had an alternative plan. Republicans that once distanced themselves from Trump will usually rally around its leader as if all his past rhetoric was never mentioned. There will be more controversial executive orders, and at this point, nothing will surprise me. But unfortunately, that is how I must take a seat and protest where applicable until the next election. Hopefully, then Americans will have a true does of reality versus reality television to make a solid choice about leadership for the United States. The scary part is that other nations may end up barring us from entry based on how they think our electoral process works.

The Wall Won’t Work

I am aware that the United States is a nation of immigrants. I have been trying to wrap my head around the immigration problem and why it is so politicized. The Pew Research Center says that there were 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. in 2014. President Trump has made claims that our illegal immigrant problem has cost the United States $113 billion annually. Some U.S. based research groups from both the left and right conclude that illegal immigration impacts nearly $2.5 billion in the fraudulent use of Medicaid and potentially $9 billion in unpaid hospital visits or uninsured medical claims. Of course, these are estimates, and each side of the political coin will have differing opinions and data interpretations.

 

An issue that I was unaware of is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) better known as food stamp programs. An illegal immigrant is ineligible for the SNAP program. However, if an illegal immigrant has an American-born child or children, then the child qualifies and any supporting parent or parents. This is where the law has much gray area. The child cannot be deported because he/she is an American born citizen. Social Services are reluctant, and rightfully so, to report illegal visitors because it would burden an already full child foster program. Next the American child, under federal law, immediately qualifies for Medicaid and the illegal parents can get an emergency waiver if they are in a capacity to support the child. Granted, all the bills are paid but at what cost. I think this is where the political right may have a compelling argument, based on that information, where illegal immigrants are impacting our economy.

 

The flip side to this discussion is that illegal immigrants do spend a lot of money in this country. Illegal immigrants, despite being taken advantage of financially, will work in jobs that many Americans won’t work or apply for. I can remember a time where construction sites were heavily dominated by American workers usually high school dropouts, perhaps a few nicks on the criminal record or those that enjoyed building in general. Fast forward today, and nearly every construction contract and employment site seem Latino. Why? Are American construction companies exclusively seeking Latinos or are Americans declining that type of work? The same story and observations can be at just about any business today. Has the landscape of America changed so rapidly that legal immigrants are being identified as illegal? There seems to be an argument that this is the case.

 

In all honesty, a wall on the American-Mexican border is not going to stop illegal immigration. What could change is how the United States current birthing policy may need a refresh. Another suggestion is to halt companies from paying under the table or skirting illegal hiring practices. We could learn valuable lessons from our allies overseas that deal with illegal immigration and businesses that hire them. The penalties are harsh and send a powerful message to play by the rules and pay their fair share.

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