Byline: Clive McFarlane
COLUMN: CLIVE MCFARLANE
We have become a nation of bargain hunters and the most nefarious among us are trying to make ends meet by killing children.
Oh, these bargain hunters don't deal the death blow themselves, but they stir the hostility and fashion the weapons deployed in this deadly pursuit, the pursuit of illegals, they call it.
So down in Alabama, there is a new law requiring public school teachers and administrators, prior to teaching the three R's, to first determine the legal status of the children who come before them, children who are guaranteed an education under the Constitution, but who will now be dropping out of school and out of sight, least they become unwilling traitors to their parents.
Rosemary Salomone, a professor of law at St. John's University School of Law, in response to a New York Times blog topic on whether schools should help catch illegal immigrants, wrote that the decision by a federal district court to uphold the Alabama law, which, among other things, requires school officials to determine by birth certificate or sworn affidavit the legal status of incoming students "not only defies notions of decency but clearly violates federal law."
She noted that in 1982, the Supreme Court in Plyler v. Doe struck down a Texas statute that denied public education to undocumented students on the grounds that it violated the 14th Amendment equal protection clause.
"The court was especially mindful that these were `innocent children' not responsible for their `disabling status,' who would suffer a `lifetime hardship.'
"It also threatened to create a `subclass of illiterates' who could not contribute effectively to society."
But the bargain hunters are unfazed, even as the exodus of children and their families from the state, as a result of this law, gets well under way.
Officials in the state report that as of Sept. 30, about 5 percent of the state's Hispanic schoolchildren, around 1,988 students, were absent.
"Why should we care about illegals?" the bargain-hunter chorus asks in defense of its penny-wise, pound-foolish hardness.
"We cannot afford them."
And there are fewer places to which these children and their parents can run, because their pursuers are nationwide and the threats against them are varied.
Here in Worcester County, for example, we have the local sheriff, the grand patriarch of the most patronage-laden of places, the county jail, hiring out his guns as part of this pursuit...