MONDAY MORNING MEMORANDUM
By Assemblyman Ray Haynes
May 8, 2006
It’s All About The Documents
Everything we do in life is about the documents. We are born, we live, and we die with documents attached to us. So whenever you here someone claim that something is not wrong, it is just “undocumented,” keep that in mind.
For instance, in California, if you practice law without the appropriate documentation twice, you are guilty of a felony. Would it be a defense to that felony charge that you are not a felon, but rather just an undocumented lawyer?
How about the unauthorized practice of medicine? If someone dies, and you don’t have the right medical documents, you are guilty of murder. It is not just the “undocumented” provision of medical services.
Unlicensed contractors? Just undocumented carpenters, bricklayers, engineers, plumbers, and electricians.
We even have documents that establish our ownership of our property. Car thieves are car thieves, not undocumented motor vehicle operators. Trespassers are trespassers, not undocumented easement holders. If you take property from a store without a receipt, you are a thief, not an undocumented possessor of property
Businesses require the right licenses from government. Indeed, if someone starts up a bank and does not get a license from the state and federal government will find that they will go to jail for being an “undocumented” money lender or “undocumented” savings institution. It is not a defense to their crime to say that they don’t “have the right documents.”
One of my favorites came from one of my legislative colleagues this last week, when informed that the Democrats wanted to take last Monday off to participate in the immigration protests. He said he had found former legislators who were qualified to do the job of the California Legislature, were willing to do the work of the current Legislature at half the cost to the taxpayer, and would show up to do the job. Their only problem? They were undocumented, they had not received the right documents from the Secretary of State to vote in the Legislature.
The absurdity of the claims of those who wish to justify the lawlessness of those who break our immigration laws by calling those illegal aliens “undocumented immigrants” is evident. Everything we do in life is about the documents. We get a birth certificate that establishes our citizenship, and a death certificate that establish inheritance rights. Deeds say who owns real estate, and contracts establish legal obligations. If we don’t have registration for our car, we can go to jail as a thief, or, at the very least get a ticket. In fact, we don’t even have laws unless some legislator gets a document passed through the Legislature and signed by the Governor. All of life requires the right “documents.”
The protests of this last week can be encapsulated this way: thousands of criminals wanted the government to ignore their crime. That reality is not changed by saying that they “are human and we need to recognize their humanity.” Of course we recognize their humanity; they just need to follow the law. We will not justify their lawlessness any more that we would justify the lawlessness of a trespasser or thief on the grounds that they “needed” the property they took. Marching in the street, protesting the enforcement of a law does not justify breaking that law. A legal system that rewards lawbreakers is destined to collapse into anarchy. Indeed, those who protested this last week were asking for anarchy; an open border and unlimited immigration. That is dangerous for our country (as 9/11 pointed out), and extremely shortsighted.
Our immigration laws may be complicated, but that does not justify ignoring them. We should enforce those laws, and, if the enforcement proves that the laws are unworkable, then you look at changing the law. But until that happens, the laws should stand, and they should be enforced.