A Nation That Should Know Better
- A Nation That Should Know Better
By Roger Mahony
It appears fashionable these days, and almost politically correct, to blame
hard-working immigrants, especially those from Mexico and Central America,
for the social and economic ills of our state and nation. Anti-immigrant
fervor on TV and radio talk shows, citizens attempting to enforce
immigration laws and the enactment of restrictive laws, such as the Real ID
Act, are evidence of this trend. Some of our elected officials are joining
the parade, going so far as to call for the closing of our southern border.
This growing hysteria is nothing new: Similar scapegoating has occurred at
other troubled times in our nation's history, most prominently against Asian
and European immigrants during the late 19th century and during the two
world wars of the 20th century. By and large the United States has been able
to resist the temptation to close its doors to the world, but not without
unjust victimization of "foreigners."
Now we find ourselves in another period of national self-doubt. The war on
terrorism has made national security a legitimate concern, and a rising
deficit, changes brought on by globalization and even the price of oil have
thrown the nation's economic health into question. But as Congress prepares
to engage in a debate on immigration reform, we must again resist punishing
immigrants for problems that are not of their creation.
Despite the assertions of some, immigrants � including those who are here
illegally � are a benefit to this country. They work hard at difficult jobs
in important industries. Most analysts would agree that if all the
undocumented immigrants in California were deported in one day, our state
would experience a severe economic downturn. This does not even consider the
many cultural and spiritual gifts these immigrants bring to our state and
To be clear, the church recognizes the right of our country to control its
borders, and it does not condone undocumented migration, which serves
neither the interest of the migrant nor the respective countries.
Immigration should be enforced in a proportional and humane manner.
But the church also does not condone a broken immigration system in the
U.S., one that too easily can lead to the exploitation, abuse and even death
of immigrants. In this land of opportunity, it is unacceptable that
immigrant workers labor in unsafe conditions for wages insufficient to
support their families. It is unacceptable that immigrants, including
children, are shackled and detained in deplorable conditions. And it is
unacceptable that already this year immigrants have died by the dozens in
the California desert or in other parts of the Southwest.
Rather than accept an immoral status quo, our elected officials in Congress
should reform, in a comprehensive manner, our legal immigration system. Such
reforms should include an opportunity for long-term illegal residents to
come out of the shadows � not to be handed amnesty but to work toward
permanent residency. They also should feature a temporary-worker program
with worker protections that would deal with the many undocumented workers
who cross and recross the border. Finally, it should reform the backlogged
family reunification system.
Providing a clear route to legal status for longtime residents and providing
legal entry to migrants would not only help cure the excesses of a flawed
system but ensure that our nation benefits from the contributions of
immigrants participating as full members of their communities. Although some
in the public square consider any such rule changes a reward for
lawbreakers, we should look at the issue holistically and realistically, and
understand that the current law is unjust and must be changed.
Legislation recently introduced by Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Edward
M. Kennedy of Massachusetts offers a blueprint to make these necessary
changes. President Bush, who should be commended for placing immigration
reform on the national agenda, should work with the bill's sponsors and
members of both parties to enact a comprehensive remedy to our broken
Our country stands at a critical point in its history. Our heritage as a
nation of immigrants is at stake. We should not attack undocumented workers
for our broader problems at the same time we accept their talent, toil and
taxes. We should not blockade our border at the same time that we depend
upon the labor of the immigrant nanny, janitor, busboy and agricultural
As we have in the past, we should embrace our immigrant roots and recognize
that newcomers to our land are not part of the problem, they are part of the
Cardinal Roger Mahony is the archbishop of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of
Rab now blames it on unknown assailants
Rab now blames Tuesday's killing of Jubo League leader Abul Kalam Azad Sumon on unknown assailants, as questions creep up over his 'notoriety' and the motive for the murder in an "encounter" between "criminals" and the elite crime-busting force.
The Rapid Action Battalion late Tuesday night filed a case against the slain youth on charge of unauthorised possession of a revolver loaded with two bullets, which it claimed to have retrieved from the scene of Sumon's killing.
It also lodged another case against the unknown assailants for the murder at around the same time with Khilgaon police.
"Rab-3 Senior Warrant Officer Rahim Ullah filed the two cases at 6:00pm yesterday," Sub-Inspector Borhan Uddin, duty officer at Khilgaon Police Station, told The Daily Star over telephone at 7:00 yesterday evening. Borhan said Rab accused unknown assailants of the murder.
Another officer of the police station who acted as the duty officer Tuesday night, however, told The Daily Star at 8:30 on that night that no case was filed until then.
Sumon, acting joint convenor of ward No 25 unit of Awami Jubo League, the youth front of the main opposition Awami League (AL), was gunned down at Banasree Project in Rampura at 3:30 Tuesday morning.
Branding Sumon as a notorious criminal, Rab claimed he was killed in a "shootout" in Rampura, but witnesses and sources said the anticrime force arrested him in Goran at 9:00pm on Monday and killed him later in its custody.
There is no proof of the Jubo League leader's crime link and sources said Jubo League leader Sumon is not "Goailya Sumon", as Rab claimed. Three cases are pending against "Goailya Sumon" with Sabujbagh police.
Sumon's relatives, meanwhile, said they would file a case against the Rab men today.
Earlier at 9:00pm Tuesday, Sumon's uncle Suruj Ali received his body from Dhaka Medical College morgue on completion of autopsy. The body was later kept at Birdem Hospital mortuary.
The first namaj-e-janaza was held at Baganbari in Goran near Sumon's house after Johr prayers yesterday. The second janaza was held in front of AL headquarters on Bangabandhu Avenue at 4:00pm before he was buried at Azimpur Graveyard.
Activists of the AL and its front organisations tried to take out a procession from Bangabandhu Avenue office after Sumon's burial, but the police dispersed them.
They later held a protest rally there with Jubo League city unit President Mohiuddin Mohi in the chair. AL General Secretary Abdul Jalil, Organising Secretary Saber Hossain Chowdhury and Jubo League General Secretary Mirza Azam, MP, among others, addressed it.
Jubo League later announced a four-day programme to protest Sumon's murder.
Protest processions will be brought out and demonstrations staged in the districts on Saturday and in upazila headquarters the following day. On Monday, the youth wing will bring out a procession from its central office.