23 September, 2005

Tales From The Walk-out Basement

I live in a house with a walk-out basement. When we built the place we decided to finish the basement to maximize the value of our investment and to serve as a potential apartment for aging parents. It's a pretty nice place, overall. The house is plenty big and has a lot of square footage. We keep the freezer full and the fridge fairly well stocked. I always lock the door.

Now, if someone wants to come stay with us, they're welcome to. All they have to do is ask. They'd be treated to their own private bedroom, bathroom and living area. A small additional investment could easily be made to install a kitchenette as well. It has a private entry, which is always locked and has a burgler alarmed hardwired in.

I do think I would have a problem if someone was walking by and decided they would just move into my basement. Although I'd be flattered to think they had a high enough opinion of my house to want to live here, I'm afraid I would not like it if they came in through the door or any of the five full-length windows. I think the conversation would go something like this:

Katherine Coble: AAAAAGH!

Other Guy: Hi. I was passing by and saw that you had plenty of space here. I'm moving in.

KC: I don't think so. Get out!

OG: But I need a place to stay. Right now I just have a small bedroom at my parents' house. This room is much nicer.

KC: Glad you think so. Get out.

OG: But it was so easy to get into. The door was open and the five floor-length windows were all unlocked and the alarm was off.

KC: That's because it's a nice day and I wanted some fresh air and it's a pain to lock everything up and turn on the alarm and the alarm system costs money. But get out.

OG: I think I'll stay. And it'll work out great because I'll vacuum down here for you and wash the windows and fix the carpet cheaper than if you paid someone to do it.


Okay. I know what you're thinking. I'd be an idiot to let the other guy stay in my basement. He broke in, I know nothing about him and even though he seems like a nice guy, do I really want him living in the basement rent free? Sure, he'll keep it cleaned up and I won't have to pay a carpet guy to fix the carpet...but he is a stranger. Who broke in. And I was going to have my mother in law stay here. She called ahead-- made plans and everything.

In case you hadn't guessed, this pretty much sums up my feeling on illegal immigration. Just because we have a nicer house and have been idiotic enough to not lock the door and the windows doesn't mean that people who come here without calling ahead deserve to live in the basement. Just because we have a more prosperous country and have failed to secure our borders doesn't mean that illegal immigrants deserve to stay in the country. The relative theoretical inexpensiveness of their labour doesn't lessen the offence of entering the country illegally. I know several people who desperately wish to live here and have spent many years and thousands of dollars to do so. Providing amnesty to illegal immigrants is a slap in the face to those who have struggled against red tape and bureaucracy to come here legally.

Tim and I worked hard to be able to afford this house. We do all we can to keep our house nice and make sure it is available for those who need it. Like all Americans, we take pride in our home and are glad when others appreciate it also. However, a squatter is still a violation of the sanctity of our home and should be dealt with accordingly.

This post was inspired by A.C. Kleinheider who so eloquently said:
I never understand conservative commentators and writers who encourage watered-down positions and compromise. Politicians have that covered all by themselves. Writers should talk about what is right -- what should be.


At 9:16 AM, September 23, 2005, Blogger HUCK said...

Where is the money going to come from to build the enormous electrified wall along the Mexican border? Of course, I'm being facetious.

But really, I'm always hearing rants like "send them back", or "close the borders". How?

There are only three ways that I can think of that will stop immigration into this country.
1) Genocide. ...and If that starts to happen, I swear, I'll take up arms and fight for the other side.
2) Open the borders completely and let time eventually establish equilibrium between the two economies.
3) Help them to boost their own economy (...don't know how), so that they no longer have the incentive to cross over.

The point is, nothing is going to fix this problem without a hit to our pocket books.

So, hey everybody, whose up for a tax increase to help another nation's economy?

...or you can sit back, relax, and have another giant margarita at the local Mexican restaurant.

At 9:28 AM, September 23, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

For starters, I don't want to stop ALL immigration into the US. Just the illegal stuff. For some reason (Public Relations) illegal immigration across the Mexican Border has become synonymous with Immigration in many people's minds. It isn't, and that's the point I'm trying most to stress.

Second of all, we do have a National Guard in each of the border states. There is no good reason that we let vast stretches of our land borders go unguarded. It's a far better use of our military than other operations, and one would presume that securing the border would be a paramount item of national security. And that's how you tighten the borders.

At 10:15 AM, September 23, 2005, Blogger HUCK said...

That is only a bandaid solution to fight the symptom.

The disease is that there are millions of impoverished Mexicans, whose only goal in life to to escape from the country that keeps them that way. In their minds the only answer for a better life is to risk everything, even bullets from National Guard rifles, to get across that border.

At 11:11 AM, September 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My concern is this:

After 9/11, airplanes became much, much more difficult to hijack and use as weapons. The bad guys knew that their suicide stunt was pretty much a one-shot deal, and our country would spend years and billions of dollars to plug a hole that they were no longer interested in using.

So hypothetically, if we could have improved the security of the air transport system before 9/11 happened to the point that the terrorists couldn't use passenger jets in a coordinated attack, wouldn't that have been a good thing? Then 9/11 would not have happened -at least in the form that it did. Maybe they would have gotten some car bombs or van bombs close in to do some damage, but I really doubt that it would have been as big as it was.

Fast forward to today. There are millions of illegal American border crossings every day. Is it possible that the bad guys have recognized this and are exploiting this weakness in order to move material and manpower into our country for another strike? If it's possible (and easy), you can bet that they're doing it. They're suicidal and crazy, yes, but they're also smart. They take advantage of the weaknesses we present, and this is a big one.

So the biggest argument for guarding the border is to prevent an Al Quaeda from taking advantage of our porous borders to set up another 9/11. I can't guarantee many things, but I will guarantee that, if/when another 9/11 attack happens, if it's discovered that the terrorists used our permeable borders against us, we'll see them closed toot-sweet.

So why not do it now before anyone dies? Political expediency and risking the alienation of Mexican-American voters seems like a poor reason to leave them open to me.


At 12:07 PM, September 23, 2005, Anonymous Sarcastro said...

The Five Mexican Generals plan, which I stole off of Kinky Friedman, is an excellent way to provide incentives to the Mexican Government to patrol their side of the border.
You (meaning us, or specifically, the CIA) set up a Swiss Bank account in the name of the Five Mexican Generals who control the sectors of the shared border. Deposit a couple of million dollars in the account. Tell the generals that for every illegal we catch on our side of the border that is across from their sector, we withdraw five thousand dollars. This will motivate the Mexican Army from the top down to bust ass on the coyotes who bring the illegals over. With the business dried up over a couple three years, the prospective illegals will realize the risk of crossing is too great and stay home. We are only out a couple of million bucks by the end of five years, and our illegal immigration problem has been curtailed to acceptable limits.

Every economic problem has an economic solution.

And why is it, Kitty, that everything with the D&D/Star Trek set comes down to living in someone's basement?

At 12:38 PM, September 23, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Sarcastro, we go with what we know.

Huck, perhaps Mexico wouldn't have such poverty if their best, brightest and most able-bodied would stay there and build that country instead of coming up here. Illegal immigration has drained Mexico in much the same way a major war would, siphoning off the young men who could build buildings, publish newspapers and start businesses.

At 12:55 PM, September 23, 2005, Blogger HUCK said...

Huck, perhaps Mexico wouldn't have such poverty if their best, brightest and most able-bodied would stay there and build that country instead of coming up here.

Probably so. Take it up with them. It doesn't change the fact that the problem needs to be dealt with economically.

If you ship them back, they'll be back on Brentwood's front lawns faster than you can say Chimichanga.

At 3:30 PM, September 23, 2005, Blogger John H said...

First of all, I am grateful and blessed to live in a country that people want to get INTO rather than flee from.

Secondly, pure fat-free unadulterated ideas appeal to us because of their clarity, but the reality of enforcing these ideas scares the willies out of me (and i do have some willies).

Why do people come to USA? there are jobs here and there is money here. If no one hired the illegal immigrants the flow wouldn't stop all together, but the it would be slowed.

You've got to make it hurt for employees to be caught with illegal immigrant employees - namely, large large fines and embarrassment. I've heard a lot of enthusiasm from conservatives about throwing illegal immigrants back, but I haven't heard much about attacking one of the reasons they come here.

I asked Ed Bryant if he would be willing to enact stiffer penalties against employers who hire these folks,and he stated that he would certainly look at that. I must say that the enthusiasm that was behind that utterance wasn't as nearly as profound as it was when he pretty much stated that they all oughta be tossed out of the country and that he DID NOT agree with the President's proposals vis' a vis' immigration.

So, if you attack the employer's you'll dampen some of the enthusiasm for coming here, but there will still be plenty of illegals left. How do you enforce getting them out of the country?

Nightly sweeps in neighborhoods that might be housing these reprobates?

I'm not saying that they should be allowed to stay, but I am saying that the practicality of purging them along with the impact on construction and service industry might be more than we really want to swallow.

Actually, I'm down with Sarcastro and Kinky.

At 3:31 PM, September 23, 2005, Blogger John H said...

Good lord, too many typos in the above..


At 3:39 PM, September 23, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

'Sok, John. We'll just call you Stacey.

Personally, I'm very much in favour of fining employers heftily. I'm also in favour of putting employers in jail.

I think that roundups are impractical, but I do think that border enforcement is a good thing. I also think that it would be in our best interest to deport illegal immigrants who have commited further crimes.

In March, Tim and I were hit by an uninsured motorist who spoke no English, had no license and was here illegally. The police refused to cite him for hitting our car, driving without insurance and driving without a license because it was too much of a hassle. In an ideal situation, this man would have at least been given a ticket! I'm a little irked at the process here. Everyone knows that there is no solution so II are allowed to get away with even more than an average citizen. You better believe that if you were driving without a license or insurance you would at the very least be ticketed. And you'd pay the ticket, too. Because we are all law abiding and the police know it. But this blind-eye thing has got to stop.

At 3:46 PM, September 23, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've got it right ... and this coming from someone who's spent 5 years and lots of $$$ getting her English husband a greencard. We jumped through all the hoops, paid all the fees, documented every inch of relationship, had all our digits finger printed ... and while it might have been frustrating at times - if you've ever actually BEEN to an immigration office - you see why all this is necessary. It really annoys us that the Mexico situation is acceptable to so many people for some of the reasons you listed (our country has a better economy, more opportunities, etc) -- but if they want to come here -- they should have to do everything we did. It's not fair to anyone the way things are now. (To say nothing of how it negatively effects our economy ... all good thoughts from john h above - we have to have incentives for businesses to not hire illegal immigrants. Hefty fines, loss of business license for extended periods of time, etc)


At 3:49 PM, September 23, 2005, Blogger Kat Coble said...

Something about "document[ing] every inch of relationship" sounds far more interesting that it probably was...;-p

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