Monday, March 27, 2006

Punish the lawbreakers

There was a NYT story Sunday about the House's immigration bill -- the one that makes ordinary, hardworking people criminals because they weren't born on the couple of square feet where you were born. Now I know a lot of people will say that the fact that they work hard, they pay taxes (for which they get nothing in return) and are exploited by US businesses who don't want to obey the law of supply and demand to pay higher wages to "real" Americans is irrelevant. What's relevant is that they are breaking the law.
The legislative battle has pitted Republican against Republican, with conservatives deriding guest worker programs as an amnesty for lawbreakers . . . .


In December, the Republican-controlled House defied Mr. Bush's call for a temporary worker program. Instead, the House passed a tough border security bill that would, among other things, make it a federal crime to live in this country illegally, turning the millions of illegal immigrants here into felons, ineligible to win any legal status. (Currently, living in this country without authorization is a violation of civil immigration law, not criminal law.) (NYT)
I suppose it's a fair point. Respect for the law has to mean something. Stop! I know what you're thinking. Revere's going to rant about George Bush's lawbreaking with the NSA wiretaps. Wrong (anyway that's already a criminal violotion, as I understand it). You're wrong. I'm going to rant about something else.

According to a new report from US Public Interest Research Group:
Nationally, 62 percent of all major industrial and municipal facilities discharged more pollution into U.S. waterways than their permits allow at least once during the 18-month period studied.

The average facility discharged pollution in excess of its permit limit by more than 275 percent, or almost four times the legal limit.

Nationally, 436 major facilities exceeded their Clean Water Act permits for at least half of the monthly reporting periods between July 1, 2003 and December 31, 2004. Thirty-five facilities exceeded their Clean Water Act permits during every reporting period.

The 3,700 major facilities exceeding their permit limits reported more than 29,000 exceedances of their Clean Water Act permit limits. This means that many facilities exceeded their permits more than once and for more than one pollutant.

The ten U.S. states with the most exceedances of Clean Water Act permit limits during this time period are Ohio, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Tennessee, Indiana, West Virginia, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

The ten U.S. states with the highest percentages of major facilities exceeding their Clean Water Act permit limits at least once are West Virginia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Utah, the District of Columbia, and Maine. (US PIRG via Common Dreams)
If you want to take those who break civil laws and turn them into felons, why start with hard working people whose only crime is being poor and not speaking English? Here is a whole shithouse full of civil lawbreakers poisoning our rivers and streams. Let's prosecute the corporate officers and responsible officials as felons.

Given the choices, which one do you think would make the average person better off?