Monday, May 05, 2008

What Does One Get for An Act of Mercy or Kindness?

God promises us a heavenly reward for this behavior, and Louisiana Legislator Brett F. Geymann threatens us with prison time for it. Here's the relevant section of HB 1357:

D.(1) Whoever commits the crime of unlawfully harboring, concealing, or sheltering an alien on a first conviction shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
(2) Whoever commits the crime of unlawfully harboring, concealing, or sheltering an alien on a second or subsequent conviction shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars, or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
Here's the relevant section of HB 1358:
D.(1) Whoever commits the crime of unlawfully transporting an alien on a first conviction shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
(2) Whoever commits the crime of unlawfully transporting an alien on a second or subsequent conviction shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars, or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than one year, or both.
And And Brett F. Geymann calls himself a Christian. Go figure.

Read the legislation as written. If you think individual acts of kindness towards your migrant neighbors are exempt from the sweeping provisions of this poorly-crafted legislation, you're sadly mistaken. The fact is that even giving your migrant neighbor a ride to Church on Sunday can land you in jail. What kind of legislation would potentially criminalize this kind of behavior? Bad legislation, that's what.

Regardless of where you stand on the question of illegal immigration, you must recognize these pieces of legislation are an affont to basic human decency, they criminalize simple acts of charity or neighborlihess, and they target citizens who are just trying to live good lives by their fellow human beings. There must be better ways to deal with the problem of illegal immigration than by criminalizing the charitable acts of mercy and simple kindness done by citizens.

Please, contact your Louisiana state legislators and demand that they stop this abomination by voting against these measures.

6 comments:

Laurie said...

I wrote my legislator, Rep. Kirk Talbot, yesterday and was amazed to get a truly personalized response from his legislative aide. She said that their office has been flooded with calls in support of these bills, saying how illegal immigrants are responsible for all of the crime, aren't paying taxes, etc. and not enough is being done.

Then, she asked for my response. She asked whether I'd support the bills if the wording were changed and, if not, what are my specific views on immigration. She asked pointed, specific questions of me about whether I thought people who knowingly employ illegal immigrants should be prosecuted, whether all illegal immigrants should be forced out of LA, etc.

I write to my legislators fairly often, but this was the first time anyone from any of their offices actually tried to engage me in discourse. Even though he's a Republican, so we disagree on most issues, good for Rep. Talbot!

I wrote her back explaining my stances and pointing out that illegal immigrants pay more taxes than people think and I haven't seen any data suggesting they're responsible for an uptick in crime. I don't know how Rep. Talbot will vote, but I'm glad his office is at least reaching out to find out what his constituents really think about the issues.

D-BB said...

hey huck, so....what if the illegal I get caught with is an escort from N.I.C.E. (New, Improved, Cleaner, Escorts)???? Am I exempt???? Please research and post a follow-up.

Huck said...

laurie - Thanks for your response and for this encouraging update. I, too, wrote to my legislative representative in the House, Walker Hines, and also got a personal, detailed response from him. I think legislators know that these bills are crafted to be mean-spirited and are uncomfortable with how they could potentially criminalize individual acts of charity. I also think that they are looking for clear and persuasive reasons to do the right thing and vote against these measures, in spite of the knee-jerk xenophobia that captures the uncritical and unthinking imaginations of some citizens. I think Walker Hines is disposed to vote against these bills unless amended, but he told me that they are very popular among legislators and are very likely to be passed. I think that we who are opposed to these bills on humanitarian grounds need to step up more and counter the loud voices of xenophobia that seem to be driving this debate.

I've also written to some other legislators, both Republican and Democrat, whom I think can be persuaded to oppose these bills.

Thanks for your comment here at my blog and, more importantly, thanks for contacting your legislator and being a voice of conscience against this mean-spirited legislation.

Huck said...

d-bb - Hey, man, the way these bills are written, if you have any knowledge that your escort is illegal and you are, indeed, caught "escorting" her. Then be prepared to cough up $1,000 and/or spend 6 months in the slammer. So, you either better work to defeat these pieces of trash legislation, or be prepared to think of your escort as worth such a hefty price.

D-BB said...

Holy wetback Huck!!!!!!! The escort only charges me $30.00 and I spend no less than 3 weeks outpatient to get rid of that burning whitish-yellow substance burning drip! (If I pay an extra $20 it's only yellow substance burning drip ) THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!

Cynthia said...

In case you're wondering how to find out what district you're in, here is a handy tool:

http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Reps/H_Reps_ByAddress.asp