Friday, June 8, 2007

Attractive nuisances

An attractive nuisance is a legal term that says you are liable if you create a dangerous situation that might attract attention. For example, it would be unwise to park a motorcycle on your front sidewalk with the keys in it. If a teenager walks by and notices the situation, he would be tempted to hop on the bike and take it for a ride. You would be liable for injuries and damage caused by said teenager.

It’s the reason people with swimming pools are required to have a fence and a latched gate.

I submit that our nation has created attractive nuisances that tempt illegal aliens to enter the United States. Here are three such temptations:
1) Free emergency care/labor and delivery. The EMTALA act was passed by Congress in 1986 with the best of intentions. If someone shows up at the emergency room but does not have insurance, you can’t just let him bleed to death on the sidewalk outside the hospital. You take care of the immediate emergency. But a few court cases have created a situation where non-emergencies are now covered and you’d better not release the patient until they are fully recovered.

There are accounts in border towns in Texas and California where women in labor are rushed across the border into the US and dumped on the doorsteps of our hospitals because the care is better and it is free.
2) A free public education. Way back in 1981 the U S Supreme Court ruled on Plyler v. Doe. This forever established the requirement that public schools educate the children of illegal immigrants. And it is a good education, much better than nearly any Mexican school. As an added bonus, the children will learn English (eventually) and thus have a leg-up over the kids back home.
3) Citizenship for children born here. The 14th amendment was never intended to be abused the way it is now. It was part of the post-Civil War package declaring that slave children are citizens. Yet courts have given interpretations that changed the amendment. U S Citizenship is a valued prize, not only for its symbolic value but also as a gateway to social benefits and a modicum of protection against deportation for the parents.

In addition to a border fence and strong enforcement of the law, these attractive nuisances need to be removed. They are a strong temptation for those who wish to come here illegally. Yet “reform” bills never try to correct them and never fully reimburse us for the local costs of these unfunded mandates.

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