Let's hear it for Sen. Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock. Let's hear it for the Republican leadership of the Legislature. These are brave souls.
Without fear or flinching, they have stepped into the breach in the war against illegal aliens. They have figured out how to abate the immigrant tsunami that is washing away our culture and destroying our cherished institutions.
These intrepid lawmakers propose denying unwelcome interlopers the use of tax-financed social services. Why didn't someone think of this before? That's easy. No one else possesses the level of intelligence of the Georgia Legislature.
Here are a couple of examples of how Rogers' attack on the aliens might work once it becomes Georgia law:
n Mama rushes little Rosita to the emergency room because the 5-year-old child is running a 104-degree temperature and has red spots all over her body. The admissions nurse says to Mama, "Papers, please." Mama don't have no papers - or anything else showing she has a legal right to be in the United States. The nurse says, "Sorry, we can't help. We cannot disobey Sen. Chip Rogers' law. Take little Rosita back to Mexico and give her two aspirins and a Coke. Adios."
n After working 14 straight hours putting roofs on $2 million mansions in Buckhead, Juan Martinez returns to his house trailer, lights a cigarette and falls asleep. When the fire truck arrives to try to save Juan's burning home, the fire chief whips out an official clipboard and says to a shaken Juan, "Papers, please." Juan don't have no papers either. The trailer burns to the ground. Juan returns to Mexico, and Georgia gets rid of another illegal alien. It's easier than getting a Ditech loan.
Ingenious, right? We'll hit these greasers where it hurts, goes the legislators' thinking. Every social agency will slam the door in their faces. When they get back home, they'll tell all their cousins, "Don't go to Georgia. Those crackers won't do anything for us. They won't even let our kids go to school because we don't have the right papers."
Rogers may be a swell guy. However, his anti-alien legislation is pure demagoguery and probably unconstitutional to boot.
Try getting a Georgia senator or legislator - or even governor or lieutenant governor - to say Rogers is wasting everybody's time with this bushwa. Only a couple of liberals with Latino districts have murmured any hint of distaste. Others are too scared of being labeled "pro-alien" or, worse, "compassionate."
To be sure, the problem of undocumented migrants pouring into our state is serious. As we have said repeatedly in this space, hordes of illegal refugees (yes, refugees) are straining to the breaking point our health, public safety and education infrastructure. The Bush administration has done little more than provide lip service to controlling the alien flood.
Several major industries quietly encourage the undocumented influx. It is a source of cheap laborers, most of whom are too frightened to report being abused and intimidated.
Something needs to be done. How about hiring more border cops and sealing the borders? That is one obvious solution. Another, suitable for Georgia law, might be to impose severe criminal sanctions on businesses that insist on luring illegals-for-hire into this state, or that refuse to confirm their legal status once they are hired. Such moves might chill illegal immigration and serve the needs of homeland security as well.
Of course, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce won't stand for tampering with big business' supply of cheap labor or countenance any talk of criminal charges against major employers of undocumented workers.
So what is Rogers' anti-alien measure all about anyway? It's all about getting legislators re-elected. It is about race-baiting and foreigner hating. It is about avoiding dealing with the real-life issues of transportation, education and health care.
The simmering anti-alien bill of 2006 is a first cousin to the anti-gay marriage amendment of 2004. It is meaningless. Yet almost no politician can afford to say, "This is nuts!" any more than he or she could dare suggest that a state with two laws banning gay nuptials really didn't need a third one.
The Rogers Alien Act also is kin to the Voter ID law. It is aimed at the poor - at people caught up in the vagaries of poverty, helpless to try to control their own destinies or bark back at a don't-care government.
To be fair, the anti-alien campaign accomplishes at least one worthwhile deed. It provides still another opportunity for national news editors to use "Georgia" and "stupid" in the same headline without referring to low-rated schools, unfair voter ID or pacesetting high gas prices.
By the way, Georgians owe a debt of gratitude to the hurricanes this year. Without them, we would have been the clear winner (instead of Louisiana) of the national negative publicity award in the state government category.
Syndicated columnist Bill Shipp writes on Georgia politics. Write him at P.O. Box 440755, Kennesaw, GA 30160, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.billshipp.com. His column appears on Wednesday and Sunday.