Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Montgomery County public school students who attended the illegal-alien rally on the Mall on Monday received up to eight hours of community-service credit toward their 60-hour degree requirement, the equivalent of a pat on the back from administrators.

This show of advocacy conforms to the political bent of a county that has an open-door immigration policy with Mexico and Central America, illegal or otherwise.

Melissa Andersen, who has two children in the county’s public school system, finds fault with the politicizing of the community- service program.

“Keep politics out of community service,” she said yesterday. “They are not educating. They are indoctrinating. Would they give community service hours if there was a rally for the little guy being hurt by cheap, foreign labor?”

Montgomery County’s school administrators are liable to be challenged to be consistent with their awarding of community-service hours next month, when a Minutemen rally is scheduled.

The Minutemen, alas, are xenophobes, racists and bigots. Or so it is sometimes said by those who endeavor to stifle all dialogue on the subject.

The charges often come as news to those who employ legal immigrants from Mexico, Central America and elsewhere to paint, landscape and clean their homes, which is to say a significant portion of residents who live in the region.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of legal immigrants who completed all the bureaucratic steps to be here. The objection is not with them.

Mohammed Hasanian, a Vienna, Va.-based Realtor with Long and Foster, is not able to relate to the plight of illegal aliens, perhaps because he followed the immigration laws before becoming an American citizen.

“I guess I should be trying to smuggle my brothers into this country illegally,” the Palestinian from Jordan said. “I am pro-immigration — but legal immigration. If you broke the law when you entered this country, you should be deported. It is that simple.”

Mr. Hasanian’s hard-earned clarity is steeped in the love of his adopted country.

“This is a great country,” he said. “But you have to have laws, and people have to follow the laws. I don’t know how you can take up the cause of people who broke the law as soon as they entered the country. It would not work that way in Jordan, I can tell you that.”

As always, the hugging of illegal aliens requires a strong dose of enlightenment that ignores both the word “illegal” and the fundamental imperative of border control. The lack of border control is the running gag in the illegal-alien debate.

The gasbags on Capitol Hill are in on the joke, starting with Sen. Ted Kennedy, who, to his credit, managed to keep his pants on during the rally. The gasbags are not really in the mood to address the 10 million to 12 million illegal aliens in a persuasive manner, which is an abdication of their duties. They are, after all, supposed to be lawmakers.

The failure to enforce the law is especially galling in a city that is planting more and more fine-producing cameras, each one intended to record the slightest infraction of motorists.

The sticklers of this particular law justify their intrusive actions with an appeal to save lives. Controlling our borders just might save a few lives, too, assuming Osama bin Laden has been taking notes from his dank cave along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

That point is not lost on Mr. Hasanian, a Muslim who has an understanding of the virulent strain of Islam in the Middle East.

“Those people mean us great harm,” he said. “The prospect of a dirty bomb going off in the city is not something we should be taking lightly.”

And that prospect is being abetted by a porous border and one side of the immigration debate that refuses to acknowledge the word “illegal.”

That refusal qualifies as objectionable, as administrators with the Montgomery County school system discovered after their community-service allowance received a public airing.

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