A Case for Immigration - Sossina Haile

Sunday, December 30, 2007

As you know, my congressman is that asshat Tom Tancredo. Thankfully, he's decided he will not seek reelection, and has dropped out of the Presidential race, as well. Maybe in 2008 I won't get a dumbass.

Tancredo is, among other things, a bit shrill when it comes to issues of immigration. Not that I'm pro-illegal immigration. I'm not. I just think the issue, and the consequences of whatever action we take, is a lot more complex than the sound-bite people would have us believe. If we suddenly deport all of the illegal aliens, our world is not going to suddenly be puppies and roses, nor will the price of an orange suddenly skyrocket to $5.00 followed by economic collapse. If we fling open our borders, we are not going to become a larger model of Mexico, nor are we going to achieve some sort of egalitarian utopia. I don't think the expert opinion in Mexico that illegal immigration is a "labor phenomenon" rather than a "crime" is accurate - the root cause may be labor related, but it's still a crime. But the individuals who try to come here illegally are not (generally) axe murderers or pedophiles - they're people who are trying to make a better life for their families. It's complex. That's why we pay those policy wonks and elected morons in Washington the big bucks - to figure it out. (Hint: The US's consumer economy and the enormous (and growing) trade deficit with China might have something to do with it.)

In any case, I, too, have been a bit shrill lately, and so I'm going to focus today on an immigration success story. I'm not suggesting that illegal immigration is not a policy issue that should be addressed sooner rather than later. I'm saying that legal immigration is a cornerstone of the American experience, and our country is a better place for the assimilation of peoples from around the world.

Which brings me to Dr. Sossina Haile.

Dr. Haile is a professor of Material Science and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. She and her team invented the "superprotonic" solid acid fuel cell. Like all fuel cells, they produce energy through chemical reactions and their chief emission is pure water. The significance of Dr. Haile's work is that her cells are more durable, designed to work more cheaply, and are designed to work at mid range temperatures. Dr. Haile's cells fill an important need, although additional design and research are needed to determine their commercial viability. Dr. Haile's attitude about her work is, "There's nothing better than being able to combine an intellectually exciting topic with the knowledge that it will be beneficial. To me, that's just glory."

Dr. Haile is also a legal immigrant.

She and her birth family left Ethiopia in the mid 1970's after the coup, and settled in Minnesota. Dr. Haile's degrees are from MIT and the University of California, Berkley.

Quite a string of accomplishments for anyone to have. But Dr. Haile isn't just anyone - she's a foreign born woman of color, living here in the U.S. and trying to make the world a better place. I don't know if Dr. Haile is a citizen of our great country, but I think she's a great American. Glory, indeed.

6 comments:

Nathan said...

I resent the hell out of the politicians who try to scare the hell out of everyone when they don't differentiate between immigration and illegal immigration. The ones who are screaming about how illegal immigrants are sucking up social resources are the same ones who refuse to acknowledge that those same people would love the opportunity to live in the open, pay taxes and everything else that comes with citizenship. Bush's proposals on immigration policy are one of the only things he's rational about.

For a related topic, take a look at Making Light where they're talking about needing a passport to pass between the U.S. and Canada. Weren't we just applauding a couple of years ago when the E.U. declared most borders open?

Janiece Murphy said...

Nathan, I think the rhetoric on both sides of this issue could use a little toning down.

Oh, I'm sorry. That would be a moderate position. We can't have that.

We now return to our regularly scheduled screeching.

Becca said...

I do have to say that when political correctness runs amock, you get what we have here in Oregon: A sitting Governor who until recently, willingly allowed the DMV to give Drivers Licenses to undocumented, or illegal immigrants. Now what is right about that? And when told that was no longer going to be the case, they say that they will supposedly crush our economy if we take that "right" away from them. Hello, what right is that? Sorry, that touches a nerve with me. You want rights, come here legally, do it legally, then we will talk. I know that makes me not politically correct, but I have to live my life by the law, why shouldn't everyone who wants to be here?

Janiece Murphy said...

Becca, if you're politically incorrect, then I guess I am, too. There are certain "rights" that everyone is entitled to, although our current administration is chipping away at those almost on a daily basis. But "rights" that are enjoyed by legal residents and citizens should not automatically be granted to illegal aliens. Their very presence in this country is a violation of the law. They shouldn't be surprised when they're treated like law-breakers...because they are. Just like the businesses and individuals who hire them.

Steve Buchheit said...

Just like the TSA isn't meant to make us safer, it's meant to make us feel safer, most national politicians don't want to solve problems, they want to make us think they're solving problems.

Janiece Murphy said...

Ah, yes. Appearance over substance.

I think my head's going to explode...