Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Dry The Backs Already

We touched a few days back on the weird effects of reality when confronted with a flawed conventional wisdoom. It was in the comments section of Memefirst, and it was about how an impressive Tory performance in the recent UK election is ony best understood as a slap in Tony Blair's face if you don't believe that anyone likes the Tories anymore. Which might be a comforting assumption, but certainly isn't true. So a perfectly competent progressive prime minister becomes abosolute anathema to a bunch of middle class trolls living in the home counties. Hmmmm..

The second instance is a little closer to our current home, andd it's the current kerfuffle over the granting of licenses to illegal immigrants, outlined here in Newsday. The conventional wisdom seems to be thatt you can walk into a DMV with a little piece of paper saying "I Ees From Er Meeeerkha" and they'll fork over a licence right away.

Now, we've no idea what the situation is like for obtaining licenses elsewhere. California, according to Fox News, was a pushover. And we're assuming that states with lower immigrant populations make it a tad harder. And that New York is likely to be one of the more generous states, even though no-one in the City, where all the immigrants are, owns a car.

But we are likely to have much more experience of the situation than 99% of the people writing about or legislating about driver's licenses for immigrants, since we're a non-resident alien that has tried to get one. And guess what? It is a complete pain in the neck. Same goes for getting a Social Security number, something which free-born Americans get assigned at birth and the rest buy or steal.

It used to be that you'd go down to the DMV with a passport and three other foorms of identification and you'd be fine. In fact you'd be fine as long as all the stamps in your passport were correct, and they didn't feel like telling you to go to Canada to get it sorted.

Now, we're told you won't even be eligible for ID unless you are credentialled by the Foreign Press Center, which is presumably the lean and efficient body that its website suggests. The FPC, we're told, will credential you if you you provide voluminous evidence that your publication and employer exists.

In fact, we lost our halcyon-era ID a while back, and have been terrified of the process of getting it replaced ever since. So we take our passport on aeroplanes, and use our UK license at bars, and everyone seems happy. Except for the clowns at the ESPN Zone, that is, but then if you're trying to gain admittance to ESPN Zone without an extremely good reason then you should probably be deported anyway.

The sensible thing would be to tell the Morlocks that staff DMVs to be more careful about forged documents (without, we must stress being any ruder to aspirants than they already are). But alien-licenses has gained the status of a no-brainer pander to anti-immigration sentiment among people that have never been through the process.

You'd imagine that various parts of the immigration and licensing bureacracy would be capable of pointing this out. But we dare say they're too busy picking fleas off their buddies' backs.

In other news, the UN is considering moving to Brooklyn, or Metro-Tech, to be precise. The drawbacks to this scheme are two: it would conceivably enrich one Bruce Ratner, and it gives the dolt Markowitz a chance to open up hs idotic piehole. In fact the Times taunted us by suggesting that this might not be the case:

Marty Markowitz, the indefatigably enthusiastic Brooklyn borough president, was so beside himself he could barely speak straight.

Oh sweet Lord, can it be so? Probably not, since the Bore of Borough Hall is about to get a whole bunch of press out of this. And indeed:

"I don't want to use that word, 'fuhgeddaboutit,' " Mr. Markowitz said. "Just like every Manhattanite who comes across the bridge, they'll know they're in the promised land."

I suppose we should be grateful that he didnt start drooling something along the lines of: "Eh, we're so great and diverse we've already got the united Nations here!" Still, the awful little man may yet feel compelled to spout it in public, so consider yourselves warned.

Well, whatever, diplo-trash. Enjoy the Burg, enjoy the cheesecake, run away from Marty.


At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would just like to point out that all people have to apply for social security numbers - not just aliens. SSNs are not granted automatically - doting parents must deal with the bureacracy for their little ones.

At 9:59 AM, Blogger Gringcorp said...

True. But do they make the little ones queue for several hours on consecutive days before sending them on a merry little adventure that includes two days at two offices at federal plaza, the suburbs of Buffalo, the small Canadian border town of Fort Eerie, and then back to a crowd of leering INS officers in Buffalo?

No, because they're free-born Americans. Quit your whining.


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