A line in Kathy Gregg’s Providence Journal article about protests at the State House today — one against the truck toll proposal and one in favor of giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants — seemed to stumble on language in a telling way:
“No more second class status. All Rhode Islanders should come in from the shadows. It is time for all of RI’s workers to have equal access to our roads,” said Mike Araujo, executive director of the coalition known as “RI Jobs With Justice,” in a media advisory for this 3-to-4:30 p.m. march and rally.
“Second class” is an adjective, and “status” isn’t a very descriptive word. Second-class what? Most commonly, in American politics, one would expect the noun to be “citizens,” but that’s clearly not the case, here. Second-class residents? That still seems odd.
The phrase “second class status” deliberately attempts to skirt this question in a way that insinuates rights without thought, skipping a legitimate question: Are there rights and privileges that somebody who came to this country and this state illegally should be denied? Clearly, the answer is “yes,” unless one intends to claim that anybody who manages to cross a border should be entitled to vote and hold public office.
Such rhetoric, frankly, reveals the lie behind claims like Raimondo’s assurances that granting licenses to illegal immigrants is simply a safety issue. It’s all about safety in much the same way that same-sex marriage was all about allowing gay partners to visit each other in the hospital… until to turned out to be about forcing Christian bakers to help celebrate same-sex marriages or Catholic adoption agencies to place children in same-sex households.
Americans should stop falling for the bait and switch. If advocates and progressive Democrat politicians want to push our society in a particular direction, they should make the case. They shouldn’t try to sneak it in as simply a practical tweak. Supply the noun. Giving illegal immigrants licenses would make them “full” whats?