‘To the back of the line’By Philip Dominguez Mercurio
You know if you’re a regular-- driving in and out of the City from across the bay-- let me tell you that I am humbled by you’re patience.
The infamous onramps to the glorious Bay Bridge function like the isthmus in an hourglass, rushing an enormous amount of sand grains though the smallest of openings. Out of the five lanes going outbound, three are devoted to dispensing freeway traffic, reserving two measly lanes for cars leaving downtown San Francisco. Maneuvering though city streets to the bridge therefore is just like being in an hourglass. It requires calm, tenacity and a helluva lot of patience.
On Wednesday, I started my journey as one of those grains heading toward that onramp from the corner of Bush and Montgomery at 5:30 p.m. Here’s where the line starts and for all intents and purposes stops. For every three changes of the light, your car could move forward only about a car‘s length -- if you’re lucky.
It’s sad really. Reach an intersection and you’re bound to be in limbo. ‘To cross or not to cross?’ Cars the next block over haven’t moved but your light is green. What to do?
Well you should wait until that car had moved enough for you to fit behind. That’s how things should be done -- orderly and nicely without creating havoc.
If only that were true.
Along Bush and First Streets, the left lane is reserved for public transportation, so buses can move faster though city streets. But lo and behold, much of that lane has been highjacked by a hoard of rash drivers trying to find an easy way out. They use the lane, illegally, as a way to get closer to the on-ramp as they can. When the light turns green, they jump at the chance using these jammed intersections to cut from that lane to the legal lane.
That’s exactly what happened to me -- twice. At the intersection of Mission and First, I couldn’t move up but a car from that lane sneakily crossed the street, cut into my lane; his tail sticking out of the intersection. Afterwards, another green light appeared and another car cut me off from that same lane again but this time, his whole car blocked the intersection. By that time, I had enough and went for it, bringing my car close to the right side of the last car that had cut me off. I wasn’t going to be cut off again. And I let my presence known.
Once I reached the entrance to the freeway, it was 7:20 -- crossing the 5 blocks took a whopping two hours.
Was I thrilled about it? No.
But was I happy that I made it to my destination following others in the correct lane? Yes.
When I see the immigration debate on television, this is what I conjure up in my head-- horrible memories like Wednesday’s. Watching others scramble along the bus lanes illegally (since it’s not really ‘enforced’), then cutting off everyone else in line ‘politely’ near the onramp (causing more headaches for those who were in line by the way), really got me going. It made me feel bad for the millions around the world in the dreaded immigration line willing to wait their turn legally to be processed until they reached the onramp known as the American dream.
Can we blame those who are here illegally for taking advantage of the situation? Well, the opportunity was there and they ‘veni, vidi, vici’ it. America has a glut of jobs that most Americans claim they wouldn’t do and they filled the gap that our current legal immigration process couldn’t provide for by crossing the border. It was a boon for American businesses in need of them and the immigrants and their families back home. Kicking them out now, without providing some means of having other workers replace them quickly enough, would ruin these vital sectors immensely.
But amnesty -- (or to be politically-correct) allowing illegals to earn citizenship -- the same people who cut in front of other potential Americans in the immigration line- just because they are here doesn’t make sense. They, like the reckless drivers on the bridge, shouldn’t be given a slap on the wrist and fined for their impolite behavior. Someone should be like Carlos Mencia and say, “To the back of the line!”
If they want to stay here fine… but if they want citizen status, the government should create another preference category in immigration law… that will be reserved for them but this particular category would be the lowest priority of them all. Therefore, they will get their chance once those at higher preferences who applied earlier than them have gotten their crack at the American dream.
Though this process, illegals here would be able to have some recognition in the system (paying taxes so they could cover their own expenses in relation to education, health care, etc.) and businesses that need them could continue to rely on them without fear of penalties. But most of all, it will be fair to those who arrived here or are still waiting to get here legally, some of whom (like in my own family) have been waiting decades just for the chance. It’s only fair. - PDM
See this article,"To the back of the line" in Philippine News. Click here.