Chris Powell: Arrogant "undocumented immigrants'' out of the shadows; fictionalizing parking for the handicapped

As they blocked Main Street in downtown Hartford by unfurling a 50-foot banner protesting deportations and an unfavorable (to them) U.S. Supreme Court decision, "undocumented immigrants" -- the politically correct term for illegal aliens -- and their supporters declared last week that they were "coming out of the shadows."

"I'm undocumented, unafraid, and here to stay," one announced through a bullhorn.

Nine protesters were charged by police with disorderly conduct.

Their disappointment was understandable but their indignation was misplaced and their presumption of a right to inconvenience and bully everyone else was contemptible. 

After all, few illegal aliens are "living in the shadows" in Connecticut. Hartford and New Haven have declared themselves "sanctuary cities," formally committed to nullifying federal immigration law, as state government itself is committed more or less, now that it is providing driver's licenses and college-tuition discounts to illegals. All Connecticut's members of Congress favor amnesty for illegals. 

Besides, "living in the shadows" is what lawbreakers do, although it's not as if any immigration-law violator is in danger of being persecuted for innocent characteristics like ethnicity, homosexuality or left-handedness. Every nation has the right to immigration law -- indeed, controlling immigration is the definition of nationhood -- and illegals have violated the law just as much as anyone else has.

Yes, the country's failure to enforce immigration law, induced by pressure from unscrupulous employers and groups that don't want any immigration-law enforcement, has contributed to the extenuating circumstances of millions of young people whose illegality was the responsibility of their parents. Politics has been obstructing legislation that might give them a "path to citizenship" -- and not just the politics of legislators hostile to immigration but also the politics of legislators hostile to achieving border control before amnesty. But that's democracy for you. Building consensus can take time.

Breaking a perfectly legitimate law and then demanding that it be changed in one's favor while one bullies innocent people on the street is pretty arrogant. Who do the illegals think they are -- Citigroup or Tribune Publishing, which undertook illegal corporate acquisitions in Connecticut, confident that they were influential enough to get the laws and regulations repealed?

If their arrogance is going to extend to blocking traffic, the illegals should go back in the shadows.

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Because of legislation signed last week by Gov. Dannel Malloy, Connecticut's official emblem for reserving parking spots for the handicapped has been what the governor calls "modernized." It's more like fictionalized.

The old emblem showed a stick figure sitting in a wheelchair. The new emblem has the stick figure leaning forward in a racing pose as if engaging in a game of wheelchair basketball. The idea is to dispel the supposedly retrograde idea that the handicapped are handicapped and instead suggest that people with disabilities can lead active lives -- as if anyone thought there was some law against it.

But of course if the handicapped were not disadvantaged in some way, they would hardly need preferential parking, and most of the people whose cars are equipped with handicapped parking permits are not athletes but old folks unsteady on their feet, carrying canes, or lugging oxygen canisters.

So the new emblem is just another symptom of the political correctness plaguing Connecticut under the Malloy administration. In this respect the collapse of state government's finances is fortunate, for nothing will be spent to replace the handicapped parking signs just to get rid of the old emblem. The signs with the old emblem will be replaced only as they wear out. For the time being the PC brigades may have to settle for taking the signs off bathroom doors.

Chris Powell is a Connecticut-based columnist on politics and society and managing editor of the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.