In 1996, a couple of clowns embarked on a publicity stunt that ended tragically. They would have a seven-year-old girl set the record for the youngest person to fly a plane across country. (Bear with me – it's a metaphor relating to immigration policy.)
Because most airplanes have dual controls (allowing them to be flown equally well from either seat), it would be a simple matter to set the record for the youngest cocker spaniel to fly across the country.
Given such absurd possibilities, no aviation sanctioning bodies recognize a record for the youngest person to fly across the country. You have to be a licensed pilot to set a record.
Think about it. If you put even the most precocious seven-year-old armed with a gas credit card into an airplane alone on one coast the odds that the child could make it to the other coast are close to zero.
None of this stopped flight instructor Joe Reid and the father of Jessica Dubroff, Lloyd Dubroff, from trying to fool the public. They called their publicity stunt "Sea to Shining Sea", compete with promotional hats and t-shirts.
Although I have long since stopped watching TV news, when I saw a report of this story on the air, I called WABC-TV news in New York and told them they were endangering lives by encouraging nonsense like this (which is why I remember this story). We later learned that ABC was an accomplice to the madness, loaning a camera to record the flight.
And I was right. This pair of morons with an innocent child in tow, made it from Half Moon Bay, Calif., to Cheyenne, Wyo. in a 4-seat Cessna 177.
Apparently trying to maintain their publicity schedule, the clowns took off from Cheyenne in bad weather. The combination of a high airport altitude, an overloaded aircraft, rain, turbulence, gusting winds, and an advancing thunderstorm all contributed to the aircraft stalling (the wings stopped providing lift) and the airplane dropped out of control a few hundred feet off the ground. There were no survivors. Fortunately, these fools injured no one on the ground.
How does all of this relate to immigration, you might ask?
While such publicity stunts using children and airplanes are rare, Congress sprang into action. Within months, Congress enacted the "Child Pilot Safety Act", proving that Congress can act rapidly when it wants to.
Over the past few years we have seen thousands of Americans replaced by foreign guest workers using H-1B and other visa programs at companies like Disney, Southern California Edison, Toys "R" Us, New York Life, and Abbott Labs.
And what has Congress done to address this common problem?
Think about that before you vote to reelect your senators and congressmen in November.