SOUTH TOLEDO -- A south Toledo man is using a replica of the Statue of Liberty to let the world know his thoughts on illegal immigration. Art Bollinger says he got this idea from an e-mail he received, and decided to duplicate the picture.
From the front, you can see the Statue of Liberty. From behind, it shows Lady Liberty's behind, in a thong bikini. The nearby sign says "Kiss my American Ass."
Bollinger tells News 11 he will accept anyone into this country as long as they come here legally, but he has no patience for those who sneak in. "You don't have rights. You are here illegally," said Bollinger of the people who cross the border without permission. "If I break the law, I go to prison. You break the law and the American government says they'll kiss your behind. No. That's ridiculous."
The US Senate bill passed last week would tighten the border, offer a guest worker programs to bring in new foreign workers and provide a chance at citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants already in the country. The US House bill generally is limited to border enforcement and cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. Negotiators from both chambers will try to reconcile the differences and agree on a compromise.
Bollinger says his wife is from Russia and he had to jump through all kinds of hoops and pay for the process of her becoming a US citizen. He feels everyone else should do the same.
US Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., answered a flat "no'' when asked Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press'' whether he would accept any legislation that would put illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship. Sensenbrenner said the United States 20 years ago passed a bill that allowed illegal immigrants to stay in the U.S. and become American citizens. He said that only increased the flow of illegal immigrants.
US Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said the Senate took a comprehensive approach to dealing with illegal immigration and he took issue with Sensenbrenner's characterization of the Senate's approach. "Amnesty. That's nonsense,'' Hagel said. Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said he, but not necessarily the Senate, could accept a phased-in compromise: enforcement first, then moving to citizenship issues. "I personally would, because I think, first and foremost, you've got to lock down the borders. You can't allow this hemorrhaging of millions of people,'' he said on "Fox News Sunday.''
Under the Senate bill, illegal immigrants who have been in the country at least five years can continue working and eventually become legal permanent residents and citizens after paying at least $3,250 in fines, fees and back taxes and learning English. Illegal immigrants in the U.S. between two and five years would be required to go to a point of entry at the border and file an application to return. Those in the country less than two years would have to leave.