Monday, July 5, 2010

My belated 4th of July commentary: The Immigration "debate"

This article inspired me to finally answer a common question regarding the immigration "debate". Why do I put debate in quotation marks? Because I hope you will see by the end of this blog entry that if you truly care about those that come to this country illegally, then there really is no debate.

Q: What is your take on the immigration debate?

A: The first thing to clarify is that in my mind, there is **no** debate in regards to LEGAL immigration. If a given person wants to be a citizen of the US and goes through the formal process of becoming a citizen, then I am totally, 100% in favor of that – even gung-ho about it! It is how out nation was built, after all!

However, it’s a whole ‘nother matter when such a person comes here illegally, and for the record, that is anyone from another country, and not just Mexico. I like the analogy made to a burglar who breaks into your house and then wants to become a member of your family.

And for the record, I totally and fully understand why Mexican nationals would try to come to this country: Because their own country lacks in good paying jobs and is now currently dealing with drug cartels. They go through a lot of hardship just to get here, and all to support their families, which in itself is noble. But why come here through illegal means? That’s what I don’t get.

I’ve heard the horror stories of when these folks will try to get here through “coyotes”, which are basically people who are hired to smuggle them into the U.S. I’ve heard how these coyotes will charge a lot and then abandon them once they’ve got their money, and again it makes me ask, why go through that?

So when I’m asked if I am opposed to immigration even if they don’t always come through legal means, I respond by asking, “Why would I be in favor of people going through the risks of hiring out the services of a ‘coyote’ when coyotes not only rob them of the large sums of money they paid, but whom also would abandon them at the first sign of trouble?”

I then add, “And why would I be in favor of illegal immigrants being hired by an American company that not only knows that they are in the country illegally, but also takes advantage of it? American companies can underpay them and not provide basic benefits that we take for granted, such as overtime and health insurance. If the workers complain, then they are only a phone call away to the Immigration Dept. from being deported.”

So with that, why would I favor these people putting themselves through unnecessary risks, when they can greatly benefit from going through the correct process of becoming an American citizen? It’s like being in favor of people jumping over lava pits when they can just take the bridge over the lava pit. In this analogy, who would favor others leaping over lava pits when they don’t have to?

And by going through this the right way, they stand to benefit from all that our great country offers. So I ask you, why would favor the path that is fraught with danger to life and limb, and the virtual guarantee of being exploited by an American company even if they did make it across? To me this is a no-brainer issue.

By going through the proper channels, then the immigration debate ceases to be a debate. The only ones who would favor keeping these immigrants in peril and being exploited are those who benefit from their being put in danger and being exploited. I won’t name the party who would favor the current ways of doing things, but I bet that you can figure it out.

That party simply wants their votes, and you can bet that if the illegal immigrants that are at the center of this "debate" voted for the opposite party, then the first party would be the ones building fences and advocating deportations. So with that, ask yourself if that party deserves your vote this coming November.

And a Happy Belated 4th of July to you all!

No comments: