I want to explore the illegal immigration issue for a little bit. There are many millions of illegal immigrants here in the U.S. Additionally, many immigrants here “legally” are citizens because they were born here (to illegal parents) or married a citizen. I don’t have a problem with people born here being citizens, regardless of their parental citizenship; it is in the Constitution (specifically, Amendment 14: “Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside”). Of course, the Constitution can be changed (amended) – Amendment 14 was not in the original Constitution; it could theoretically be reversed with a new amendment (I’m not advocating that but with enough support it could happen).
So what do we do about the millions of illegals in the country? They pay sales taxes and a few pay income taxes. They also pay property taxes – directly or indirectly (via rent). There is however, the utilization of government-provided services – schools, roads, health care, and so forth. I don’t really want to get into the economics of the issue. I want to address amnesty.
Many proponents of amnesty say it is the compassionate way. After all, if we deport illegal immigrants, we’re going to rip parents and children apart as we ship the parents back to their home countries. Of course, most parents and childred will not want to be separated. That means that this will lead to the de facto deportation of many children – who are U.S. citizens. Should the sin of the parents be upon the heads of the children? These are some of the arguments that proponents of amnesty make. They are valid arguments. However, is it really compassionate to declare amnesty for illegal immigrants? What about the millions of people who are trying to get in the country legally? Is it compassionate to effectually punish them for trying to come here legally?
Providing blanket amnesty as many Democrats and people like McCain want to do is like store security watching 250 people enter a store early on Black Friday and not only letting them stay but also giving them prizes for their efforts while all the people in line watch in disbelief. Pretty quickly many people in the legitimate line will either think they should have just done what the other people did and cheat. Giving blanket amnesty would seriously interfere with legal immigration processing, at least for a couple years while all the illegals got sorted out. Again, it’s not compassionate to indirectly punish those who are trying to enter the country legally. Even giving illegal immigrants their number at the back of the immigration line while staying in the country on temporary visas interferes with legal immigration and only encourages illegal immigration. If amnesty is granted once, many people will believe that it will be granted again; the influx of illegal immigrants will keep going, even with beefed up border security. After all, there’s no real punishment for their crime. I’m not debating whether or not there should be illegal immigration or not but as our laws stand, it is a criminal offense to enter the U.S. illegally and worthy of jail and deportation.
I recognize that the question of illegal immigration is tough and many politicians grapple with it. On one hand it seems heartless to throw so many people out of the country when many of them have families here and work in many of our less-desirable jobs. On the other hand, they usually don’t pay income tax and a sizable portion of their pay is under-the-table. Illegal immigrants pay a lot of taxes on consumables and housing but they also utilize many government-funded programs. Because they are here illegally, most can’t get health insurance or other types of insurance. Most can’t legally receive driver’s licenses. When they get sick, they don’t usually go to doctors, rather to emergency rooms, which cannot deny them. Without automobile insurance any accident-related expenses they are in become the responsibility of the other drivers’ insurance companies to cover (assuming the individual has un- or under-insured coverage). This raises insurance rates for everyone. However, most illegal immigrants are hard-workers and good people. Some are exploited by their employers but many are not. The problem is that they are here illegally.
Amnesty is an answer tot he problem but it is not the best answer. It rewards illegal behavior and while hiding behind the smiling mask of compassion it spits on those waiting to enter the country legally. We can’t just immediately deport all illegals without considering individual circumstances. Also, many employers would have serious shortages of workers (initially), seriously hurting much of our food and farming industries. As such, we need a graduated and conscientious deportation system. They could then all go get in the back of the line to enter the country legally if they want to do so. We might even temporarily increase the rate of legal immigration – without giving special privileges to people who were here illegally. That is the truly compassionate way of dealing with illegal immigration because it also considers the needs of all those who are taking the legal route to immigration. We don’t want to scare off those who want to enter legally. We are a nation with many immigrants but we are not a nation solely of immigrants. Many of us have ancestors who came to America from Europe almost 400 years ago; in other words, we’ve been here for a long time. Immigration was a different issue back then than it is today. It was even a different issue 60 years ago. We still welcome immigrants and the skills, culture, and diversity that they bring. We just want to make sure that they come here legally.