I’m not really surprised at Senator McCain’s statement of "If you have a large bloc of Americans who believe that you are trying to keep their ... fellow Hispanics down and deprive them of an opportunity, obviously that's going to have an effect." It’s actually kind of refreshing to see this entire debate labeled for what it is, pandering for votes. If the Republican Party goes along with this they stand to lose all respect from their base while alienating that all-important Hispanic vote this position courts.
There is no question that immigration reform is desperately needed. However, the proposals now floating around the Halls of Congress to one degree or another contain provisions that can rightly be termed amnesty. The problem is, we’ve done this before and it didn’t work out too well for what was then the future, our present. The simple test is to answer the question, Are there are more people illegally in this country now that at any time in our recent, or even not so recent past?
The plight of illegal immigrants is shocking. They leave a place where there is no hope to come here, live on the edges of society and consider themselves better off, are in fact often better off. That is a reality we as human beings must recognize; even the most deplorable living conditions here are often leaps and bounds ahead of the standard conditions in the places from which they’ve fled.
But there is one, indisputable fact. There are millions around the world languishing in equally inhumane conditions, waiting, hoping, dreaming and working to come here legally. Why is it good and right to reward those who break the rules, cut the line and begin the path to a better life here in America as criminals? How is this fair, right or just to those who are legally waiting their turn? And why do we want to reward those who choose not to obey our laws from the moment they set foot in our country?
Illegal Aliens are Criminals
Calling illegal aliens criminals may seem harsh, but it is nothing more than the simple truth. Entering or remaining in the U.S without legal paperwork is a crime. The vast majority may be otherwise law-abiding, but it does not change this fact. It is like saying the guy who drives drunk hasn’t broken any other laws and should not be labeled a criminal because it is only one, or one set of laws that he violated.
Is there any other class of criminals we are looking at giving a pass? Actually, in a sense, there is. Colorado and Oregon have de-criminalized marijuana; it is no longer a crime punishable by law to possess or use some quantities of this drug. However, anyone currently in the penal system for having violated the previous law is not suddenly issued a get-out-of-jail-free card. They broke what was then the law, they suffer the consequences. If they did the same thing today under the new law it may not be a crime and therefore not prosecutable. But they did not do the deed today, they did it in the past when the law was different.
If we pass any type of legislation that grandfathers in those in violation of current or previous immigration law, why aren’t we also doing the same with those convicted of previously existent laws in drug cases? What is the difference?
Many argue that in the case of immigration laws, there are innocent children, and it is the plight of these kids we are attempting to address. Children brought to this country by their parents had no control, and it is not fair to punish them for the misdeeds of their parents, it is argued. I agree it is not fair, but it is not we who put them in this position.
Then again, if we once again grant amnesty to illegals, we are responsible. We did this before, this granting of legal status to those who arrived or remained here illegally. The net result is even more who came or remained with the hope that one day, by squatting here with their children, they too could be granted permanent residency.
So, I guess it is our fault, our responsibility. Why don’t we just hang a sign on Lady Liberty that says, “Ignore our immigration laws. We do. And don’t forget to register to vote.”