For over 200 years, the US border with Mexico was wide open, with laborers crossing and working at will, and with little apparent harm (if not benefit) to this country. So, what happened to justify the current cry against undocumented immigrants, when in reality they subsidize many of our industries?
I have been practicing immigration law for two decades and have yet to encounter a case where I felt that undocumented immigrants are hired for cheap labor. Almost all of my encounters involved employers hiring them for their hard work.
Many claim that immigrants steal American jobs. If so, then this country would be the poorest since it accepts millions of immigrants yearly. The reality is that immigrants, legal or not, bring jobs with them. They quickly become consumers needing housing, furniture, transportation, and so on. Their needs stimulate the economy.
Some contend that illegal immigrants broke our laws. But, many came as kids and thus, are not responsible for their parents’ actions. Slightly less than half entered the country legally but overstayed, which is not a crime. Those who entered through the borders committed a misdemeanor, a legally light offense.
Some wonder why immigrants do not come legally, as those before them did. What they do not know is that our ancestors came under a prior, more humane law, which was toughened in 1996. If we had always had today’s law, very few of us would be here.
Legalizing the status of undocumented immigrants does not necessarily mean citizenship. It does mean stopping the destruction of families. Almost 3 million US kids have undocumented parents who live in fear of deportation. We are spending huge resources to destroy families and create a generation of kids with psychological problems.
Even for those without families in the US, many are working hard to support their families and kids overseas. The few dollars they send to their kids help reduce their horrible poverty. Isn’t that what Christians ought to celebrate?
The current immigration debate in our country seems to me to be based not on logic, but on opportunism, where some politicians use fear to scare us against those who look different, and thus get votes as tough protectors of our society.
Some who oppose any relief for the illegal immigrants are the same who confess to be Christian guardians of family moral values. But, Jesus asked us to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless when we see one, and did not exclude those who lack legal papers!
Undocumented immigrants are in the millions. We should not treat them all the same way. We need solutions that take into account their specifics circumstances. Many came as kids. Others came when our borders were porous. If we want to be tough, we should not penalize those who came when we needed them, and for whom we looked the other way when they entered.