Our immigration policy is in serious need of reform and our President, like some before him is talking about what we need and like those before him, our society is at odds with itself with what and how to do it. Before I get into that, let me make clear what I'm not saying in this article.
I'm not saying:
- All immigrants are bad people in the context of human nature.
- All immigrants are illegal.
- All illegal immigrants are from Mexico.
- All illegal immigrants are lazy.
- All illegal immigrants don't contribute.
- All illegal immigrants are uneducated.
I'd also appreciate if readers would refrain from the ridiculous link between anti-illegal immigrant and being a racist. As an example, illegal immigrants and my personal distaste for them has nothing to do with their point of origin, their culture, or the color of their skin. As a matter of fact, my personal distaste is confined specifically to "illegal". I too know many hardworking, honest, and 'fun to be around' Mexicans... just like I know Virginians, Californian, Colombian, Cuban, German, Blacks, Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Pagans, Wiccans, Autistic, Paraplegic, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgendered, Civilian and Military that fall into the same categories. Yes, I know a lot of people and see more I don't on a daily basis. However, statistically a vast majority of the illegal immigrant population originates south of the US border. It should not surprise nor offend anyone that those illegal immigrants are the most talked about group since they make up a majority of the immigration problem. It's not a racial thing by any means and I honestly become really annoyed at the fact some people try to paint others in a racist light about it. Anyway...
I say these things up front because it is very easy for some people to lose sight of the underlying facts in my case of the cause. Many times in the responses to this topic, people revert to calling others racist, fascist, and without historical perspective. Even if the original topic or debate is not about any of that, someone, somewhere pops up and links some ridiculous 'ism' to a general group of people and tries to argue a point over something someone never said.
As the claim goes the United States was founded and built by immigrants; that without immigrants the United States wouldn't have progressed as it did. That claim, whether you side with the illegal immigrants or not, is 100% true. The earliest ancestor I was able to trace back in my family was named Eli Tobias, and he immigrated to the US in the 1700's. Everyone who is not 100% Native American in this country has an immigrant ancestor. Some things people discover about their family will make them proud and others ashamed. My family owned slaves. I've seen a letter written to members of my family asking to return to the farm for work and shelter after being freed and how the life they were promised wasn't what happened. Nothing is spotless in family history and since this nation is made up of her people, the history of this nation is not spotless. But, it is what it is.
Long ago, early settlers were immigrants from England. Our forefathers fled Europe to seek a better life, to escape persecution, and to flourish under a new set of rules devised by a list of things they wanted and things they didn't want. In that process and over the course of time it resulted in the near eradication of the indigenous people in North America, the American Indians. Today, almost all of their culture and every bit of their land is gone. But, there's nothing anyone can do about it now and while hindsight is 20/20 it really has little to do with the current immigration issues we're facing in the 21st century. Since it is used as a wedge in the argument to gain ground on the pro-immigration side, I'll debate it anyway.
Yes, immigrants built a lot of what we have - those immigrants were from all over. Some from China, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Mexico, Cuba, Africa, and Canada and those immigrants are now dead. Everyone in this country is descended from an immigrant, who in some way or another contributed to the country. Where we begin to be different is that most of the immigrants that built this country, stayed and enjoyed it, tried to enjoy it, or died before they could. The people living in this country now, the natural citizens, are products of the ones that built the country. The ones immigrating illegally, most of them if any have no stake in the claim that 'they' helped build anything.
What it boils down to is that this facet of the debate is akin to saying "My grandfather built the house you live in, and even though he sold the house and traded the work for money, I've got the right to come on in and live in one of the rooms"
"But, why not?"
I can hear people thinking it even though in these terms it's pretty obvious why not.
Why not is because if that were the case, and that is how it worked, in the constant social push for 'equal rights' then anyone linked to someone that beget anything would have rights to it by simple relation or ancestral contribution. We have to make our own way so long as it fits within the confines of what is legally allowed in the US.
Even back in the pioneering days when this country was seeing a lot of its industrial boom happening, immigrant workers were given some form of restitution. It may not have been fair, it may not have been money but they managed to eat and have some kind of shelter which was apparently more than what it was they had wherever they were before immigrating. For their work they were given something. When I work for people, I am paid for what I doâ¦ it is an exchange for the labor or materials involved - a trade. Once I received payment or restitution, I no longer had rights to what it was I built. If I wanted it back I was expected to pay for it, or earn it in some fashion.
"You're living off of the contributions and inherited the contributions made by immigrant workers"
Yes, I am. You are. They are. Immigrants who stayed after their contribution passed on the rewards to their children. The point of the work was to have something long standing to be used from the point of completion until it was no longer useful or practical. It's a perk of being born here. The small handful that left made the choice on their own and if their children want to claim part of it, fine but do so through the proper means. It's really not too much to demand (because frankly, asking anything of anyone interjects the possibility of an option remember this, I'll cover it later).
Immigrants made an investment and for some it paid off, and others it didn't. I guess another way to think of it is the way you'd think of a poker game. All players add to the pot. It's not going to pay off for every player. If you get up from the table early (go back to the country of origin) you can't turn around and expect the pot winner to give some of that money back since the size of their winnings is a direct result of your input. Any investment is a risk, and even when there is a return it may not be substantial.
I've heard the argument that "Humans can't be illegal". On the face of the statement, no they can't be. But, humans aren't being illegalized. Immigrants are not placed in a class based on the their species in anyway. Their judged by their actions and some of them choose illegal actions therefore become labeled "illegal". Immigrants who choose to follow the rules set forth in which to come and live in America as a member of our society are simply "immigrants". So you see, the talking point that "humans can't be illegal" is in my opinion nothing more than shadow boxing - a point that really doesn't exist. It's not illegal to be Black, Muslim, or Gay... and it is not illegal to be an immigrant. It is however to be a murdering Gay, a terrorist Muslim, and a Black rapist.... the point is that it isn't the "gay" or "Black" or "Muslim" that makes those individuals 'illegal" - it's the actions that bring about the label. I would hope that people who make this argument stop for a moment and be happy that for a change, there are judgments being made based not on who or what someone is (Mexican or Immigrant), but by their actions. It's really a huge social step that's being overlooked.
Another commonly used debate point is that illegal immigrants are at a disadvantage because it is not their fault they were born into the situations and countries they were born into. Again, this is true but not very valid. I understand the concept of being a shield and wanting to provide and protect others I was a soldier once I understand that sentiment very, very well. It however, becomes increasingly hard to be efficient at doing so if there are too many people to protect and too many people to protect that defy the rules in place to help you protect others. I can't sit and say "it's ok to break the rules in place to protect people" and then use those rules to protect people who broke them. And, yes, it does suck that we can't protect everyone, but protecting some of the people is much better than allowing the rules to become invalid and being able to protect no one.
Those who immigrate, be it legally or illegally really didn't choose to be born where they were any more than anyone chose the color of their skin. But the point as it is used lends itself to imply that it could be changed. I can't think of anyone who ever asked to be born with Leukemia. Now, I'm pretty sure that the person with Leukemia would love to just get some matching bone marrow but just because they didn't choose to have Leukemia isn't a very good reason to just demand someone give them bone marrow and no reason at all to just take it. They have to ask, and follow procedures even in a dire situation such as that.
Another way to look at it is this: Women don't ask to look a certain way. They don't choose at birth to be 36-24-36 and while they're probably not going to complain about it, some of them have to work at it to get there and or keep it. Because they've worked at it or were graced with it (among other reasons, but for the sake of this particular point I'll not get into the other things), it is at their discretion that someone else be able to also enjoy it up close and personal. I'm a guy who doesn't regularly turn heads and superficially speaking couldn't be with someone of the aforementioned figure, yet I want that figure. Should I take it? No, we call that rape. Why should immigration be different?
Saying that someone didn't choose to be born in or with a certain life is very a poor qualifier to allow someone to get what they want just because they want it. I want an Aston Martin DB9â¦ but I can't find anyone willing to just hand me the keys (at least just because I don't make enough to get it the way the rules dictate).
The message this argument sends out to people is that if the rules are unsatisfactory then change the rules. It is unfair in that the ones who did what they were supposed to no longer have a reward, they've just been screwed and we'll end up with an increasing number of people who find the rules pointless. By allowing people to break the rules simply because they don't like the rules or because they feel the rules are too hard to follow isn't a good reason to bypass the rules and the problem becomes recursive and inflating. I really hate paying taxes, but I pay them. Why? Because, those are the rules. I'll work and vote to change that or at least change what I'm taxed on and by how much, but simply not paying taxes gets me in trouble.
I'm not saying that we should follow every rule set there are bad and stupid rules in place. In this case though, the rules that are bad and stupid are not bad and stupid because a growing number of people disagree with them, they are bad and stupid because a growing number of people find a way to sidestep them and take what they want instead of earn what they deserve or the rules have become outdated and archaic (like the rule that only so many sheep are allowed on the DC streets at one time, or how in one state it’s illegal to have a horse in a bathtub). We're at a point where asking isn't working and as a rule it is better to ask than to demand (in-line with "you attract more flies with honey that with vinegar"), but it is because we've asked people to follow the rules and so many have not that asking them becomes an inside joke, thus the rules seem pointless. The answer is not becoming more lax with the rules the answer is increasing the volume of demands. Colleges don't just let anyone in to get the level of education they offer you have to compete and pay and then work really hard to walk away with an 8X10 piece of paper proving you did what you were supposed to the way you were supposed to do it. It's not easy, and it's not always fair, and it isn't supposed to be. And, when it's all over you take that piece of paper and get a job, a good job, being good at whatever it is you do and you watch your college progress, their sports teams win, their various departments impact the world and are prideful of your affiliation. Why? Because you worked for it, you earned it, and you walk among the world as a member of a group that you had to prove you were worthy to be a member, It's why doctors hang diplomas from Johns Hopkins, Lawyers from Harvard, Engineers from MIT, and Artists from SCAD or Corcoran and immigration is no different.