On Immigration, Law and Family

Knowing the subject I am about to discuss to be a touchy one for a lot of folks out there, I will make a couple of important disclaimers.

To begin with, let me say that I know the United States of America to be a nation literally built by and on immigrants. Some of those “immigrants” were slaves, some not. All contributed greatly to the country we now know as the U.S.

Secondly, it’s important to realize that immigration is still a significant part of the U.S. There can be no denying that immigration has led to improvements and enhancements to the United States, nor would any sane person wish to attempt to imply such was the case.

Finally, we must distinguish between legal and illegal immigration. In fact, most of what is said in this post, will be based on the presupposition that we are talking about illegal immigration.

Legal immigration has its problems, but most of them are rooted in the fact that the system itself is broken (that—partially because of the illegal immigration problem the U.S. currently faces—the system is often far too hard on those attempting to legally enter the country, for example). Even so, the larger and more immediate problem in my view, is definitely illegal immigration. Without fixing illegal immigration, it is unreasonable to assume many fixes to legal immigration will occur.

Having issued my caveats, allow me now to say a couple of things that are significant.

There are parts of my family that are Hispanic. I find them to be no better or worse, by and large, than any other part of my family. Put simply, there are good, bad, and more often than not somewhere in between folks in that part of the family, just as with any other.

I can fairly make similar statements about the “Korean contingent” (my older two children being half Korean, I have, therefor, family that is Korean).

The only reason that I am more prone to talk about the Hispanic immigrant population more than pretty much any other, is that the U.S. is having its greatest problem with illegal Hispanic immigrants. This should not be a surprise, since a large part of the Americas is comprised of folks whose family origins are largely out of Spain and Portugal.

Anybody with any sense probably ought to realize that, if the population of the Americas in general were made up of a more diverse set of ethnicities, we would almost certainly see the same issues with more folks of those other ethnicities (there are arguments to the effect that this would not be the case, I refuse to even attempt to entertain them here). My reason for “laboring this point,” is to make it entirely clear that I have no belief that the reason we see so many Hispanic folks being “dealt with” where illegal immigration is concerned is not a matter of discrimination of some sort.

Am I saying no discrimination of that sort is happening? No. The reality is, there will always be people who will abuse systems in place to further their own agendas. And when such occurs, it must be dealt with.

The point though, is that Hispanic folks are generally not being targeted as a function or matter of discrimination, but as a matter of being the most numerous offenders of breach of immigration law. And again, this is true because of the large number of Hispanic folks in the Americas, as much as if not more than any other factor.

As usual though, one of my primary disagreements with some folks, is the appeal to emotion in order to try to justify the flouting of laws.

One excellent example can be found in statements like, “You know your uncle Olaf came to the U.S. illegally from Sweden, right? Don’t you love your uncle Olaf?”

On seeing such arguments, I replace “came to the U.S. Illegally from Sweden” with something like, “sold cocaine illegally,” or “robbed banks,” or “was a serial killer who killed seventeen people,” or even “made his ‘living’ breaking into the houses of the good citizens of (your city name here).”

The obvious question (to me at least) is, “Does the fact that I don’t support uncle Olaf in his commission of crimes mean that I don’t love uncle Olaf?”

Perhaps if I were a great deal younger or less experienced, I might have a hard time separating concerns, and as a result, answering this question. Since neither is true, that is not the case. Further, I doubt most folks would have a problem with answering the question either.

Uncle Olaf may well be a criminal, but he’s still my uncle and as such, it’s likely that I still love him. Does that mean I (if I’m sure uncle Olaf acted criminally) don’t want to “see justice done?” Perhaps regrettably for uncle Olaf, as a rule, no it does not. If Olaf “did the crime,” he probably should get ready to “do the associated time.” And if that means sitting in a jail cell, or being ferried back across the border, maybe I will go and visit him (assuming I am able). Regardless all else though, barring extenuating circumstances, if Olaf is guilty, as a rule, pay he must. That is, after all, the point of the “equal protection clause” of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That is, that others will receive equal protection against Olaf’s criminal actions.

And it doesn’t matter if it’s dear uncle Olaf, or even dearer (and more directly in my lineage) Abuela Rosita, my interest ought to be in seeing laws enforced and justice done.

One quick additional thought. It’s entirely possible that Abuela Rosita came to the U.S. in circumstances that today, would be illegal. To begin with, that does not mean at the time she did so that was the case. Additionally, for pretty much every crime, there is a statute of limitations—a time after which, even if the crime is acknowledged to have occurred, no action will be taken. Further, in many instances, Abuela Rosita has long since passed on and is therefor no longer subject to “earthly laws.” Because this is true, it’s pretty much impossible to “go after” her.

Should others suffer as a result of her actions? They might do so, but not by intent of the law as a general matter.

Okay, as usual, more to say than “space” in which to say it. As such, let me bid you a fine day and thank you profusely for having read my little ramble.

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