See Disclaimer. See also Celebrating immigration, this 4th of July and A naturalized citizen’s view on immigration and beyond.
Illegal immigration is a complex issue. The vast majority of illegal immigrants are attracted to the US by a mix of desperation in their home countries, and visions of the American Dream. Once here, they most often help fill important labor gaps in niche areas of our economy.
As a country, we have benefitted from their labor. Some employers—in key sectors of the economy, such as agriculture and the food industry—strategize around the availability of this (cheap) labor, with varying degrees of exploitation involved.
Perhaps partially because of all this, the law considers the unauthorized crossing of the border a misdemeanor, rather than a felony. Certainly because of all this, concepts such as amnesty and path to citizenship have and should be discussed in the context of a much needed immigration reform.
None of this means that laws should not be enforced. It also does not mean that there are no real felons among illegal immigrants. But enforcement should be done with criterion and humanity. Never as an intimidation tactic or for political gain.
The ICE raids scheduled for this weekend come across as a political stunt, aimed at strengthening this president’s support among his base, while terrorizing and de-humanizing migrants. That’s morally wrong and profoundly inconsistent with what we are as Americans.
It would do us well, as a nation, to remember that we were envisioned by our Founding Fathers as a land of freedom and opportunity, where we could find shelter from prosecution, and could prosper through our individual and collective labor.
Thank you, Antonio, for taking the time to write and explain such a complex and important issue. We can do better and the Trump Administration should be ashamed. Greg Walden can do more!! We can not let up on our disgust of how migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are treated!! America MUST do better!!