Saturday, August 27, 2011

Illegal Immigration and Immigrant Illegitimacy -- and What to Do about it

A response to a report on So Cal Connected "The Border Between Them":

It is shameful, if not out right dangerous, for a married couple to enter the United States illegally, knowing full well the laws in place to discourage such behavior, and the consequences of getting caught.

If they refuse to wait in line to naturalize like the large number of huddled masses seeking freedom, then there is no guilt or shame in sending them back.

The situation, at least emotionally, becomes more complicated when the couple brings children, born in their home country, to the United States.

Those babies grow up as Americans in the United States, even though they are still illegal aliens. The tragedy, at least for the children, is that they did not ask to come into this country illegally, nor did they have any say in the matter. They were forced to take on the status of illegitimacy.

Yet Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) and other anti-illegal immigration politicians are right to stand their ground on the issue. If the parents entered the country illegally, then they need to leave. They need to get back in line, they need to enter and apply for citizenship legally.

Still, the emotional toil of witnessing parents taken from their children is heart-breaking. For children to be informed that they will be forced to leave the country because they are in this country illegally, through no will or fault of their own, is terrible.

Yet the blame cannot rest on the shoulders of the state and local governments, which have a right and duty to enforce their borders and the immigration laws of this nation. The United States has prospered because it is a nation under the rule of law, with a rich legacy of promoting individual freedom and civil rights, especially against the encroachment of the government. A nation ceases to be a nation under the rule of law if if permits unfettered immigration, in which the proper authorities are unable to evaluate the efficacy or wisdom in

Nor should the blame rest on the children, although they ultimately bare the brunt of the illegal actions of their parents.

If anyone should be held morally culpable for this tragic situation, it must be the couple, the parents who entered the country illegally in the first place. Shamelessly did they sneak into the country, openly flouting the law of the land though hiding in the shadows. They must have known, or at least have engaged in the back of their minds, that there would always be the possibility of being caught and sent back. They must have, or at least should have considered the impact that such an outcome would have on their children, whether legal or illegal.

Yet they took the risk, nonetheless.

I believe that Judge Gray's placing the full blame on the state is unjustified, if not unconscionable. Whatever the motives may be for members of Congress to refuse to act on this issue, the deliberate dysfunction of the federal government alone should not be the only source for blame. Twice before, in 2005 and 2007, Congress attempted to draft legislation, with some offering a time-table for which immigrants would be allowed to pay a fine versus those who would be required to leave.

Yet in spite of the rhetoric and emotion which colors this debate, the law is the law. If illegals choose to skirt the law and enter this country illegal, they do so at their own risk, and they should be held fully accountable, especially for endangering the welfare and safety of their own children, whether they were also brought into this country illegally, or to make matters more complicated, they were born here and are natural citizens.

There are some options for mitigating the long-term problems associated with this issue:

Why is it so difficult to become a naturalized citizen in the United States? The process for naturalization must be streamlined to permit future citizens to learn English, understand the laws and customs of this country, appreciate the rule of law, and then make themselves at home. The current cost and time is so great, than many would rather take the risk of getting caught and sneak in to the country.

The welfare state is a draw for illegal immigrants, regardless of what Judge Gray says. An open immigration policy and a generous welfare state simply cannot coexist in one country. Dismantle the welfare state, simplify the naturalization process, and the laws of supply and demand will moderate the levels of immigration entering this country.

Support free market policies in other nations: yes, a long shot at best, especially for near-failed states like Mexico, which cannot defend their people from narco-thugs who intimidate entire states and police departments. Still, the United States cannot be in the business of propping up rogue leaders and failed nations with international loans, only to see the money squandered on military equipment and larger security forces, none of which protect the people or root out the deeper causes of political dysfunction.

End the drug war. No policy has more failed to live up to its outstanding goals and expectations than the ongoing attempt to curb the harvesting and distribution of illegal drugs. By rolling back this failed policy around the world, at least from the United States, citizens in impoverished nations would be less pressured to leave their countries because of political instability.

Other proposals include offering a guest-worker program, which would permit citizens of another country to enter periodically to accomplish available labor, then return back to their home countries. This option, though controversial, would allow businesses to capitalize on the cheap labor to accomplish tasks which other Americans are not willing to do. The security issues and the moral-political implications of along a sub-strata of individuals to enter the country at length, however, do pose greater difficulties requiring further consideration.

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