First I want to say that the mainstream media has done all of us a disservice on this issue. A wall isn’t racist, neither is wanting to curb immigration. And I completely sympathize with people who feel they have been taken advantage of by elites who don’t seem to care that an immigrant might compete with them for the same job.
And I also sympathize with the child who was brought here against their will as a child, grew up here, speaks perfect english, may be friends with your son or daughter (you may not even know they are undocumented), and knows no other culture. I think both are important.
I don’t think this is a political issue. It is a human issue, both for the citizen and for the undocumented immigrant.
When I propose a humane solution apart from deporting all undocumented immigrants, there is often someone who replies, “it’s the law so we must deport them… and that is the end of it.”
I think this response misses important points, and here’s why…
1. Laws can be changed
Almost everyone has laws they disagree with. For example, if you support deportation, do you also support the legality of abortion? Or do you think that should be changed? Do you think states should have the right to decide? Do you have any other laws you think should be gotten rid of or new laws you think should be added?
Laws are made to be changed. If a law is unjust it is our moral obligation to modify or eliminate it. Just because it is a law doesn’t make it a law that should be kept. It could be that it ought to be changed.
2. Many laws are selectively enforced
I don’t know about you but I usually go about 5 mph over the speed limit. I’m breaking the law but even when I pass a policeman they don’t pull me over. They recognize that I’m not a danger to society and that laws are selectively enforced.
When I was younger I remember it looked like a car was following me. I started to freak out and sped up really fast and rolled through some stop signs to escape.
Turns out it was a police officer in an undercover car. When he pulled me over he recognized I was just a kid that did something silly. He chose not to give me the large number of tickets he could have but he let me off with a warning.
It makes me think of the immigrant who came here without documents. Unlike me just doing something silly out of fear, many of them were fleeing rational fear… of violence in their country. Or they came because they had to feed their families.
And after Americans hire them & they are here for 40 years until they are elderly, we have a choice of what to do when we pull them over. The law didn’t oblige that police officer to give me a bunch of tickets & it doesn’t oblige us to deport someone who has been a part of our society for most of their lives. It is a choice, not the law.
3. Many Laws no one follows exist
We’ve probably all heard someone list off, “funny laws” but these are actually laws… they just aren’t enforced. For example, in Montana 7 or more Native Americans together are considered a war party… and you can shoot them. In Nevada it is illegal to buy drinks for more than three people at a time!
This shows that, “it’s the law” doesn’t mean that enforcing it, or keeping it on the books is the right thing to do.
4. The Moral Law is Higher
It is a crucial principle of morality that the moral law (and as I see it, God’s law) is higher than human laws. Without this principle we would have to let off the Nazis who ran concentration camps. They followed the law. We also could never have the civil rights movement which used nonviolent civil disobedience (breaking laws).
One is obligated to change laws to make them better, or selectively enforce them when they aren’t in harmony with the moral law.
5. We can curb immigration without mass deportation
The mainstream media thrives on conflict. So they put some uber-liberal and make him debate some uber-conservative. They make you think it is either let everyone in the US… have open borders, or deport everyone.
And tragically, lost in all of this, is a kid who is a US citizen, crying at school because his undocumented parents might be taken away from him. Or a child, a human being… who was brought here against their will before they can even remember, and who knows no other culture, and may not survive in a third world country.
Or even parents who came here knowingly, and spent every last penny getting here because they love their families, escaping war or violence or famine, and who have been here for the last 30 years, paying taxes without being able to call the police if they are victimized.
Or the US citizen with US citizen parents whose child is best friends with an undocumented immigrant’s son. Who wont come out to play any more because the greatest fear of any child, losing his parents, is tormenting his innocent soul.
There are real options that are fair to all sides. But they just aren’t as exciting as watching two extremes debate each other. For example, people who were approved under DACA had to prove with extensive documentation that, as the LA Times describes,
“…they had to have been born after June 15, 1981, and brought here before their 16th birthday, and must not have dropped out of school or committed serious crimes. Nor may they pose a national security or public safety risk. Those who have received DACA status already are, by and large, contributing members of society (some even have served in the military).”
These are people who came here as children, against their will, and are productive members of society. What if we gave them and others who have been here for years and years, legal status and also secured the border at the same time? Build a 100 foot wall if you want. That is nothing like open borders. It is more like a reasonable humane solution. A win-win situation.