What’s Being Overlooked In The Immigration Debate


By: Robert E. Meyer

I have heard it said that big problems are really just little problems that were neglected when they were small. Never was a truer word spoken in regards to the current immigration imbroglio. Years of neglecting the problem have made it nearly insurmountable now.

Since there is a voting block to lose in the process of making one false move on the immigration front, many Republicans have taken a surprising stance in opposition of their constituents. But one thing is abundantly clear: conservatives can’t win this issue trying to imitate the positions of liberals.

Liberals have attempted to strike their philosophical touche by claiming that those who support cracking down on illegal aliens, would take care of the problem at ground zero on the demand side if they were really concerned about stopping illegal entry into the U.S. This means enforcement against companies that hire illegal aliens out of willful expedience. If there are no employment opportunities, then they will not come, so to speak.

There seems to be a major push for granting a quasi-amnesty for the illegal aliens in this country. Various reasons are given for such compliance. Those coming over the border from Mexico and Central America will do jobs that fifth-generation Americans wouldn’t do during their worst nightmares, we are told. We are reminded they are hard working people. We are told they will help to prop up the Social Security system, etc. Politicians also remind us of the impracticality of rounding up 12 million plus illegal aliens and sending them back over the border. All of these points may be well and true, but do they justify breaking and ignoring current law? If I was in their shoes, would I do the same. Perhaps, but what other country would tolerate it? What other country could withstand the humanitarian onslaught stretching their social safety net?

Many of the political leaders want a comprehensive immigration bill. Those opposed to the current congressional legislation see the need to emphasize a policy puts national security first, even if the immigration fiasco is dealt with in various stages. That means a serious plan to seal the borders is priority one.

I believe President Bush is wrong on immigration. Sen. Ted Kennedy was dead wrong when he backed the grandfather and patriarch of our current immigration bill in 1965, saying that the things which are now happening, would never occur because of that legislation. President Reagan was wrong when he signed the Simpson-Mazzoli bill, thinking that the provisions of it would actually be obeyed, and that it would be a once-and-for-all amnesty event. And considering the past, why should we believe the currently proposed legislation will be enforced in its entirety either?

The temptation for those who are unable to articulate good arguments in favor of the amnesty-leaning position, is to simply demean the opponents by calling them racist, or hate mongers.

Concerning the local level, some leaders in the church have been among the greatest facilitators in this matter. David Zubik, the Bishop of the Green Bay diocese impugned those who would be unwilling to accept illegal immigration with outstretched arms.

In his latest installment of trying to shame those who oppose our governmental policy of unilaterally ignoring their own laws, Bishop Zubik compared his opponents favorably with the racial sensitivity of Archie Bunker. A defender of the Bishop, in knee-jerk fashion, suggested that those who disagree with his position are disseminating hatred. This is primarily in reference to the support of a proposed local ordinance that would penalize businesses who hire illegal aliens. Again, the reason for local action is due to negligence and indifference of the issue at the federal level.

On the other hand, the chief problem is a misunderstanding by Zubic, regarding the issue of biblical jurisdiction, between the civil and ecclesiastical spheres. As a result, he expects the state to do the charity and relief job the church and its members ought to be doing.

The role of the church is to provide help to those in need, and there is no international boundary on that mission. Christians should help people less fortunate though voluntary work and donations. However the church should not circumvent existing immigration laws, or deliberately promote illegal immigration. It is easy to have mixed feelings as one contemplates the biblical demand to aid the sojourner and alien. But when does the “flight of refugees” become an invasion that threatens the country’s future, security and stability? Why are there no statesmen condemning the political corruption and economic travesty that causes so many to want to flee their native lands? Any thoughts of fairness in terms of reciprocity would be quickly dispelled by viewing Mexico’s formal immigration policy laws.

We often hear the “anti-imperialists” ask if everyone has to be just like us. Well, as a matter of fact, they don’t. But for all America’s shortcomings, we see the tragedy that occurs because many countries aren’t a little more like us in economic prowess and opportunity. If we are going to export anything, it ought to be the better angels within our system of government and ethic of liberty.

How many people can a lifeboat hold before it sinks or capsizes and all inhabitants perish? Notice that the lifeboats on the Titanic rowed a ways from the sinking ship. This was not because the people who weren’t in the lifeboats were not worth saving. The problem is that a lifeboat may support 60 people, but if 200 scramble to get on board out of desperation, perhaps it will sink, and nobody will survive.

While many illegal aliens contribute to the American economy, others put a fatal stranglehold on the resources of our social safety net. This is not compassion for naturalized citizens who are then deprived. The last time I saw my older brother before he died, he asked me why this country gives away so much to aliens, while denying the same help to its citizens. He had a small nest egg which he had to spend down before getting the medical assistance he needed for his poor health. Of course, in his case, it would still have been welfare, but he did have a point about the priorities of multi-generational Americans vs. those coming over the border covertly.

If all the illegal aliens were naturalized by a swift act of a fiat, the next wave of protests would be about substandard wages and poor working conditions, and the importation of relatives and family. We would then be the bad guys for keeping families apart.

It is time to teach other countries how to fish in their own ponds, because the whole world can’t come to America. Hopefully they are willing to be taught.

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