Illegal Immigration: Some Thoughts

The Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, known more frequently as Arizona's Immigration Law (SB 1070, see here for the full law) has generated heated arguments on both sides.

Source: Immivasion
While this law is currently not in full force due to legal challenges, it and other ones from over twenty states are attempting to tackle immigration issues (with a majority support by their residents) by cracking down on lax immigration policy enforcement. Americans all around the nation are faced with these issues. Since it's impossible to cover all angles, I'll just make four points:
  1. An illegal immigrant is just that. Illegal. The federal government requires the registration of any immigrant who is in the country for 30 days or more. Any law seeking to enforce registration or expel those that violate an already-existing law is most certainly valid, even if it is practically redundant.
  2. Some people push for amnesty for illegal immigrants. At least to me, rewarding an action that is not just illegal by the laws of the land, but violates the virtues of honesty and integrity, is clearly a mistake. The action of coming into the U.S. is not a technical mistake but instead requires calculated effort, often with falsified documentation. Beyond that, they fail to pay taxes but continue glean the benefits of government-funded education and other services. Just as a criminal in prison has no right to expect parole, illegal immigrants have no right to expect amnesty. And yet Congress has passed seven amnesties since 1986, encouraging the illegal behaviour.
  3. The rationalisation that the illegal act was done for the benefit of the family or children may be true. Would one also be justified in robbing a bank to save their family from fiscal responsibilities, or murdering an abortionist to save unborn children? Tho' the situation may be rationalised in the mind of the perpetrator, the ends do not justify the means.
  4. America is open to those that come legally, with over one million migrants admitted yearly. One person I associate with spent 15 years earning the proper cards and renewals and eventually becoming a citizen. While this shows there are flaws in the system, it frustrates him most to think that people can simply come to the country illegally and be treated as equals. Is that fair to those that work their way through the proper avenues?
Source: Independent Christian Voice
I've had some exposure to the difficulties faced in entering and residing in the country legally. My brother-in-law is one of over 30 million legal immigrants in the U.S. and will soon become a citizen, and I'm proud of his achievements. I also understand that there are millions who are here peacefully and their only crime is their illegal entry into the United States. I'm not afraid to have them here as honourable workers and contributors to society—after they return to their country and reapply legally. I do believe there needs to be reform, as do Democrats, Republicans, and probably any other party. Until U.S. government starts showing that they are willing to enforce the current laws and any future reforms, though, there will be no change in (and no incentive to change) the real-life illegal immigrant behaviour.


Belle said...

I think amnesty should be provided if there’s no criminal record. Some, no idea how many, enter legally and their status expires, sometimes they could’ve fixed it and sometimes it was beyond their control. The whole system is so garbled and I think immigrants sometimes aren’t capable or don’t know they’re capable of fixing their illegal status, or are scared to. Many have lived here for so long and don’t want to risk being separated from family for the small chance that maybe they can get their status fixed. It is possible that they would not be able to return for years or ever and they would be separated! On the honesty side, I believe I would just go back to my home country, but how could I say that when the home country must have been bad enough to risk coming or staying illegally? I really feel that some people are likely uneducated or because of the language barrier do not know how to go about fixing or getting their status. Different countries are more or less lenient about letting people go too.
It is exasperating that some people seemingly could have been doing better about keeping their status current instead of letting it expire, but even these cases I think should be examined as to how much the individual was capable of doing at the time.
Also it costs money and requires documents that some people may not have or be able to get to become “legal.” Not everyone may have a birth certificate or id or “adequate” proofs required.
There are illigal immigrants who do not have falsified documentation and or who have legal id and social security cards and pay taxes. The tax paying issue is more one to be taken up with the employer not the employee in my opinion. Many legal people also evade taxes and those illegals that do are likely doing so unknowingly or not because they don’t want to pay taxes but that they don’t know how to go about paying taxes for a job that does not require a W2 form to be filled out.
I believe most illegal immigrants would like to be legal and are not provided the means to do so or do not know what do do in their own country or in ours.
People that enter and stay legally have their integrity and peace that they know what they did was right even if it was the hard path, they should wish that everyone could be given the ability to/put on the path to enjoy the citizenship or at least permanent resident rights that they do. Who cares about fairness? Life is not fair, nor meant to be so, those with greater ability have more responsibility. Those with less should be given the benefit of the doubt that they are doing the best with what they have-maybe they entered legally, maybe they’ve tried through court to get things fixed and have been unable to do so.
Why can’t we make it so that those who wish to live here can walk up, identify themselves and be assisted in filling out reasonable paperwork and get an actual id and papers so that they can be legal even if it is with less rights (not that I’m advocating less rights necessarily) than a citizen or permanent resident. What illegal immigrant would not be willing to do that? Why can’t we share what we have with people who work hard for it too?

Araignée said...

Thanks for your comment, Belle :^) I cleaned up the duplicate comments. Hope you don't take offense to my post.

First off, I do want to make it clear that I know (as you do) some good people who are contributing to society but who are not currently in the country legally, be it for negligence, difficulty, or other reasons.

I'm also not arguing for mass deportation or door-to-door checks. The legal system can't handle it and it would cause infrastructure issues immediately.

I do agree with one of the most debated parts of the Arizona law (currently on hold): requiring an ID check when enforcing other laws. It doesn't allow random checks, etc. Most illegal immigrants that live an upright life wouldn't have problems if their only infringement is that of entry.

The idea that amnesty should be provided to those without a criminal record is nice in theory, but has two main problems: those that do have a record often change their name and ID through the same means they got their first one, and those that are in the country illegally thus are by default criminals.

Here is an analysis of the issues resulting from amnesty in 1987. Some I agree with and some I don't, but it's pretty clear there are few arguments for amnesty. There are case-by-case individuals that get it, but I don't see anything but problems with a widespread policy. As for people that flee a dire circumstance, they can seek asylum, which is treated differently.

I doubt that ignorance or lack of education as really an issue when first entering the country, because of the evasive behaviours often portrayed.

Yes, immigration laws should be simplified. But first the law needs to be obeyed. Then the laws can be changed for the better by us citizens.

Belle said...

Of course I'm not offended, I just disagree-with some points, but it's hard when you have to broad brush a whole issue, as such things are really quite complex and vary case by case. Maybe status checks (AZ law) if it's a felony or something, but I do believe that police officers would be more likely to do racial and other profiling based on if they think someone is an illegal immigrant. They could give someone a parking ticket and then end up deporting them-well it's not usually that easy, but you know what I mean.

I know amnesty in theory isn't really logical, I think more as it comes up on a case by case basis that someone is an illegal immigrant they should be provided amnesty if there's not a criminal history-which could be hard to trace. Maybe all id's should contain a fingerprint. and that way false id's could all be linked :) It's just not fair to punish the majority for the faults of a few. It's just tons of paper work either way. I just don't think that someone should be deported solely because they're illegal.

I think many illegal immigrants are already attending school and working and using health care and public welfare programs-so the numbers wouldn't be going up all that much (except maybe as it mentioned family members who immigrate because of the relative's new status).

When I spoke of ignorance or lack of education I mean on the part of fixing their status after having entered legally or not knowing how to become a legal resident-though I suppose many do not want to seek fixing their status because they don't want to be sent back. People who want to be legal shouldn't have to be afraid of being sent home in the process of becoming legal! Getting permission to live in the US is likely a hard thing to get in many countries, so if their country refuses to let them come, why can't we provide an avenue to accept them? Though that would likely hurt country's relationships.

What should or shouldn't be done is so easy in theory but never works in practicality, I just think it should be more of a don't ask don't tell sort of thing, otherwise it's too complicated. You can't regulate all these things by laws anyway. Maybe overpopulation would become a problem, and yes we don't want lots of criminals coming over, but can't we focus on the criminals more than the average person? There's sooo much wasted time and bureaucracy in laws and regulations and programs etc and then the ideas that finally come to being don't even work out.

People that come to the US should be provided with a way to become legal. I just think there's lots more important things to worry about than someone's status in the US. Enjoying your blog :)

Araignée said...

Profiling is explicitly forbidden in the law, so I think police will avoid that as much as possible.

Imagine a traffic stop. If you pull them over, and they don't have valid ID, what is the correct procedure then? If a citizen, it'd be a crime worthy of jail. It's not the severity of the traffic stop that is resulting in the punishment, it's the lack of valid/legal ID. What then should be done with an illegal immigrant? Put him in jail as well, spending government money to do so? Ignore him? That doesn't seem right, if a citizen can be thrown in jail for the same violation.

I do have a problem with them attending school and using public welfare. I think it'd be hard to do that without knowing you're spending others' taxes. I don't have a problem with them working (although I don't agree with them doing so illegally).

I came up with an LDS analogy that somewhat illustrates my point. To enter a temple, it's required to have a temple recommend. Were someone in the temple without one, they would be asked to leave. If instead they were given one directly, that would defeat the purpose, as there are certain requirements one needs to fulfill in order to have a recommend.

Furthermore, were the person simply given a recommend, they'd likely invite their friends to enjoy the same benefits. Upon arrival, they'd say, "Don't worry about not having a recommend, they'll give you one when they find out."

Until the requirements are fulfilled, someone should not enter the temple. Instead, they should begin the process. It may take months, years, or a lifetime, but they can get there.

As a side note, in many missions we can't baptize people unless they are either legal or attempting to become so.

I think top priority is enforcing the laws, at least on a basic level. Until that's done, how can we even have exceptions?

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