Friday, January 18, 2019

Should We Let Fear Govern Immigration Policy?

We should not let fear govern our attitude toward immigration or immigrants, whether they are legal or illegal.

Fear makes us Americans act out of character and pushes us to ignore the real issues, leaving the problems worse.

Illegal immigrants are valuable human beings and their disorderly influx into the United States presents an important problem that must be solved.

Many if not most of these immigrants want what I want - to live and work in a free country. It’s best expressed in the words of a federal district judge I stood in front of in a deportation hearing years ago. I was the prosecutor, seeking deportation of the man who stood on crutches in front of the bench.

Before pronouncing judgment the judge said, “I have a hard time punishing someone who wants to come and live in the country I love.”

Having said this, he applied the law, releasing the man from the local jail where his prosthetic leg had been stolen, and deporting him home to Mexico.

My plan? Stop listening to politicians who act as if the illegal immigrants are exclusively drug dealers, violent criminals, and human traffickers. I imagine most of these immigrants are ordinary people seeking a decent life. 

All the immigrants I met when my wife and I lived in Texas from 2005 to 2016 were extraordinarily diligent and competent. In my mind the challenge we face is assuring an orderly way into our country for immigrants like them, according to our country’s needs, and assuring an accurate way of screening out the portion of humanity that has no respect for people or the law.

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