Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Immigration Irritation

There are two incomprehensible things being repeated over and over when it comes to the immigration debate currently raging in America. Presumably, people hear them and think they sound reasonable or smart so they repeat them, tweet them, and put them on their status updates, spreading the word like the herd tends to do. The only problem is that they would not be so quick to latch onto these arguments if they thought about it just a little bit.

The first goes something like this: “Illegal immigrants are breaking the law. They are by definition criminals and should be punished.” While that statement is true, you do not want to build your standard of right and wrong on what a law says. Laws can be wrong. Just because a law says it is OK for a woman to kill the baby living inside her does not make it right. Just because a law used to require people of different skin colors to stay segregated did not make it right. When the law of the land considered people in slavery to be property it did not make it right. So, go ahead and be against people coming into the country willy-nilly without any process or approval, but don’t build an argument against illegal immigration based on it being illegal.

The second statement one sees a lot from people trying to defend Arizona looks like this: “In Mexico, illegal immigrants receive terrible treatment from corrupt Mexican authorities.” The idea here is to point out that the Mexican government treats illegals even worse than we want to. Once again, the argument here is on shaky ground. Do we really want to justify a policy by claiming others are worse? America should always hold itself to the highest standard of right over wrong regardless of what other countries may do.

Say what you will about the issue of immigration, but build your arguments on sound reasoning and a desire to do what is right. Of course, that makes the issue complex and hard to resolve.

While you are at it, ask yourself why the current administration is so content to have this be the issue of the hour. Isn’t it better to let “conservatives” be defined by the racist, fear mongering fringe of the movement when health care popularity is tanking and the Gulf of Mexico is filling up with oil?

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