Illegal Immigration and “Compassion”

I have said repeatedly that I stay away from the illegal immigration issue because it is not my main issue, and it divides Republicans. I will not be covering the Arizona law or the judge who blocked it since the decision will be appealed. I respect the rule of law, and look forward to seeing how this plays out.

Yet the illegal immigration issue is on my mind on a more philosophical level.

I do not have a complete solution, but rounding up everybody and tossing them all out (which I have not heard anyone advocate, rendering it a straw man argument) and giving blanket amnesty to them all (which the left refuses to admit it really wants) are both non-starters.

We could deport 270 million people so that the U.S. population is as small as that of Canada. That way nobody would cry racism. I would happily give up political power if California would deport 90% of their people so there would be less traffic congestion. Anybody arriving after 1991 should be exiled since I arrived in 1990.

Yet one thing has never been done regarding illegal aliens. Nobody has asked them to simply not come by appealing to their emotional side.

No, I am not advocating asking nicely as policy. Yet as crazy as it sounds, moral suasion should be added to the list of tactics, for a very important reason. Illegal immigrants are hurting themselves. From a compassion standpoint, the solution is for them to have a better quality of life in Mexico, not here.

Let’s take a random person. I will call him “Pedro.”

Let’s say Pedro came here legally from Mexico. He did it the right way. He will pick lettuce, earn a few dollars an hour, pay social security and other taxes, and work long, hard hours in the hot sun. At the end of his life, he will have never ranked higher than that of a lettuce picker.

Yet Pedro’s son will benefit because Pedro saved up enough money through blood, sweat and tears. His son will own a house and get a college degree. He will work at a mid-size company and possibly even make it to manager.

Pedro’s grandson will eventually end up being senior management at a Fortune 500 firm, with a seven figure salary and all the stock options one could dream of. He will have a private jet, and at some point be the Company CEO.

(Let’s skip the fourth and fifth generations, where they squander most of it on frivolities and get killed on estate taxes like every other family. Sadly the American dream has become a parabola as inherited wealth breeds complacency.)

That is America. That is the American dream. It takes three generations over 70 years, but it exists.

My grandfather was the first generation. He escaped the Nazis, spoke almost zero English, came to America, and washed dishes in working class Brooklyn.

My father was the second generation. He escaped to Long Island, bought a house, raised a family, and was a schoolteacher until he retired.

I am the third generation. I became a Vice President at a Wall Street firm, and went on to own my own business. I live in an affluent area of Los Angeles near Beverly Hills.

This is America. This happens. America is extraordinary because my family’s story is so very ordinary.

Now let’s change the equation. Let’s say Pedro is here illegally.

He will never have the American dream. He will live in constant fear. He will be separated from his family, and look over his shoulder every day of his life, wondering when he will be caught and deported.

He will be afraid to ask people for help, because he will not know who to trust.

If his wife or daughter gets sexually assaulted, they will be afraid to report the crime for fear of deportation.

American criminals will not be the only ones to pray on him and his family. So will employers. He will be exploited practically to the point of slavery. The owners of the construction or agriculture company that hires him will pay the fine and move on to the next source of cheap labor. He will be deported, nothing more than a spare part in a car that uses him and gets rid of him.

Human beings do not deserve this. Compassion and dignity should be part of every creature of God.

Pedro may have a better quality of life in America than Mexico on a short term basis, but this is like winning the battle and losing the war. He will never have the American dream. Americans will have their cars and houses and fancy clothing, while he remains doing back breaking labor, never to climb upward. His son and grandson will not have what others have around them.

Some will say I am using fake compassion to get rid of people. These people are wrong. I genuinely want every American living here to have the American dream. A prosperous America benefits the world. It allows us to show our generosity and compassion on a global basis to help feed, clothe, protect, and defend the world. This is not about waging war. It is about helping people after a tsunami or other humanitarian crisis, such as combating diseases.

If my words positively affect even one person, then it is worth typing them. So my question to Mexicans and others thinking of coming here is simple. Do you care just about yourself, or do you care about your extended family for generations to come? Do you want your grandchildren to pick lettuce or own the farm? Do you want bread crumbs, or the entire American dream for generations to come?

There is no shame in picking vegetables or scrubbing bathrooms of other Americans. It is honest work. Yet given the choice, most people would rather be the person hiring others to pick their vegetables and scrub their bathrooms.

For those who truly love their family, coming here legally gives them the best opportunity to have the best of what American life offers.

Allowing somebody to have a dead end life is not compassion. It is humiliation.

Americans are better than that.

I hope the immigrants who come here like the Irish, Italians, and Jews did all those decades ago do it the right way, and reap the rewards that come with truly having the honor of being an American.


2 Responses to “Illegal Immigration and “Compassion””

  1. Bishop says:

    Eric, You have a way of putting things rather eloquently and this is no exception. Well said. Most cases the way I talk about illegals would send someone who is on the extreme left railing about how I’m a racist. An argument used by individuals who don’t have a pot to piss in. I don’t have a problem with individuals who have had the patience and fortitude to go through the system to come here legally. In fact I welcome them with open arms. That’s what America is about. What irks me the most about illegals is not the fact that they’re taking jobs away from citizens but the fact that they have broken the law and disrespected the sovereignty of our country. I become furious at the prospect of any “Path to citizenship” for these individuals. I don’t believe in rewarding those who break the law. The ruling against certain clauses in SB1070 has galvanized the hatred of those who are against illegals. I never really expected SB1070 to be upheld. The law was a political statement and it has done its purpose beautifully. Advocates for illegals think they have a victory but the truth is nothing has changed in Arizona.

    On another note. The celebrations of individuals who are opponents of SB1070 are sure to anger those who are for the law. I’ve seen many instances of in your face celebrations. One taco truck had the words “Victory! Si se puedes!” on it and not an American flag on it but a Mexican flag. This is tantamount to unnecessary provocation. Those who marched against the law and participated in marches demanding rights and citizenship for illegals flew not American flags but flags of other countries. This tells me that these individuals don’t want to assimilate. That’s insulting.

    America in its attempt to be politically correct has lost its balls. I blame both parties for that. It’s time to throw political correctness out the window.

  2. If we just issued them work visas this whole problem would go away. It is the very illegality of illegal aliens that IS the problem. EVERYTHING else is a “strawman.”


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.