By Scott Theis, Managing Editor
Immigration is a pillar this country is founded on, but that pillar is crumbling and needs to be rebuilt. There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States. These people came here for the opportunity at a better life for themselves and their families. And, the conversation in this country about immigration is entirely too hate-filled and lacking any type of connection to the people it truly affects. The opponents of immigration overhaul talk about these people as if they are less than human. To them they are “illegals”.
The biggest argument when discussing immigration are that these people are here illegally in the first place and illegal immigrants cost our taxpayers too much money in social welfare benefits. I think it’s valid to not want to reward people who broke our laws, but we’re not talking about criminal masterminds who are only here to do harm to The United States and its citizens. These people are economic refugees who only want the option to make a livable wage doing jobs most Americans don’t want to do. They want to be able to work in an economy that has jobs and a country where they can live safely. And, in terms of them costing money to our taxpayers, allowing them some form of citizenship will force them to pay taxes on earned income rather than earning money off the books.
Until The United States finds an effective way to keep people from immigrating illegally, we need to deal with the problem of people who are already here. If, for those people, that means a 10 year probationary period like in the Senate immigration bill, I think that’s worth more to them than coming here to learn the fear of deportation. These people left the fear of powerful drug lords and economic despair to come here and have the fear of authority figures who may have them deported.
Deporting 11 million people is unrealistic, just like Mitt Romney’s idea of “self-deportation”. We need to stop talking about these people like they are an abstraction and talk about them like they’re human beings. This is a genuine problem in this country that isn’t going to get better by continuing the current trend in Washington of fighting based solely on principle and never getting anything done. I’m all for increasing our border security in a way that makes sense for each unique area of the border, but making sure new people don’t get in ignores the problem of what we can genuinely do with the people who are living in our neighborhoods. Until this is addressed, there will be an underclass of citizens that aren’t afforded the same basic human rights which we so often take for granted. We have created the class of “illegals”.