Marco Rubio talked a good game on illegal immigration when he was trying to get the Tea Party to support him over Charlie Crist, but as per usual with calculating politicians, you never know how much of it he meant. Although I don’t want to make too much of his recent comments on illegal immigration because they have SOME merit to them, I do want to note that his perspective on illegal immigration is skewed.
I often feel as if I live in two worlds. I get angry when I hear stories of couples from wealthy families who come to Miami from overseas in the last weeks of a pregnancy, deliver their children at Jackson Memorial so their babies are born American citizens, and then leave the country and stick the American public with their hospital bills. I appreciate the frustration people have when they feel their country is being overwhelmed by illegal immigration.
It’s not just “wealthy families” coming here to have babies and “stick the American public with their hospital bills.” They’re a tiny percentage of the problem and pointing the finger at them is really just a way to distract people from the fact that millions of poor illegals have done the same thing. Some of them just want their child to have citizenship in the United States, but a lot of them have darker motives. Many of them can live here better on the dole, using their child to collect welfare and food stamps than they can at home. Others want to have a child here so they can use their child to take advantage of our archaic immigration system which favors blood relations over talent. Either way, it’s not a small problem confined to a few “wealthy families” engaging in birth tourism.
On the other hand, when I hear some people accuse immigrants of destroying the American economy and culture and stealing jobs from American citizens, it stirs my anger, too. I can’t stand to hear immigrants described in terms more appropriate to a plague of locusts than human beings. And although I believe they are a small minority, I begin to wonder if some of the people who speak so disparagingly about immigrants would be just as worked up if most of them were coming from Canada.
I think conservatives sometimes do a poor job rhetorically of talking about illegal immigration. However, I think a lot of that is a result of frustration at the behavior of our politicians. Most illegals broke the law to get here in the first place, they have to present phony documents to work, and they exploit the system at every opportunity. Meanwhile, even though everybody involved, including the illegals, has known that what they were doing is illegal and the penalty is deportation, every excuse in the book is made for them — and always, always, always for the worst of motives. Corrupt businessmen want cheap labor, Hispanic groups put skin color above their love of country, and politicians like Rubio want to cater to the Hispanic vote. The people who are actually putting what’s good for Americans first are smeared as racists, bigots, and xenophobes just for doing the right thing. Of course, people are angry when that goes on year after year and politicians do everything they can to subvert the law.
I understand it is a difficult issue. It’s a law-and-order issue. But it’s also an issue about human dignity and common decency. And when we lose sight of either aspect of the issue, we harm ourselves as well as the people who wish to live here. Many people who come here illegally are doing exactly what we would do if we lived in a country where we couldn’t feed our families. If my kids went to sleep hungry every night and my country didn’t give me an opportunity to feed them, there isn’t a law, no matter how restrictive, that would prevent me from coming here. We should debate our differences on immigration with regard to all the issues that deserve our respect and attention.
This is the same rationale that the Occupy Movement uses when its members break into foreclosed houses so that squatters can move in. You can certainly understand why the squatter would want to be in a house. It beats the hell out of being out in the rain. However, you should also be able to understand that if you’re the owner of the house, you don’t want squatters in it. If you’re in the Senate, you’re supposed to be looking out for your constituents, not foreigners. Every job taken by an illegal alien is a job taken away from an American. Every rape, robbery, and murder committed by an illegal alien wouldn’t have happened if the law had been enforced in the first place. Every illegal alien collecting a welfare check or food stamps to care for a child that should have never been born in the first place is taking that money out of the pockets of American citizens. We’re a bankrupt country paying the bills for people who weren’t invited here and aren’t wanted here. Since that’s the case, the sympathy level should be pretty low and the concern about law and order should be pretty high.
PS: Just for the record, I do oppose Rubio’s DREAM ACT even though it’s considerably less harmful than the original because it still rewards illegal immigrants, encourages more illegal behavior, doesn’t insist on security first, and inevitably will turn out to be just another stepping stone towards amnesty.