I seem to have temporarily lost my ability to write passable post titles. Sorry.
Over the past few years I’ve found myself having a bit of a change of heart about this topic. But before I go into matters I need to clarify one specific thing. I have no respect for people who pride themselves in breaking the law “because everyone does it” or “because it’s a stupid law”. As I understand it, the philosophy of law allows for the consideration of intent when pondering the severity of violation. It’s the philosophy of Mens Rea or The Guilty Mind. And I look a lot more kindly on people who break the law to feed their family than I do on people who break the law because they want to be a horse’s ass about it. And yes, I have one or two specific immigration advocates in mind.
That being said…
I think our current immigration laws are anti-American, anti-JudeoChristian and anti-human. I think if you can get here and aren’t crazy or a violent criminal you deserve your shot at making a life for yourself. Plain and simple.
I’m having a harder and harder time at justifying a life under the abundance of this country while denying others a seat at the table. It doesn’t square with what I’ve been taught about the ideals upon which the United States was founded, the Civil War was fought and the way I should live as a follower of Christ.
1. For we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal
If indeed all men (and by this we mean all human beings) are created equal, how do we claim a right to arbitrarily decide that some folks, while being equal to us are not deserving of the life we enjoy? How can we allow the accident of birth to bar certain folk from being given the right to try to make it here? Granted we could follow this argument through to its extreme conclusion and declare that everyone gets a chance to go to Harvard, live in a 5000sq foot house and eat filet mignon every night. That’s simply not going to happen unless we convert to some as-yet-undiscovered form of uberwealthy communism. However, we can welcome people with open arms. That’s how many of us got here, descendents of those who came when the most harrowing part of the journey was the getting-here, not the being-here.
2. We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
How does it establish Justice to say to people they cannot be here because they weren’t born here? Throughout our comparatively brief history, the United States has been repeatedly enriched by the immigrant populace. We owe in part our very freedom to the French who came here to fight England on our shore. We owe in part the continued survival of our way of government to the German and Irish who came here to fight the Civil War, to the Chinese immigrants who enlisted to fight in WWII, to the post-war German immigrants who led us to victory in the space race. Our greatest moments have always been borne out of the times when we’ve been most welcoming to those from other parts of the globe.
3. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Many of those honoured dead at Gettysburg were born on foreign shores, as I mentioned above. They fought and died for a lot of reasons–to earn citizenship, to earn money, to end slavery–but they gave their lives so that our way of life would continue. As I’ve pondered this over the past few years I can’t see how our current stance on immigration does anything other than dishonour their deaths by villifying their very presence on our soil.
I’m not putting any Bible verses in here because I despise the tactic of using religious arguments to fight a political battle. It’s like having a discussion with someone else where you speak only French and they speak only Esperanto. So I’m not going to try to use one of my native tongues to address people speaking a different language. I can only say this: As someone who does believe in the tenets of Christianity I believe I am to treat others as I myself would like to be treated. I myself do not like to be mocked, spat upon, underpaid, overworked, made to live in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions. I myself do not like to be treated like a criminal simply because I look different, sound different or come from a different place from everyone else. As a fat woman who moved to the South from Indiana I do have some experience in this, albeit not as severe as that suffered by illegal immigrants. I don’t like to be called “fatso” so I don’t call people “illegals”. I also believe as a Christian that I am supposed to treat with compassion those who are poor and hungry because in so doing I am honouring the person of Jesus Christ. I can’t square that with the way illegal immigrants are treated in this country.
Now, I’m a believer in following the law. Since I believe in all these things there is only one conclusion I can draw. The laws are
stupidbad laws* and must be changed.
*Change made because laws are inanimate objects and therefore lack powers of cognition.