Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fighting For The Right To Break The Law

Today is May Day, or, “bring your illegal to a protest” day. There was a weak series of marches around the country today to protest for rights for illegal immigrants. The activists speaking at the marches were decrying raids against illegals, deportations, and lack of social services. One can only assume that these protesters are confused over the definition of illegal.

I have considerable respect for the Hispanic culture. In my city we have a fairly large and growing Hispanic population.

My sons used to go to an inner city school that was roughly half Hispanic. I found several things to be true of these children. They were often more polite than non-Hispanic children and by their appearance they were clearly better cared for by their parents. The school was in an area of mixed income, middle and lower class. A lot of the children would come to school in the winter without coats, I would see children coming to school in the morning eating a Popsicle (I honestly believe this was their breakfast), and I would see children unwashed and disheveled. This was almost entirely unseen in the Hispanic children. When my wife and I would go to a school function or parent-teacher conferences, it was usually the Hispanic parents that would show up to see their children.

I work at an inner city Catholic hospital that tends to get a high proportion of the Hispanic population. I see the same things at work. The children have a tendency to be more respectful and the parents appear to be more attentive and caring of their children’s well-being.

Clearly I understand that we have to use caution in generalizations. Obviously there are bad Hispanic parents just as there are bad parents of every race and culture. I see this were I work, I am not trying to romanticize the culture. The point is that what I take from these experiences is that Hispanics appear in general to have a stronger family orientation than a lot of their Caucasian counterparts. This is something I respect greatly.

With this said though, we still cannot tolerate illegal immigration. The protesters are not fighting for the rights of Hispanics as a whole. They are advocating the suspension of laws and special treatment for a race. This is not acceptable. I believe we should welcome all law-abiding citizens to our country. I support the emigration of Hispanics because I do believe that they have something to contribute to our culture. I just feel they should be expected to do so legally.

Furthermore, we cannot suspend the laws for the illegals solely on the basis that they may be good people. One argument is that some of the illegals being caught have been here for years and even decades and have made a life here. So what? The analogy is that of a murderer who has managed to evade capture, build a new life and family, and expect to be absolved of their past crime because they have led a good life since. We would not let them go without answering for their crime anymore than we should allow an illegal immigrant to remain because they have avoided detection and have been a productive member of society. They came illegally and therefore have been a criminal the entire time they are in the country.

Another argument is that we would split their family apart. One of the more outdated principles in the US is granting citizenship to a person solely for being born on American soil. This likely made sense when the country was new but has outlived it’s usefulness. The argument then by illegals is that their children are born here, are US citizens and can remain here legally, therefore if we send the parents home, we are separating them from their children. Again, so what? This is a conscious and often deliberate choice made by these parents and they must live with the consequences.
As with any group of people, Hispanics have many legitimate issues to protest against. People of all races and cultures face a lot of the same issues from crime in their neighborhoods, to better schools for their children, to affordable health care, there are plenty of reasons to fight for change. I just have to believe that their time and energy could be put to better use than fighting for non-existent rights for what are essentially criminals.

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