Letter: Immigration reform: Not just another issue

Editor:

In a way I am thankful for the government showdown/shutdown as it moved immigration reform to the backburner. Democrat and Republican alike have created a compromise bill that would allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country if they jump through a series of legal and punitive hoops and hurdles.

Legal work status and ultimately citizenship for millions of lawbreakers are the goal of this legislation. This is supposed to appease both sides, but both sides do not seem to realize that there are those of us who are as strongly opposed to the proposed immigration reform as the Tea Party is to Obamacare. This is not just another issue.

At the core of the issue is the fact that our constitution mandates equal application of the law. So immigrants from Europe, Asia, etc., should be treated the same as immigrants from Latin America/Mexico. One group should not be given a special deal at the expense of the others. Those who have legally gone through the ordeal of becoming U.S. citizens should not be treated differently than those who have illegally crossed our borders. This bill is unconstitutional and it rewards those who ignore and break the laws.

The ripple effects of this migration have been to enrich unethical and unscrupulous employers at the expense of the American worker. For every job filled by an illegal immigrant is a job not filled by a U.S. citizen. Illegal labor works for less resulting in deflated wages for Americans. Illegal immigrant children receive the benefits of our educational system, these families receive healthcare benefits, usually at the ER leaving the taxpayers with the bill, and they make use of our infrastructure. And when they are caught, imprisoned, and eventually deported, yep, all on our dime. We certainly could enact tax reform that would alleviate this problem, and we certainly need tax reform, but immigration reform is not the proper place to debate tax reform: we should not allow foreigners to dictate our internal policies.

I'm sure by now many are calling me a racist, a national socialist, a Nazi, whatever. I hang out with a Mexican-American and a Navajo; who do you hang out with? Having degrees in History and Sustainable Communities I am fully aware of the history of European colonialism and modern geopolitics. My higher education also taught me about the hypocrisy of white middle-class liberals who probably never saw an ethnic minority in their neighborhood growing up, nor had a friend of color until perhaps high school or even college (if then), and yet will unashamedly accuse people like me of racism. I grew up in a lower-class neighborhood in Phoenix with Mexicans, Vietnamese refugees, and a few African-Americans, I got along with them all and still do. Liberals' hearts are often in the right place, as they are passionate about equality, but so am I.

I also make no apologies for genocide, nor for NAFTA, which screwed many a Mexican peasant out of their traditional farmlands. And since there has been much corruption in Mexico and very few economic opportunities, except for the drug cartels and ruling elites, the common folks have not had much choice but to migrate north in hopes of a better life. I feel for them.

For me it boils down to whether resources will benefit my son, a U.S. citizen, or the child of an illegal immigrant. Put in this light it's a no-brainer. Any parent can see this logic, regardless of political persuasion. The U.S. is considered by many to be the land of opportunity, but this opportunity should be for its own citizens, not a free-for-all for the rest of the world. A line must be drawn somewhere, and the powers that be have laid down this line at the borders. I didn't draw this line, you didn't draw this line, but the line has been drawn and the law must be enforced.

Instead of immigration reform we should issue a national ultimatum to illegal immigrants: LEAVE. As a friend of mine once said, "They found their way here and they can find their way back." Refuse to leave, then face the justice system and be deported.

The illegal immigration situation is intolerable, but so is the current immigration reform bill. Speak up, speak out, write the local paper and our representatives, and let both parties know that we are watching them like hawks and that we will remember if they push this "compromise" through.

Matthew Holmes

Lake Montezuma

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