The Human Side of Illegal Immigration

For some reason, the immigration issue has decided to camp out in my mind. I talked about some of the logistics involved in yesterday’s column  and those are formidable enough. Worse even than the statistics are the human factors involved. I am willing to bet that the Americans that want all these people deported would not be able to personally meet with them, work with them through the deportation process, then personally shove them across the border, or onto an airplane, and lock the door.

Americans are generally not this mean in person, but only when they can remain far from the action and shout epithets mainly at their television screens (or, if they happen to be watching the Fox Opinions Channel, shout encouragement). One on one, it is almost certainly difficult to hate these immigrants, no matter how illegal they are. Americans are too decent a people for that. These immigrants are people that had no chance where they were born and at least had the cojones to travel long distances to try to make their lives, and the lives of their families, better. You might not want them here, but you have to admire their tenacity.

Do you want to deport a sad-eyed little girl, knowing that she will have almost no chance to get an education in the place where you are sending her? Could you personally get her story from her, insuring that she is illegal, then shove her back into what is certain to be a miserable existence? Perhaps you could, but if you could I don’t think that I like you very much. Nothing personal, it would just make you seem inhuman.

I know, of course, that you will not have to do that. If we send them all “home” we will use the remote control of law enforcement to do the dirty end of the job. They will just be following orders, I guess, like the soldiers in the Germany of 1939 and the soldiers in the Kosovo in 1997. The rest of us can look away while the deed is done.

I don’t even know for sure what side of this I am on. I know it is useless to look for a “fair” solution. No one ever promised us “fair.” But it is not at all useless to look for “right,” for the ethical goodness of any decision that we make. I suppose that it is just that which keeps bringing me back to the ugly side of this. I keep hoping that we can make the “right” decision, meaning the ethical decision.

Then I look at all of the numbers that pertain to this problem. The polls often say that more than half of the people in America want the illegals thrown out. And the polls often say that more than half of the people in our country are Christians. That tells me something about at least part of the Christians, and about their ethics, let alone their compassion.

If nothing else, we have to own up to the fact that we let all these people in here. They could not have come if we had not let them. More on that tomorrow.

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