The unfortunate and unintentional victimization of future legal immigrants at the hands of criminal immigrants can be summed up in two basic phrases:
“A few bad apples spoil the whole bunch,” and “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
America has always been friendly to immigrants. We have welcomed people from all over the world to our shores and our land with open arms. We are, without a doubt, the most diverse country around with myriad traditions and cultures from all over, but with the underlying base culture of America – live and let live, respect for others and the rule of law.
We have welcomed those who yearned to breathe free, those who respected us by going through our legal process and abiding by our rules to be an American. They earned respect by first giving it. They earned our affection by showing it for our great nation first.
Photo Credit: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Legal immigration is a beautiful thing!
Yet the public perception and acceptance of it is quickly waning. Recent trends have shown a 20 percent increase in the number of people who want to decrease legal immigration. Nearly 60 percent in another poll want to decrease legal immigration by at least half or possibly even halt it completely.
Because of the few bad apples (or the hundreds of thousands of bad apples) who are spoiling the bunch. Ever since the recent flood of criminal immigrants over our southern border this year, the public opinion on legal immigration has gone downward.
As a quick explanation, I never refer to those who cross our border illegally as “illegal immigrants.” People cannot be “illegal” and therefore it is not right and not accurate to call them such. They can however be criminals, and by breaking our immigration law they have made themselves such. Because of that, I prefer to use the far more appropriate and accurate name of “criminal immigrants.”
This downward trend in public opinion toward legal immigration is occurring for two major reasons.
First, Americans - as a whole - are somewhat willing to look the other way; willing to accept that there are those who desperately want freedom and a better life but cannot do it legally. Our sympathy and mercy naturally forgive some abuses. Even the Declaration of Independence points this out when it mentions that “mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”
People from the New York Immigration Coalition demonstrate with the Statue of Liberty in the background July 14, 2014 in New York's Battery Park. As part of the New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform Campaign, the group is calling for US President Barack Obama to take executive action on immigration reform. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
But there is a limit to that sympathy; and our mercy will turn quickly when we feel we are being abused and taken advantage of. Whatever our tipping point is for that, it has been crossed and we have had enough.
Second, the left, and many on the right as well, try their hardest to change the language around illegal immigration to make it sound softer, more palatable and sound less… illegal. Breaking the law isn’t generally endeared in a lawful society, but if we call them “undocumented,” or simply “immigrants,” then it sounds better.
Their language change, which is well known among progressives and the left, has removed the clear distinction between those who openly violate our law and disrespect us, and those who dutifully follow the law and show us respect by doing so. Language matters; words matter, and those words that are being used irresponsibly for political gain are harming the hopeful and future legal immigrants.
These politicians and leaders, by trying to sway public opinion for those breaking the law, have unfortunately had a hand in swaying it for those who follow the law as well. By blurring the rhetorical lines between illegal and legal immigration, the anger and frustration of the American public, due to the recent southern flood, has been turned on both. Fair or unfair, that is the unintended consequence.
Not only is legal immigration being hurt because of illegal immigration, but they are also being pushed aside in favor of those who break the law.
A U.S. Border Patrol canine team stands nearby after they helped detain a group of undocumented immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border on April 11, 2013 near Mission, Texas. Credit: Getty Images
What is the immigration debate mainly about – Those who want to come legally, or those who have already come illegally?
This “comprehensive immigration reform,” does it focus on those who want to come legally and respect us and our laws, or does it focus on those who have shown no respect for either and broken those laws?
In both cases, it is those who have broken the law that are the focus of our conversations and legislation. The irony of writing and passing laws for those who don’t follow them is apparently lost, much like it is on gun control.
But while the left, and again many on the right, rail against special interest groups, they bow to them in the current debate. Advocacy groups for criminal immigrants (remember, people can’t be illegal!) are not hard to find – America’s Voice, Center for Community Change, Casa de Maryland, People For the American Way, One America, New York Immigration Coalition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and of course the lovable and always affable National Council of La Raza, which translates to “The Race” and sounds more appropriate for 1940’s Germany than a modern group whom the president addresses personally.
These groups hold protests, marches, rallies and have advocates all throughout Washington, D.C. They storm the offices of those in Congress who are not on board with illegality and loudly get in the face of members of Congress in what can only be described as adult temper tantrums.
But try to find the advocacy groups for legal immigrants and you will have a harder time. Try to find the legal immigrants who are shouting at members of Congress or invading their offices and you will be waiting a long time. Those who respected us and followed our laws know that those actions are incredibly disrespectful and would never do it.
They have joined a society that asked them to do the right thing and they did it. They should and do expect that same country to continue to do the right thing as well, but sadly, we are not. Their natural faith has been placed in institutions that no longer value the rule of law or those who abide by it.
They are not the squeaky wheel in our country. They are one of the other wheels that are dependable, mainly silent and an integral part of us. Unfortunately, their reward is a pain-in-the-ass wheel who loudly squeaks and is currently ruining the wagon.
So while Congress frets and debates and compromises over those who break our laws, the ones who have respected them are lost in the mix. Those in Congress who truly value the rule of law and legal immigration are missing out on a golden opportunity to bring that to the forefront of the debate and to give that silent, dependable wheel a little bit of squeak.
For other articles and writings by Darrell, please visit the Milk Crate.
TheBlaze contributor channel supports an open discourse on a range of views. The opinions expressed in this channel are solely those of each individual author.