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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Eviction of a Criminal

The news this week has unfolded the story of an illegal immigrant who was finally apprehended and deported to Tijuana, Mexico. The problem? An 8-year-old child left behind in the U.S. in the care of a church pastor and his wife.

For some time, Elvira Arellano has hidden behind the sanctuary of the church to avoid being deported as an illegal immigrant. If she had stayed in the church, she might still be there, but she came out trying to speak publicly for the right of all illegal immigrants to stay in the United States without fear of deportation, particularly if they have had the good fortune of giving birth to a child in the United States.

What is wrong with this picture?

Everyday fathers and mothers are arrested, jailed and even imprisoned for criminal activities, often with their children ending up either in the care of other family members or of the foster care program. Why should illegal immigrants be treated any differently? Because their 'punishment' for their crime is deportation instead of imprisonment? I think not.

The fact is an illegal immigrant is one who has violated American law by entering our country without permission. They have commited a crime and simply having a baby does NOT exonerate them for that. They are STILL subject to arrest and punishment for their crime. All-in-all, they get off lucky. In many countries entering without official permission carries the penalty of lengthy imprisonment in rat-infested hell-holes or even summary execution.

It is unfortunate that the illegal immigrants put children into the middle of this, but we do not let criminals out of punishment just because they have kids. If we did, most of our prison population would still be on the streets, unpunished for their crimes.

The only way to eliminate situations like this, if illegal immigrants continue to insist on putting themselves and their children into them, is to completely do away with our immigration limitations, throw open our borders, and risk anyone and everyone entering our country from Mexico, potentially including would-be terrorists, which would make us even MORE vulnerable to 9/11-type attacks.

Many advocates for the illegal immigrants (the Council on Foreign Relations, for example) try to argue that the illegal immigrants do not enter the United States because of abject poverty in Mexico, claiming that Mexico has a robust and thriving economy of its own. But they also claim that people migrate to where there is greater development. Excuse me? If Mexico's economy is so robust and thriving, why are there thousands of women and children scrounging in the city dumps, looking for anything and everything that might be of any value to sell or living in make-shift structures that do not meet even the basic qualifications to be called a home?

Their response to that is a claim that it is because Mexico does not have a viable mortgage industry. Again, this proves my point. Mortgage lenders tend not to invest in impoverished areas, even within the United States. If Mexico's economy is so great, why have banking companies not extended their mortgage businesses there?

It takes people within their own country and communities to build hope for the future. Siphoning capital from other regions is NOT a long-term answer. The illegal immigrants would do better working in their own country to fight corruption and make sure the funds and resources that ARE in Mexico are used more wisely and effectively. We routinely grant scholarships to students from countries like Ethiopia and Bangladesh to educate them on how to develop their own countries, with an increasing level of success. Yet Mexico still lags behind, despite the significant amount of foreign aid, tourism income, business investments, trade payments, and personal earnings of illegal immigrants being transferred to their country from the United States.

Could there be a problem with this picture?

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