In time of highly-charged partisanship, there is one issue almost all of us can agree upon: our immigration policy is broken. To enter legally, immigrants must do a backflip, have their spleen harvested, and fill out 10 years of paperwork. Since legal immigration is so onerous, thousands either pay coyotes or find ways to sneak past the border patrol.
Our economy needs immigrants. (If you don’t agree, ask your daughter to fill out an application for work as a hotel maid or a fast food line cook.) Our Social Security system needs new workers. (We have an aging population.)
And in the meantime, the shouting and the arguments fly. “Families shouldn’t be separated.” “If the parents had not broken the law, the kids would still be with their parents.” “Illegals are causing crime and victimizing American citizens.” “Sorry, but a study of Southwest prisons found that undocumented men and women are 25 percent less likely to commit crime than good old U.S. citizens.” “They are taking our jobs.” “No, your sons and daughters are lazy and won’t work hard jobs.”
You can pick and choose statistics to prove your case on both sides. For me, I understand the arguments, but fall on the side of compassion. I recently saw the documentary about Fred Rogers (“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”). I was struck by the innate goodness of the man. When considering an issue, he veered to the side of the humane.
The LDS Church has basically taken the same stance when it comes to immigration, but it doesn’t seem to have convinced a good share of its members. The same goes for many Roman Catholics despite their Pope’s condemnation of anti-immigration measures.
Unlike a few shrill Democrats, I don’t want to abolish the immigration control office. We need to lock up Democrats and Republicans in a stuffy room and not let them out until they approve a policy allowing immigrants to easily enter the country, receive work permits, pay taxes, and contribute to our communities while having the opportunity to apply for full citizenship. We also need to crack down hard on immigrants who would rather join violent gangs than seek the rewards of the American Dream.
But in the meantime, we shouldn’t demonize those who suffer immensely to place their feet on U.S. soil. Don’t forget that illegal entry is a mere misdemeanor. (How many of you have never received a traffic ticket?)
It comes down to this…There is a Native American story of an elder explaining humanity to his young son.
“All of us have two wolves in our body, competing for attention,” he tells the boy. “One wolf is full of goodness, empathy, kindness, and compassion. The other wolf exhibits rage, meanness, hard-hearted ego, and contempt for weaker wolves.”
“Which wolf wins?” asks the boy.
“The one you feed,” says the old man.
It’s a question we should all ask ourselves.