Published in the Holland Sentinel on August 18, 2008 - This is Alan's last editorial as a featured columnist for the Holland Sentinel.
Sometimes when I write, I allow my emotions to guide my language and my choice of words can cast a cloud over the topic, as I did with last month’s column (Zero tolerance for illegal immigration). I had no idea that the words “infestation” and “plague” would detract so much attention from the truth about illegal immigration. For that, I apologize.
Regardless of which side of the debate you are on, illegal immigration is a serious problem for America which needs to be solved as soon as possible. Regardless of which side you are on, there are two truths which apply to this issue: “Two wrongs don’t make a right” and “The ends do not justify the means.”
Being an illegal alien has nothing to do with one’s race or ethnicity. There are illegal aliens in America from all corners of the world. They are black, white, Hispanic, Asian, and so on. Some of them came to America legally and overstayed their visa. Some were packed into a cargo van as part of a human smuggling ring. Others crossed our border from a foreign land looking for work.
Regardless of how or why they came to be illegals in America, they are still here illegally. So, how do we solve our immigration woes in a way that is fair and just? How does America make her immigration policy as good as it could be?
Our immigration laws should be better suited to meet the needs of American business owners. If our business owners cannot fill their worker requirements with people from the local population, they should be able to request a number of workers from outside of America. These workers would come here legally, with a U.S. government-issued work visa, to work for a specific business in a specific location for a specific period of time. When the job is done or the time on the visa is up, they would go back to their home country.
Next, we need to do a better job of enforcing our existing immigration laws and simplifying the process for those who come to America legally and go through the arduous process of naturalization. One of Holland’s greatest days was a few years ago, when more than 300 foreign-born people took their oath as American citizens in a naturalization ceremony at the Civic Center.
These citizens don’t have the luxury of being born with an American spoon in their mouths. They have to work hard, go through a ton of red tape and pay a lot of money to become an American. They deserve our respect and should be considered true patriots. If you haven’t done so already, I challenge you to take the naturalization test to see how you do.
Next, we need to do a much better job of enforcing our existing immigration laws. Money has been set aside for a fence which has yet to be built. We have sanctuary cities and rebellious law enforcement bodies that refuse to cooperate with federal authorities. The list goes on…
Last summer, politicians in Washington D.C. tried to resolve this problem with what they called a comprehensive immigration reform act. Their proposal included a path to citizenship for every illegal alien in the country who would not seek such an honor legally. The proposal died before it ever hit the Senate floor because America stood up and said “No.” You don’t reward a thief by giving him that which he was caught stealing and you don’t give citizenship to someone who has no regard for our immigration laws.
If we have a common-sense immigration policy, we can fairly and justly enforce our immigration laws. Then, maybe all Americans can share a soda on the same side of the illegal immigration debate.
In closing, I pose these thoughts to those who take such a strong stance for illegal immigration. When raising your children, do they or did they have the right to choose which of your rules they would obey and which they would not? Did they deserve every punishment you ever gave them? What kind of children would you have if you let them get away with violating anything they deemed unfair or excessive? How can you justify maintaining order and discipline with your children, while justifying the actions of illegal immigrants and those who enable them?