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November 18, 2014

I Sympathize – But It Doesn’t Change My Mind

The story is designed to tug at your heartstrings.

I came home from school to an empty house. Lights were on and dinner had been started, but my family wasn’t there. Neighbors broke the news that my parents had been taken away by immigration officers, and just like that, my stable family life was over.

Not a single person at any level of government took any note of me. No one checked to see if I had a place to live or food to eat, and at 14, I found myself basically on my own.

While awaiting deportation proceedings, my parents remained in detention near Boston, so I could visit them. They would have liked to fight deportation, but without a lawyer and an immigration system that rarely gives judges the discretion to allow families to stay together, they never had a chance. Finally, they agreed for me to continue my education at Boston Arts Academy, a performing arts high school, and the parents of friends graciously took me in.

What the author, Orange is the New Black star Diane Guerrero, wants you to do is support amnesty for illegals. But what Guerrero ignores is that the fault is not with the government – it is with illegal aliens like her parents, who have broken the law.

But, Guerrero and her supporters would argue, what about the children whose lives are disrupted by deportations? In response, I ask a different question. What about all the children of Americans who break the law and who are arrested and sent to prison -- shouldn’t we excuse their law-breaking so that they don’t suffer the disruption of being separated from their parents?

Any reasonable person, of course, would recognize that the question I asked is an absurd one. The blame for any trauma inflicted upon a child by having parents incarcerated lies not with the government, but with the parent who chose to break the law despite knowing the potential consequences of their choice for themselves and their children. Why, then, do we allow “advocates for immigrant rights” to get away with asking their question and presuming that law-breaking non-citizens get a free pass that we do not give to American citizens?

That is not to say that our immigration laws do not need to be changed. They do. But that change cannot be predicated upon the notion that somehow an injustice is done when we impose the prescribed penalty for violating the law. Instead we need to ask what is best for America going forward, not how we can reward the criminal aliens with that which our law reserves for foreigners who follow out laws – legal status and a pathway to citizenship. Otherwise we would be equally bound to allow the bank robber and the drug dealer to keep the fruits of their criminal enterprises because to do otherwise would be to deprive their children of an intact family and the comfortable lifestyle provided by their parent’s crime.





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