On August 26th, while reading the Daily News Record, my local paper, I came across an article entitled, “Mississippi Plant Raid Creates Hispanic Panic.” Although the title pretty well summarizes the events of the story, it catalogs a massive search and detention of illegal immigrants by federal officials. One question that went through my mind after reading this article was, “what makes this story newsworthy?” It stated that this was the largest raid to date, but size doesn’t necessarily imply importance. Now unlike many of the other actions of the federal government, I believe that the federal government has a moral and constitutional duty to protect and defend the borders of our country from those who try to penetrate them illegally. I think the answer to my question of newsworthiness is one of rarity. Honestly, how many times can you recall hearing of raids like this in either Mississippi, or any other state, for that matter? It’s difficult to recall them, isn’t it? Why aren’t they more common? Why don’t they defend our borders? Although certainly some blame rests with the INS and other related governmental organizations, far more should fall on the shoulders of our politicians.
If you will recall from the YouTube Republican Presidential debates back in late 2007, Rudi Giuliani was accused of running New York City as a sanctuary city during his tenure as mayor. In his defense, he argued that they rounded up and detained “every single illegal immigrant that New York City could find that either committed a crime or was suspected of a crime.” Did not Giuliani see the flaw in his own logic here? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t being in this country illegally a crime in and of itself? Why would an additional criminal act be necessary to require some sort of consequences? As a public servant, wasn’t it Giuliani’s responsibility to uphold the law? Apparently others on the stage picked up on this double standard too as Mitt Romney countered, “…and the idea that they reported any illegal alien that committed a crime, how about the fact that people who are here illegally are violating the law? They didn’t report everyone they found who was here illegally.” Although I have a number of disagreements with the former governor of Massachusetts, I believe that he hit the nail on the head with this comment. Illegal means, and is, illegal. It is neither cruel nor capricious, but a provable fact. We must enforce our immigration laws uniformly across the board to all nationalities regardless of skin color or language.
Often politicians will say that illegal immigration is a problem, but it is too difficult to remove them all. Instead we should offer amnesty to the illegals that are presently here and prevent future border violations. This argument is flawed for several reasons. First, why should people who have knowing violated U.S. law be rewarded with citizenship? Certainly there are a number of deserving immigrants who are trying to enter our nation legally. In addition, I believe that aliens will always try to enter illegally. What sort of message does amnesty send to these people? Go ahead and invade our country instead of going through the legal process. We’ll give you citizenship sooner or later. Second, we tried amnesty back in 1986. Did it work? Let’s see…do we still have an illegal immigration problem today? Of course we do. We know it didn’t work back then, so what would persuade us to give it another try? It is an easy answer for politicians because it allows them the opportunity to more or less maintain the status quo and it is inexpensive. No one has to be sent out to capture and deport these aliens. Companies that violate the law aren’t held accountable. Labor costs in certain industries are kept low. Everyone wins…except of course for the vast majority of us who don’t break the law. However, if we remain silent and inactive, we are as culpable as the lawbreakers themselves.
So what can we as citizens of the commonwealth do about this issue? I highly recommend writing or calling your legislators. These people have been sent to Richmond and Washington to represent you and your concerns and it is high time we hold them to account. I say that if a politician does not uphold his or her constitutional responsibility to defend and protect our borders, then he or she does not represent us. That person is not worthy to represent either the Shenandoah Valley, or the great state of Virginia. A good number of our leaders and candidates stand with us, but others deceive us with their rhetoric and their inaction. Do your research, contact your leaders, and make your will known, not just at the ballot box in November of this year, but next year too, and every year until the problem is finally solved.