To the editor:
David Carlson’s editorial July 17 comparing the current U.S. immigration crisis to the novel “The Displaced Person” is misguided and shortsighted. Mr. Carlson, like many others, tries to reduce this debate to a moral argument on how much we care about our neighbors. There is much more to consider.
First, our country can’t now decide whether millions should be allowed to pour across our borders illegally. It is happening, and the resources being applied to stop it are woefully inadequate. Harry Reid says, “The border is secure.” It is a lie. In the novel, the farmer’s widow had the chance to make a choice whether to accept a foreign worker. Second, the novel doesn’t parallel the legal paradox that confronts the U.S.A. today.
We have existing laws that are not being enforced in any serious way and a legal method for immigrants to come here. If that system is slow and bureaucratic, that is a different argument. Let’s change it if needed.
Third, most reasonable people do want to offer help and aid to foreigners facing poverty and persecution, but that is not the real issue. We offer immense foreign aid around the world, and what does it accomplish? Not much, if judged by the last 50 years.
Do we have a right and responsibility to enforce our sovereign borders or not? The president tries to avoid the Constitution again by making an end run around Congress. He says $3.8 billion should do it.
Homeland Security tries to set up illegal alien camps so secret that they can’t be photographed, and even congressmen are not allowed in. Then there is surprise when pushback happens in border state communities. They are tired of crimes that affect their citizens on a regular basis and a federal government that can’t handle the truth.
There are two other aspects that are not similar to the novel. Millions of immigrants overstay their visas, and no record or enforcement occurs.
The flood of 60,000 to 70,000 children entering from Mexico since October includes many with relatives already living here. It plays on our emotions: How can we show a hard heart to these poor victims of circumstance? Immigrant workers supposedly fill in the gaps in our labor force by doing work that lazy Americans won’t do.
Try telling that to millions of unemployed citizens who have lost their jobs and become so discouraged with trying to find adequate work that they fall off of the unemployment rolls. Also, our country is already bankrupt, borrowing from our grandchildren’s future, with more citizens on government aid than ever before. Mr. Carlson dodges this reality, saying, “How can we live with ourselves?” if we enforce our laws.
This is not a test of our Christian charity or of political correctness. It is a matter of efficiency and law. We must have a balanced budget soon, but it is unlikely with the Washington culture.
Certainly we can’t continue to salve our collective conscience by throwing money we don’t have at our problems.
Let’s not oversimplify the crisis. The immigration paradox involves much more than “showing compassion for these refugees,” as Mr. Carlson pleads. All of the details to solve the crisis may not be clear, but ignoring our laws and realities can’t be the right way.
W. Joe Robertson