Why "Illegal Immigrant"?

From guest blogger, Santiago J. Valenzuela

Some people concerned with the issue of illegal immigration may ask why I use the term "illegal immigrant" as opposed to "undocumented immigrant."  Well, the reason is pretty simple: they are here in violation of the law. That makes them illegal under our current system and we should not avoid that fact.

Americans have a long, proud history of ignoring immoral, unworkable and counterproductive laws. Historically, many if not most Americans have had little respect for "the rule of law." In fact, we would never have become a country had the people here respected "the rule of law.” This fact seems to escape many pundits who demand "respect for the rule of law", independent of whether those laws are proper or not.

Going back as far as Colonial times, you see Americans happily flouting onerous British taxes quite regularly, and going so far as to separate from their mother country when those laws became downright intolerable. Even after the  Revolution, avoiding onerous taxes and regulations was a celebrated pastime in America. Avoiding liquor taxes, in fact, caused another rebellion, known in history as the Whiskey Rebellion.

We Want Beer In more recent times, many Americans participated in or cheered on those who bootlegged liquor during Prohibition.  Many more Americans simply purchased the booze and drank it illegally, which was a clear violation of the 18th Amendment. Despite all the rhetoric against it, most Americans knew it was a silly, counterproductive law and violated it by drinking illegal alcohol until the law was finally repealed.

History is replete with Americans not "respecting the rule of law” when the rule of law improperly limits their individual rights. This includes those many millions of Americans who work with, hire and live among illegal immigrants today. It is that understanding - yes, it is illegal and it is wrong that it is illegal - that should prompt the government to repeal or replace bad legislation.

The fact that completely nonviolent, productive people who want only to work for a better life are made into outlaws in this country is what "illegal immigrant" highlights for me. I hope it does the same for you as well.

Comment (1)

‎"The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.” - Abraham Lincoln (H/T to Paul Lemke for the quote)

Hopefully Abe is right when it comes to the drug war, illegal immigration and over-taxation!

Post a Comment