A couple of weeks ago, I attended a meeting on immigration at a Denver High School. In attendance were two politicians. Both were Democrats and, surprisingly, had some good things to say about immigration.
Immigration is an issue that most politicians who aren't raving xenophobes wish to avoid. This is because, given the dominant philosophical premises of today's mainstream, immigration should be viewed as a deadly threat to any country that allows it. Immigration allows more people into a given area - which, given the Marxist/Environmentalist views of many Democrats and Republicans, means fewer jobs and a more devastated environment for the inhabitants. Given these premises, which are widely held on both sides of the aisle and completely wrong, opposition to immigration is simply a natural extension of those same premises.
It is therefore refreshing to see two politicians stand up for rational steps towards immigration reform. Simple and productive steps like stopping the deportation of nonviolent illegal immigrants and administrative changes to make it less dangerous for those who can to legalize their status. These are good policy decisions and are able to be done administratively. Though I have no faith in the Obama administration's ability to do anything productive, I hope these changes are made.
There were also personal stories told, two of which I will relate here. Irrational immigration policy isn't just an academic debate; while both parties refuse to act, families are being torn apart and people dying in a noble effort to come and stand on their own two feet in America.
The first was a pair of little girls, both under 10 years old, whose father (an illegal immigrant) had recently been taken in the middle of the night from them. Their mother, a US citizen, is busy trying to get her husband back in the United States, but until then the family is in dire straits - both without one parent for the children and without a previously steady source of income. The girls appealed to the politicians present to make it easier for their father to come home and keep other families united.
The next story was even more tragic. An older lady took stage and told the story of how her son - a US citizen - fell in love with a woman and married her. This woman was an illegal immigrant, and of course wanted to become a US Citizen. The couple were told the only place they could get this done was Ciudad Juarez, which is a hot spot in the war on drugs and one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
Knowing this danger but not deterred, the young man went there with his wife to get her on the path to citizenship. Before the process could be completed, he was murdered in the violence that happens every day in that city. Perversely, the application for a green card by his wife was then denied, because her sponsor was now dead! That woman is still waiting for her green card and may be able to get one because her mother-in-law got politicians involved in her case specifically, but no amount of political pull will bring her husband back to life.
Again, bad immigration policy is not an academic debate. Getting this issue right or wrong will help make or ruin the lives of millions of people. When politicians of either party claim they want to "get tough" on illegal immigration, they want to "get tough" on living, breathing people, people who have harmed no other person and whose great crime is to come to this great country to make their lives better, as most Americans' ancestors once did.