I’m a naturally compassionate person. It’s just the way I am. The first time I can recall wanting to help someone, I was 2 or 3. My mother took me shopping. Those were the days before shopping malls. She drove to the part of town that had her favorite shops and department stores. The sidewalks were full with shoppers migrating from store to store.
I was holding my mother’s hand as we left a store where she had made some purchases. We passed along the sidewalk, randomly window-shopping with a vague anticipation that soon we would find another shop to enter. Drawn to sights at my own eye level, when I paused too long to examine them, the sure tug of my mother’s hand told me I was not to dawdle.
Then I saw something that made me stop and pull against my mother’s hand. Leaning against a store front, just below the big show case, was a little man playing a little concertina. He wore a funny old hat and was missing several teeth. I looked him in his face, which was almost even with mine. But he did not respond to my glance. My mother gently explained to me that he could not see, and that the coffee can in front of him was for people to put money in. He played his concertina, and that was how he made a living.
I didn’t think he played that well, but even at my age I knew the little blind man was doing the best he could. My mother asked me if I wanted to put some money in his can and I said yes. She took some change from her purse and put it in my hand and I carefully dropped it into the can. Up to this point, I did not think the man even knew I was there. But as soon as he heard the coins clink in the can, he smiled and said, “Thank you!”
I knew that something very important had just happened. For just a moment, my life had connected with another’s in a meaningful way. I learned that sometimes people need help, and sometimes the person who can help them is me. That made me feel significant inside. I had done something good. This all happened in 1947 or 1948. It established a pattern in my life. Ever since then, I have felt compassion toward people in need and have been willing to help others as best I can.
Growing up in my home town of San Diego, my compassion extended to the poor people in Mexico, just across the border. I remember men coming to our front door, asking for any kind of work. They spoke no English, or very little, but because my mother understood a little Spanish, she knew they were asking if they could work for food. She fed them lunch, gave them some yard work to do, then sent them on their way with a little food and money to take with them. This happened a couple of times. The men were very polite and thankful, and we were happy to help them.
We were aware of the poverty in Tijuana. We not only went to Tijuana for the usual tourist and shopping reasons, but we took money, toys and food to orphanages. During Christmas we collected things to take to them. They were very needy and grateful to receive these gifts. I became comfortably familiar with Mexican culture (my first memory of music is listening to a Mariachi band) and in high school, I chose Spanish as my foreign language, as did most of my contemporaries.
Throughout my life I have known Mexican-Americans — people who moved to the U.S. from Mexico to become Americans. I attended college with them, served in the Army with them, worked alongside them and called them friends. Those whom I have known have been law-biding, had a strong work ethic, good morals, family values and a respect for faith in God. They are the kind of immigrants who make a significant contribution to the fabric of American society. They ask for no special treatment — just a fair opportunity. They obey our laws, and they succeed — as Americans. The same can be said of legal Latino immigrants from other Central American and South American countries.
However, while those previous immigrants worked hard to become inculcated as Americans, an opposite trend was simultaneously at work. The number of illegal immigrants (people who simply walk across the border) has become so great, no one really knows how many there are. Those who come from Spanish-speaking nations aren’t as motivated as their legal predecessors to learn the English language, obey American laws or “melt” into our American culture. More common now are illegals who fight to retain their separate cultural and national identities, an attitude that guarantees they will remain separated from main-stream America, unprepared to participate in a political and social system foreign to their cultural upbringing.
Another way in which illegal immigrants today differ from their traditional predecessors is that there is a far greater criminal component now. Roughly one third of the American prison population is comprised of illegals. Gang violence and related crime has greatly escalated as a result of international drug and prostitution rings originating from south of the border, creating a law-enforcement nightmare in many cities. Illegals are bringing the worst elements of society with them, and our own federal government carelessly disregards how that adversely effects our nation. States and municipalities are burdened with unsustainable financial obligations, not only in terms of prison systems and law enforcement, but on health costs, education costs and housing costs, not to mention a job market that continues to be depressed.
Another difference is that there are many young Mexican immigrants who are convinced that a huge portion of the Southwestern United States really belongs to Mexico and their goal is to take back that land. These young people have no desire to become Americans. They do not respect American laws, traditions or our form of government. They actually want to take over the Southwest and force us to become Mexicans. This is not hyperbole. See http://www.mayorno.com/WhoIsMecha.html.
But the biggest difference between immigration policy now and during the 1950s when I was a kid, is that immigration laws used to be designed with our national interests in mind, and those laws were actually enforced. But many prudent and protective laws were struck down, including laws that prevented immigrants from bringing diseases into our country. Diseases we had eradicated were re-introduced into our population, because sensible immigration regulation was dismantled.
That is not to say our current immigration laws are all bad. But the call for “Comprehensive reform” is meaningless when even those laws are not enforced. When the federal government sues an Arizona sheriff for actually trying to enforce immigration laws, the only rational explanation is that our own federal government doesn’t want those laws enforced. The “broken system” we hear about is nothing more than the refusal of government to do their job according to the law.
Relaxing law enforcement in order to sustain an “open borders” policy is contrary to our national interests. No nation in the world can tolerate foreign nationals simply walking across their borders without going through the legal process of applying for residency. Why should we abrogate our national interests, our national identity, our national security?
Go to the other nations of the world and find out what they require in order to allow foreign nationals to relocate to their country. You will discover that it isn’t easy to immigrate to other countries. The reality is that the desire to protect national identity and cultural cohesion is universal. Legal restrictions to immigration are to be expected and respected by all potential immigrants. When legal immigrants weigh the difficulty of meeting immigration criteria against the promise and hope we offer, the U.S.A. still stands out as the land of golden opportunities. People from all over the world are still welcomed (legally) to our shores.
So, why should our government allow for additional millions of undocumented (illegal) immigrants to cross our borders without concern for our immigration laws? The short answer: cheap labor. Keeping labor costs down is a concern of big business that has both Democrats and Republicans looking the other way. By letting illegals enter the work force they are able to sustain their profit margin and keep prices artificially low. It’s similar to keeping costs down by sending jobs overseas, where they pay workers less. Only in this case, the low-paid foreign workers are right here in our own country.
Proponents of this arrangement like to say that these illegals do the work Americans aren’t willing to do. But I don’t believe that for a moment. Since the economy tanked in 2008 a lot of Americans have learned to appreciate having a job. If the younger generation isn’t willing to roll up their sleeves yet, they will eventually. Necessity is the mother of invention. My generation certainly was willing to work hard. When I was young, I did my share of menial labor. A lot of us did. That’s how you got your start in the working world. Then, after you got experience and education, you moved up. That used to be the American way. We all had to start at the bottom and earn the respect and trust of employers. Why should American youth think they’re any different today?
Now we have a crisis situation. Thousands of children from Latin American countries being brought into our country at the hands of cold-hearted smugglers. Children are separated from their families, exposed to untold dangers, diseases and criminal abuse. Their stories pull at our heart strings and we are asked to have compassion on them. And on a purely compassionate level, I applaud the efforts of Glenn Beck and mercuryone.org to provide relief to these children, but ultimately, they need to be returned to their own countries. We cannot feed, house and care for everyone. Nor should we, when many of our own are in need.
Recently in the news I saw someone holding up a sign calling for open borders. It said something to the effect that the land belongs to everyone. That sentiment is born of ignorance, and simply is not true. Laws of land ownership are supposedly respected by every sovereign nation. Much of the land over-run and trashed by illegals on our southern border is private property, owned by people who paid for it and still are required to pay taxes and buy insurance for it. It’s their land, not “everyone’s”. It certainly doesn’t belong to Mexico or mythological Aztlan. Americans deserve to have their land protected. But their own government is failing them, choosing to ignore them in order to show compassion on foreign mobs.
It’s Americans who deserve our compassion — people who obey the law and take their responsibilities seriously. For these same fair-minded Americans also have compassion for the illegals, and try to do right by them. These Americans already have been helping and sharing and giving. We are the world’s deep pockets. But if things continue as they are, at some point our pockets will be empty, and strong-arm tactics will prove fruitless. Who will have compassion then? We should not allow false compassion for illegals to justify the continued criminal invasion of our land.
While there is still time, have some compassion for America.
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near — Isaiah 55:6
But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. — Amos 5:24