As a nation founded by culminating immigrant traditions and ideals, one would think the American people would have more appreciation for those who desire to leave their homeland and live among us in an attempt to work toward a desirable life.
Following his presentation of the new Republican immigration reform principles, Speaker of the House John Boehner said, “I think it’s time to deal with it, but how we deal with it is going to be critically important.”
Briefly summarized, Boehner’s proposed principles suggest that immigrants must first humiliate themselves by admitting their “culpability.” After immigrants pass rigorous background checks and pay sizable fines and back taxes, potential citizens can earn the right to continue living in the U.S. among America’s finest. However, undocumented immigrants will not be able to work towards citizenship.
It’s interesting that Boehner and his Republican counterparts are so willing to brush off other people’s lives and decide to just “deal with” the situation. Even more interesting is the number of people who share their beliefs.
Of course, it’s below any member of the House to even consider tackling what immigrants tackle on a day-to-day basis.
For example, taking one of the most popular stereotypes into consideration, the idea of working in a field picking fruits and vegetables for less than minimum wage with no benefits would definitely be out of the question.
The hard fact is that immigrants are willing to do and sacrifice more than any American. As a majority, immigrants are frugal spenders. Overall, immigrants work hard — sometimes working as many as 80+ hours per week — and are not picky about where they’ll work. Maybe they don’t want the bottom-of-the-barrel jobs they have, but they’ll take it because it means money, and the betterment of their and their families’ lives.
Immigrants leave their countries for various reasons — high unemployment rates, strong oppression, rampant violence, government corruption and poor living conditions. They choose to come to the U.S. because of the benefits we have to offer, the promise of a job and the hope to create a better life simply by working hard.
A persistently covered issue with the Republican Party is the number of illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. from Mexico.
However, no one seems to be taking into consideration the dedication of these people — their willingness to walk thousands of miles through deserts and risk their lives with border control just to earn a margin of the rights that most citizens take for granted every single day.
No, I do not condone illegally entering the country and working when thousands of others are trying to enter legally and getting denied. But, when comparing the rights of a U.S. citizen to those of a Mexican citizen, it’s hard to not empathize and justify their decision.
For a political party that is always pushing for more rights for the middle class and small business owners, it must’ve slipped the Republican’s minds that immigrants make up 18 percent of small business owners and an even larger majority of their employees.
It’s disgraceful how we’re expected to put down these people for entering our country illegally when it’s significantly challenging to even gain legal citizenship. Applicants wait for years and can spend upwards of $15,000 to, in return, possibly never even receive a green card.
Most, if not all, native-born Americans, especially those holding office, could serve to learn a few lessons set by the example of immigrants. They work for less than they deserve without complaint, make do with what they have and monitor their spending wisely.
It’s time for the Republican Party to stop making excuses about why we cannot assist these people — who want the American dream more than most Americans do — achieve this goal and become legal U.S. citizens.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @mikayrodr