Thursday, June 30, 2016

Immigration

With Independence Day just around the corner, I am pausing to think about what it is to be an American today.  When the time came in 12th grade English class for me and my classmates to register to vote, I needed to chose a political party in which to throw my support.

At the time, I remember asking Mom which one I should choose.  She told me which party she and Dad belonged to, but told me to find my own path.  So since 1984 and for the past 32 years, I have been a solid-footed Democrat and have never once voted outside my party of choice.

Why did I choose - and for that matter remain - Democrat, one might ask?
  • Obviously, I believe in civil rights and equality for every tax paying citizen in this country, including the rights to life, liberty and the ability to pursue and live your happiness as you see fit as long as it reasonably does not physically or mentally cause pain to someone else; 
  • I believe in pay equality, increasing the minimum wage slightly, reforming our criminal justice system, and gun safety and regulation (despite what Fox News reports, Democrats DO NOT WANT TO TAKE GUNS AWAY, we simply want to create some rules around how they are purchased); 
  • I support public education, abolishing the death penalty, and Wall Street reform; 
  • I believe in universal healthcare, expanding Social Security, and fighting climate change; 
  • I believe in congressional term limits, decriminalizing marijuana and a woman's right to choose. 
  • And while I'm at it, I'll even toss in two of my own ideas: 1) that if people can rent their houses and their cars, they should be able to rent their bodies, so I also believe in decriminalizing prostitution, too, and 2) I think the Presidency should be just one 6-year term with no chance for re-election so that the administration can focus on issues and not waste time and money on what amounts to a popularity contest.
But the one thing, the ONLY thing on the Democratic agenda that I simply cannot support is immigration reform.  I cannot defend the idea that we should reward citizenship to people who have entered this country illegally and perhaps chose to create families under the pretense that their American-born children would solidify their places as American citizens.  I can't hold up the idea that it's then okay for those people to then demand that this country treat them better, that is demanding not to be exploited while being hypocritical in taking advantage of what this country as to offer.

Of course I understand the desire, the need, the desperation of leaving a horrible living situation in hopes of something better.  And I applaud out loud for the millions of people who have come to this country without knowing for sure what lay ahead, not to mention the treacherous and most-often perilous methods used to get here from there.  If you read my blog then you know that I, myself, am not too far removed from immigrant relatives - all of whom came to this country as documented immigrants and who worked hard in order to gain their U.S. citizenship.  I mean, hell, we are a nation created by immigration.  And while I do believe we should never close our borders to people who are seeking a new and hopefully better life in America, I whole-heartedly believe that those who do come to the U.S. go through the proper procedures and channels in order to become citizens of our country.

When it boils down to it, I guess I simply do not believe we should reward people - any people - who blatantly break the law.  This is not a U.S. custom and I am just too much of a rule-follower to support the idea of granting something to someone who doesn't deserve it or who hasn't taken the proper steps needed in order to gain what they want.  Especially considering that the steps are not simple yet tough.  They take time, dedication and a deep desire to want to be legally included in our country.

Otherwise, I remain a die-hard Democrat and that is how I will be voting this November.