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Immigration: illegal = illegal?

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So, I have another political pet peeve. With all the immigration legislation talk with the offer of amnesty and all that goes with that, I consistently see the same thing over and over on the news: an illegal immigrant claiming that they're not a criminal, that they've done nothing wrong or illegal.

I'm not going to get into the issue of the bill, because I think everyone agrees that it's just a huge messed up problem now that has no obvious and easy solution (though I will say that I am a fan of it, considering alternative options). Instead, I just want to speak of this one issue: are illegal immigrants criminals? Or, maybe we can phrase it like this (which should reveal the obvious answer): is it illegal to be an illegal immigrant? Uh, yeah.

Especially in Texas, this is a huge issue that has had a massive impact after years of turning a blind eye to this illegal activity. One of the most obvious consequences has been the bankrupting and deterioration of our public school system. Public schools are flooded by kids whose families are here illegally. These schools take in these children and educate them, sticking the bill to taxpaying citizens. As such, a few families are having to pay for many, as the illegal families freely receive the benefits taxpayers...well, actually pay for. There are so many such children in our school system, that money is simply spread too thin. As for the classrooms themselves, so many public schools have become more concerned with providing social care and free breakfasts than reading Homer, Locke, or Voltaire. I've tutored at schools dominated by children of illegal immigrants where it seems the whole time is catching up these kids on math and reading. You'll have a 6th grade classroom where they are teaching on a 3rd grade level because the teachers have to teach to the lowest common denominator. This gives the children of citizens almost no chance to succeed unless they are motivated enough to look outside of the school system. Now, think of medical and health care. Anyone can go to Parkland and the tax payers pay for their care. However, the more illegal immigrants that use free or subsidized health care, the more strain this causes on the state budget and taxpayers. This carries over to things we often take for granted, such as paying for parks, police and fire departments, road maintenance, libraries, and so many other things where all use but not all pay for. The more disparity between freeloaders and those who pay for them, the more strained our economy and state will become...and the more our taxes increase and our children are hurt.

So, some might say that I'm being insensitive. Well, I'd love to be sensitive, but this is a serious issue with real consequences, and there's no easy solution. The fact is illegal immigrants have a powerful influence on our economy, especially within the construction and building industry. However, I don't buy anyone who honestly believes their presence is not criminal. Let's be very clear: this is not a racial conversation or issue. Not at all. It's a legal issue. Anyone who has stayed in a foreign country for a decent amount of time understands this. When I studied at Universiteit Maastricht, I had to procure a student visa. When that visa had expired, had I chosen to stay in the country without valid documentation, I would have been there illegally and faced the consequence of deportation. I knew that. Everyone knows that. If you want to go live and work in a foreign country, you get what's called a work visa. If you don't, you are living and working there illegally and subject to deportation. Again, we all know that. Here's the kicker though - it's still not racial. Again, not at all. This is obvious. It's simply economics and protecting citizens. If I decided to stay and live in Maastricht legally, I would have had, like in most of Europe, excellent health care and social and civil benefits and protection, including an almost completely subsidized education. If, however, I decided to live in Europe "under the radar" and used their subsidized medical care, I would know in my heart that I was cheating the system - I was stealing when going to the doctor or taking the prescription drugs. If I sent my kids to school and the university for free, yet I had not payed any taxes, I again would know I was stealing. It's really that simple. I would love to move to some land and take advantage for the country's benefits without paying for them; however, it would literally be criminal of me. And, in reality, I wouldn't want to, because I would know the whole time it was wrong. Thus, I get so frustrated when I see these people one television acting so defiantly like the own the place. No, they've just been living off those who do. It's theft. It's criminal. That's why we call it illegal.

So what now? Again, I'm not sure. I have heard that the process to citizenship is too difficult and expensive. I really don't know, but if that's the case, then we should look at it. I would say, however, that if I find something difficult to achieve, I don't give up and just steal I still put responsibility for the actions of those choosing to steal from our taxpayers. To be honest, however, our government has turned a blind eye to illegal immigration for so long, much because of the cheap labor provided. As such, we have made our own bed and should now somewhat be forced to lie in it. Personally, I'm a fan of the bill, but to be sure this is a difficult problem to correct.

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