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The Law & Ways Around Our Immigration Fears

The Law & Ways Around Our Immigration Fears
When I wrote about immigration last month, my intent was to bring up some of the issues we’d have to address if we were going to end up with an actual immigration policy. Our nation’s knee-jerk approach is obviously not working, and, worse, causing life-changing complications and hardships that could create the very result many fear—creating more terrorists and chaos.

Can a zero-tolerance policy resolve anything? As George Will, a commentator on the “right-wing” side of political spectrum says, it ends the thinking process. You can’t adjust to the circumstances. Isn’t amnesty all about intolerable circumstances?

Obviously we have a lot of issues to come together on, and breaking our own laws isn’t a path that leads to resolving issues, unless it’s to bring attention to how inadequate our “solutions” currently are.

Last month it seemed obvious that we need to push the reset button, lessen the fear and panic level, and start with adapting part of the original Hippocratic Oath: “first, do no harm.”

People voiced their outrage at separating children and families with no obvious intent to reunite them. Some even wondered if the companies “caring” for the children were in the slave-trade business. The courts seemed to agree families shouldn’t be separated, the Administration’s approach wasn’t working, and gave hope that we might even shift toward more sensible and humane policies.

Instead, unfortunately, the kids are not back with their families—and worse, the government got meaner and seemed to look for more inhumane ways to operate to get around the court’s intent. Some of those people may want their children to become lawyers someday, but while still toddlers? Who came up with the idea of asking people to give up their claim for amnesty in order to get their child back? Then deporting them without their children? Is this just business? Simply enforcing the law?

Maybe what’s going on now will get us to look at those types of expressions as attempting to excuse the indefensible—and wonder if it ever applies. Nothing personal? It’s the law. It’s just business. Really? How is it not personal? Let’s give up that one.

Is it clear from following the news that it is not illegal to seek asylum? It’s not. It is legal to ask for asylum.
It is illegal for the government to turn anyone away from points of entry. If you enter somewhere else, it is a misdemeanor. The penalty for that is not the loss of your children—until now.

You also have to be in the country to ask for asylum. If you are in the country, no matter how you got here, you are protected by the Constitution and are guaranteed due process of law. You have rights and you get a hearing. The idea is to prevent the government from persecuting minorities. If you or your ancestors immigrated to the US, they were at some point a minority.

Asking for asylum does not make someone an illegal immigrant. It makes them an asylum seeker. That’s not illegal.
If someone arrives in the US and claims asylum, does the US have to deal with their claim? Yes. Both international and US law requires the government to deal with their claim. Laws can’t be changed by Executive Order.

What is illegal and indefensible is child abuse. It’s also disheartening to see these kids and families separated. Unfortunately, the lawlessness and uncalled-for abuse on our borders continues, and it’s coming from those we expect to enforce the laws. So who are really the terrorists? The refugees? Or those enforcing unwritten laws?

Ultimately this comes back to where I was last month—first do no harm. The harm continues, and will as long as it is hidden from the public and we don’t object. Maybe it’s time to bring more focus on who benefits financially too, but clearly we also need a common perception of what is going on.

We can’t rely on politicians for that—and never should. We can’t even rely on the media—even our favorite sources. Some add more clarity and some muddy the waters or tease—I’ll give details on that at 11.

They are a business too and always look for ways to attract us. We all know the networks and media want to keep us interested and may add a little extra drama to keep us tuned in. Watching the news, though, also gave me clues on how to approach it a little differently to add more balance to our interpretive processes.

Before seeing that news piece, I got a call from a lady who was very upset at what she described as an invasion of drug dealers and gang members and the violence they bring. Then she objected to the false reporting on immigration issues I didn’t even address last issue. It didn’t seem, however, like she was giving me her political opinion as much as she was expressing her honest fears.
I found a recent study on the sources of violence in our society and included that this issue. It looks at why some do perceive what’s going on differently.

Ultimately, until we know our fears, can we really recognize if what we hear is true? As the mid-terms elections approach it would serve us to question and lessen our fears, wouldn’t it? Maybe this election will really be about whether we can make those distinctions and can look beyond the label to the issues that unite us.

I watched an in-depth look at tariffs that interviewed farmers and fishermen from all around the country. It was refreshing to hear how one fisherman looked at it.

He said for him the problem was that the solution had too much reliance on the alone part of “we’d do it alone.” The Administration, he said, was making decisions before they had a full picture of the impact of tariffs because they weren’t talking to enough people.
Maybe that’s a step we need. Look beyond a few comfortable sources and get a fuller picture—not the right way or to win a vote 51-49 or 5-4 vote.

Does anyone really “win” in those situations? Does forcing our solution after a close vote work for long? Maybe inquiring and talking to get a fuller picture and hear new ideas—instead of protecting the ones we have—gets us closer to winning. Can it get better if we don’t?
Research it and you’ll discover interesting facts, such as, 75% of us think immigration is a good thing. More next time.

Please ask the DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to demonstrate her humanity and do the humane thing—take care of these refugee children. Her email address is: or write to her at Secretary of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528. Thank you.
—Steve Hays

About The Author

Steve Hays

Publisher and Editor of The Life Connection Magazine Print and Online versions.

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