A recent letter made the point that anyone who is in the U.S. illegally is a law-breaker and therefore should be deported. It painted a black-and-white view that illegal is illegal and anyone here illegally should be deported.
Of course, we should expel non-citizen immigrants who have committed serious crimes. Of course, we should carefully vet people who travel here and should work to keep unvetted people from entering our country. But exiling people who have been here for years whose only crime is entering illegally is unjust, ugly and heavy-handed.
We are a civilized country with laws that have appropriate penalties for violators. Most of us have “bent the rules” at some point in our lives. Usually, the bent rules are minor traffic infractions and nobody gets hurt. However, many of us have also committed more egregious acts, including driving with “one too many,” stretching the truth on an income tax return, or worse. At the same time, we still consider ourselves to be law-abiding citizens.
People who enter illegally and otherwise lead upstanding lives have demonstrated that they are as law-abiding as most of us. They also contribute to society by usually doing jobs most of us don’t want and pay taxes for benefits they often don’t receive. Yes, when they are caught they should pay some appropriate penalty, but wouldn’t paying a fine and being required to enter the naturalization process be enough?
God bless us all.