BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
July 6, 2014
What is your view on immigration? Irrespective of the answer depending on your opinion on U.S. immigration policy, the question advocates of immigration reform are asking is how a nation built by immigrants and one that prides itself in promoting human rights, suddenly become anti-immigration? From Laredo Texas to Murrieta California and Arizona, anti-immigration rhetoric has become the order of the day. Just as the ‘N’ word and the ‘F’ word is used to qualify African-Americans and members of the gay and lesbian community, the ‘I’ word for “illegals,” is the new racial slur used against the undocumented in America.
The most shocking news this week and one that many have called un-American, are organized anti-immigration protests and images of bus loads of mothers and children being turned away by groups with strong opposition to immigration, who claim those mothers and children are burdens to taxpayers and therefore, must be shipped back to where they come from irrespective of the dangerous conditions that brought them to American shores.
As shocking as the story may sound, more shocking is the news of families being separated as a result of deportation and court ordered removals, which not only devastates a family setting but also makes orphan of American born children, forced to live as orphans because their parents are removed by virtue of their immigration status.
This week, the Washington Post featured the story of Nora Sandigo a 48-year-old American woman from Miami, who represents the solution to the growing problem in immigration enforcement affecting what the Federal refers to as “mixed –status-families.” Through her charity, Sandigo plays the role of mother to 812 children victims of family separation. Many of the children have lost one or both parents to deportation and since the government does not monitor what happens to such children, she assumed the responsibility of care.
A quarter of people deported from the United States, claim they are parents of U.S.-citizen minors and more than 100,000 American children, lose a parent to deportation each year, to emphasize the magnitude of U.S. immigration problems. Without people like Sandigo and other charity organizations nationwide, such children would end up in shelters and be exposed to a life of crime and abuse.
Anti-immigration groups and those opposed to keeping families together are somehow misinformed about the so-called “illegals” in America. Who are the undocumented? Why are they drawn to America? And is the immigration crisis solely a U.S. problem? There is a misconception about the undocumented. If asked, the opposition to reform has a face to who represents the undocumented.
The belief is that the so-called “illegals” are people of Central America or Hispanic origin alone. To be illegal means you’re from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and so forth however, this is not so. The undocumented in America are from all over the world. There are Canadians, citizens of the various countries of the European Union and Jews undocumented in the U.S. just as there are undocumented Mexicans, though, there is a variation in numbers due to proximity of Mexico to the U.S. borders.
Irrespective of national origin, the undocumented are doctors, lawyers, nurses, farmers and cleaners who by virtue of circumstances are seeking the opportunity for a better life in the U.S. Many are victims of poverty and some are drawn to our nation, to escape wars and threats by gang members. No doubt the U.S. is a land of opportunity and as long as there is poverty and strife in the world, the less privileged will seek refuge in places where opportunity for survival exists.
The ongoing immigration revolution is not solely a U.S. problem. All over the EU there is movement of people from Africa, Asia and Latin America seeking better opportunities and safety for their families. Most are victims of poverty coming from nations with corrupt leadership and poor economy. They see the U.S. and the EU as trustworthy governments where there is no limit to your achievement as long as you’re able and willing to work for a living.
There is no doubt U.S. immigration needs fixing. Congress must carry out its responsibility to secure American borders but this cannot be achieved by tearing families apart. Undocumented parents that are here with their American born children should be able to stay, while the lawmakers look for ways to resolve all pending immigration issues. Failure to give amnesty to the 11 million undocumented in the U.S. will create unwarranted burden on immigration and could be costly for the nation in the long run.
The offer of amnesty will not encourage illegal immigration, as the opposition to reform believes, as long as there is a strong will by Congress to resolve the immigration issue once and for all. Congress must work with the President to secure U.S. borders to prevent future problems of illegal immigration but this cannot be achieved by allowing partisan politics to decide American immigration crisis. Congress should stop separating families and allow a bipartisan approach to the threatening immigration problems.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ available at http://www.amazon.com/author/adeyemioshunrinade. Follow on Twitter @san0670.