In the CNN video a student asks a gathered crowd, “Why does my f@&#ing green card say that I’m a resident alien?”
First of all, instead of standing in the middle of the quad shouting profanities about it, use some of those campus facilities to actually educate yourself. An alien, for immigration and visas purposes, is a person who is not a citizen of the United States. A resident alien is someone who is given permission to stay in the country for an extended period of time to work or study. Those following the protocol to eventually become a US citizen are called Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR). Those who enter the country without proper visas or overstay visas are called illegal aliens. So your green card status as resident alien is not derogatory, it’s definition under US law.
Being from a protected class means people can’t be discriminated against because of race, color, religion or creed, national origin or ancestry, sex, age, physical or mental disability, or veteran status. Being sans visa or overstaying a visa is not a protected status. Upholding the law is not discrimination. Selective enforcement of the law would be, which is why it should be upheld across the board.
Second, there should be no sanctuary from federal law. If someone has broken federal law in the United States and they are standing on United States soil they are subject to it’s laws. Period. No exceptions.
For breaking this law there should be no jail time. Illegal aliens should simply be sent home post haste. They all knew when they became illegal aliens the day might come when deportation became a reality. There’s no surprise, they’re just upset they got caught. The uproar over recent campaign talk is because enforcing immigration laws in the United States has been lax for so long that people find its enforcement unfair. Other than the ridiculous wall idea, protesters mainly protest the idea of current laws being enforced.
Most people in the country illegally have overstayed visas. I assume the reason the young man on campus is upset is because he or someone he knows faces a trip back to where he came from after his education is complete. That can be a tough pill to swallow. The student visa program wasn’t meant to be a short cut to a permanent stay in the States for all who apply. It is meant to attract top talent from across the world. If you don’t qualify as top talent upon graduation, don’t be mad that you have to leave, be happy you got an education.
“Education not deportation”, they chant. What should have been learned somewhere along the line is that breaking immigration laws by overstaying visas equals deportation. This isn’t a cruel or unusual punishment. In fact, it isn’t a punishment at all. As disappointed US citizens found out recently while looking to immigrate to Canada after the election, every country has immigration laws.
Justice should be blind and applied without prejudice rings true in the ears. Most people don’t really like what that truly means. The law is the law. You speed, you get a ticket. You don’t pay your taxes, you get a fine and possible jail. Sound immigration laws are the same. They’re not cruel. Enforcing the law isn’t hateful. The issue in most law enforcement is that it is applied unevenly. There should be no gray area. Legal alien or illegal alien. Those are the statuses. Illegal aliens get deported under the law.
Admittedly, the current system as it stands does not work. Thirteen million people, four percent of our population, live here illegally. That’s more than the entire populations of 160 independent countries. We can’t possibly deport all these people so bringing most into the fold legally is the only logical solution. Long standing illegal immigrants who are assets to the community deserve empathy and a path to citizenship. Lax enforcement of the laws in the past have created situations that would make deporting so many people inhumane. The fact remains they live here outside the system. That needs to be rectified by a Reagan-esque amnesty for aliens who have been here longer than 3 – 5 years. The difference this time would be that immigration laws going forward need to be strictly enforced. Short of amnesty, immigrant farm workers should be addressed. Their roll in putting food on the table is irreplaceable and should be recognized by legal status.
Yes, the Statue of Liberty still stands tall in New York harbor. Yes, my grandparents were immigrants (of the legal variety). Yes, immigrants are still welcome*.
*Following the law is required.
Stay tuned and stay involved.