25 May 2007

¡La Migra!

My views on immigration softened somewhat during the time that I served as a volunteer missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was assigned to San Diego in Southern California as a Spanish-speaking missionary, and I interacted on a daily basis with hardworking people who had made great sacrifices to get to this country. It is hard to follow a hard line when you see the faces of illegal immigration, but I also met individuals who lacked that work ethic, but who had also come here illegally.

In the years that have passed since I completed that service, I have had to temper my compassion with the reality of illegal immigration's impact. Although the economic benefit of cheap labor is significant, allowing large numbers of undocumented persons to enter our country poses a serious security risk, not to mention the fact that it is illegal. The illegality is enough for me to oppose illegal immigration, notwithstanding the empathy I feel for some of its perpetrators.

Congress and the White House have failed to do anything substantial to curb illegal inflows. There is a new bill that has received wide coverage in the press, and I was hoping to point you in the direction of some good information

It's a messy situation. My take? I don't like it when the government acts too quickly on legislation of this kind. We sometimes end up with deeply flawed legislation as a result. I think the top priority has to be the security of our borders. It is not inhumane in any way to secure the country from illegal entry. When those borders are secure, I advocate a welcome immigration policy. We have to disincentivise illegal entry in favor of legal measures. I am the son of an immigrant, and I think that our country, our position, and our freedom exist to bring those great blessings to others, but it must be done in wisdom and in order and in accordance with the rule of law.

I cringe at some advocates of curbing illegal immigration, as it becomes clear that racism and bigotry motivates a portion of that group. Notwithstanding such sentiments I think most Americans are concerned with upholding the law and keeping the country safe. We can do this the right way, just don't hold you breath for this Congress to be the ones to make it happen.

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