America is an awful place. We are unfair to our workers, we force the middle class to finance the wretched excesses of the wealthy, and some of our states even plan to ask residents to verify their immigration status. Worst of all, in Alabama schools that provide free public education may ask parents to document whether they are citizens. As harsh and unfair as this seems, illegals can be assured that their immigration status will not infringe on access to a taxpayer-funded education. Alabama’s law verifies immigration status for informational purposes only.
America is cruel, and we let the world know it. Democratic lawmakers were incensed when Arizona passed its landmark immigration enforcement law, SB 1070:
Without such comprehensive reform, we will only see more cruel and misguided efforts such as the Arizona law, which basically institutionalizes racial profiling and will lead to American citizens being detained by police simply because they forgot their drivers’ license at home.1
Our president stressed his distaste for the Arizona law in a public appearance with Felipe Calderon, the leader of our largest vendor of illegal aliens:
And I want everyone, American and Mexican, to know my administration is taking a very close look at the Arizona law. We’re examining any implications, especially for civil rights. Because in the United States of America, no law-abiding person — be they an American citizen, a legal immigrant, or a visitor or tourist from Mexico — should ever be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like.2
True to the president’s words, Arizona was whacked by the Justice Department shortly thereafter. The lawsuit made headlines around the world.
The president embarked on a tour of Latin America earlier this year. During public appearances he made sure our southern neighbors know where he stands on rights for their citizens residing in the U.S. (see: Amnesty Ridicules the Fallen). It would have been cheaper to scrap the trip, and drop leaflets from Air Force One announcing that our gates are open, and no questions will be asked of anyone who can sneak in.
As unfair and prejudicial as our officials present our country to the world, immigration rights rallies are commonplace here. They are attended by illegal immigrants who do not fear arrest, and know that their rights are supported by our leaders. Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez has been promoting a countrywide tour publicizing the evils of deportation:
Tour stops will typically include a large church gathering with the testimony of these families and students and others caught in the unprecedented number of deportations currently taking place.3
Should Americans who are tired of the unfairness of our society, and desire to illegally take up residence in Latin America, expect the same open-armed reception? Not in Mexico. Foreigners engaging in political activity can be arrested and deported, regardless of their immigration status. 4 El Salvador has a similar law.5
When you leave your hotel room in Costa Rica, you had better bring your papers with you. Immigration checks are routine, especially at locations frequented by foreigners.6 This is not a problem for illegals in the U.S., where any use of an individual’s appearance by authorities enforcing immigration laws is a civil rights violation. It is a problem in Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Honduras, where you must carry evidence that you are in the country legally, and officials are not forbidden to ask for proof.7
The United States has laws to discourage illegal immigration, but foreigners who should not be here can find comfort in the words of public officials who refer to these laws as a “broken system.” Our Secretary of Labor recently issued a statement affirming that we protect the rights of illegal workers. Best of all, illegal aliens have the assurance of our president that not only is he working on their citizenship, but also supports an education initiative for Latinos, so they can pull America out of its financial quagmire. America may be unfair, and it may be cruel, but to an illegal immigrant life here probably sounds like a pretty good deal.