Humanitarian Reflections on Illegal Immigration

It's time to admit that we have pockets of illegal laborers who we shun on one side of our face, and wish we could use on the other.

I'm just an ordinary United States citizen. I live in an ordinary family and 
community. For the life of me, I can not quite understand the delay in designing a citizenship program for those who are illegal, but have been working here and raising families without any criminal behavior. I believe our borders need to be closed. The United States should make every effort to continue deporting undocumented people who are criminals, or have abused and used the system far too long. 

However, for those that have made their way here, working and struggling to have a better future for their families, I think it would be quite possible for America to design a system that includes required obligations, with a commitment through an approved track to citizenship. By doing so, We might dignify them, and bring out the best in most of our illegal population. Instead of having them running from us, undocumented persons might seek out new and exciting opportunities here, trusting in their hope of becoming legal and part of our society here. Illegals should be required to actively contribute to our economy, attend ESL classes, and participate in the communities where they have hidden in fear. Churches and school buildings can set up ESL classes and have a screening process to assess any stumbling blocks that might hinder their progress.

Too many of us have used illegals to care for our children, tend to our gardens, or to work on our farms and clean our homes. Instead of treating them with dignity and respect, the way all people are meant to be treated, for years we have used them for cheap labor in our society. How can we be so blatantly hypocritical ? Is this not hypocrisy in its purest form?

Too much time ,energy and money has been spent on talking about what to do about the illegal immigrants in our country. It's time to get over it and make it right, using our moral compass instead of our political rhetoric. It's time to admit that we have pockets of illegal laborers who we shun on one side of our face, and wish we could use on the other side. Meanwhile, they are waiting on street corners hoping someone will give them work. 

Instead of turning our heads the other way, maybe we could reach out to them with a plan. Maybe we can identify the strongest leaders among them, and after confirming they are not with criminal intent, perhaps we can help them improve their plight legally, setting up standards, regulations and commitments that will benefit all law-abiding people seeking to live in the United States. Our country has the means to pave the way for their citizenship, and with legal oversight, allow them to become the paid leaders for other illegal immigrants, who have proven themselves worthy. Of course there is more complexity in the true implementation of this kind of process.

However, politics is often the biggest barrier to true and positive change, an area where America often falls farthest. We are tied up in red tape, alongside those who fail to look outside the box, or define illegals as people, instead of a problem to be solved, or vote to be gained.

Fortunately an Urban Institute Study was done in 2010 “ Balance Child and Family Protection with Immigration Enforcement Goals," in which they advised lawmakers to balance the protection of children and the integrity of their families, with Immigration law enforcement objectives. Slow but sure steps have been taken place in this area, the good news of the day for sure! Destroying family units in anyway would be almost a sin against humanity. If we are truly to be leaders in the free world, our humanitarian efforts must begin at home.

All photos used on this site are Public Domain unless otherwise credited.

©2011, 2012 All Rights Reserved Teresa DePoy

Photo Credit: