“We either have a country or we don’t; we either have borders or we don’t.” This was President Donald Trump’s rallying cry on the way to his historic election in 2016, and somehow it was controversial.
This past week, a caravan of migrants from Central America stormed the U.S. border with Mexico, trying to force their way into the United States. Many of these individuals were carrying their native flags as they attempted to get past the blockade formed by the U.S. border patrol.
There was once a time where an attempt to enter another country uninvited while waving your country’s flag was called an invasion.
America is a nation of immigrants. My grandmother came to the United States from Mexico in the early 1960s, and I have heritage that can be traced back to Germany and Ireland as well as Spain. We are all descended from someone who came to this country from somewhere else.
But rushing the border and throwing rocks at law enforcement is not how my ancestors came to this country. They went through the process of immigration and earned their place as Americans because they respected and believed in what America stands for.
Illegal immigration is a spit in the face of America. It is a flat-out rejection of American law and American values, not to mention the fact that it is an insult to the millions of people around the world who work incredibly hard to follow our nation’s laws governing the influx of foreigners.
America is the most generous country in the world. In 2017, it was estimated that 44.5 million people in the U.S. are foreign born. The vast majority of these people waited years to come to this country in search of a better life because they, like my grandmother 50 years ago, believed in what America stands for.
So no, I don’t have sympathy for the mob that threw rocks at the border patrol. I don’t have sympathy for those that had to run from tear gas when they tried to invade our nation.
I have sympathy for the immigrants who patiently worked through the legal process. I have sympathy for our hard-working families who watch low-skilled labor be handed to cheap illegal immigrant laborers.
I have sympathy for us, the taxpayers that foot the bill for the social welfare that illegal immigrants consume, because unlike a legal immigrant who is forbidden from receiving social welfare, illegal immigrants get their healthcare paid for by us.
I am all for immigration. Our economy is booming. We have millions of open jobs across this country and not enough people to fill them. But skipping the line and subverting American values through illegal immigration is not the way to do it.
It is not racist, it is not xenophobic, and it is most certainly not uncompassionate to believe that a foreigner who wishes to come to our nation should be expected to follow our laws. Our existence as a nation hinges on our laws and sovereignty being respected by foreigners.