Erring on the side of love

I used to believe that people who were in this country illegally should “do something” to change their status from illegal to legal. How hard could it be to obtain legal status?

Then I did some digging and learned that our current immigration system is a giant pile of trash with so many rules and regulations that it takes trained attorneys to make some sort of sense of them.

The first immigration laws targeted Chinese immigrants

So when it comes to political policies, I am in favor of reforming our immigration laws. I’d even support trashing them and starting over from scratch, because we are living in a world that looks much different than it did back in the 1800s when the first immigration laws were passed specifically outlawing immigrants from China. For starters, the “line” that many conservatives say immigrants need to go to the back of doesn’t exist. If a person wants to come to America legally, they have to have two things: a pile of money and an American family member or employer willing to sponsor them, both of which exclude the very people who need us the most: the poor and the abused.

So the reality is that millions of these people yearning for a better life snuck through our border, rolled up their sleeves, and made a life for themselves. Immigrants are some of the hardest working people I know. (Cue Hamilton: Immigrants: we get the job done!) The ones I know LONG to be productive members of society and actually WANT to pay taxes and contribute to the country that has given them such a better life, and becoming citizens  — or at least legal residents — would be a dream come true.

Once they are here, many of these families then have children who grow up with citizenship. But these children don’t have the same fears of the boogey man that we do. Instead, they live under the constant fear that their parents may be deported at any moment:

When I was a teenager, my dad once told me I was a ‘bleeding heart liberal.’ He was right. In matters of the heart, I would rather err on the side of love than on the side of exclusion. Let’s be real. These people are already here. There are myriad financial reasons to bring them into the fold and out of the shadows.  But the biggest reason to do this is because it is the right thing to do, even if it is wrong in the eyes of our current twisted up laws.

Change the laws. Secure the border. For those here already, pay a fine. Become a legal worker. Pay taxes. Breathe.

Erring on the side of love in immigration reform is another reason I’m With Her this year.


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