If a child tells the police, “my dad just kidnapped someone,” the police need to investigate. If a child meets the mayor of her city, and tells the mayor, “my mother grows marijuana in our backyard,” city authorities need to investigate. If a child is discussing immigration with the First Lady of the United States, and the child tells her, “my mother doesn’t have papers,” authorities need to investigate.
This is what happened last Wednesday. Michelle Obama was visiting New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD, not far from Washington, DC. While talking to students there, a second grader told Mrs. Obama, “my Mom says that Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn’t have papers.”
Mrs. Obama replied, “yeah, well that’s something that we have to work on right? To make sure people can be here with the right kind of papers, right?”
To which the second-grader replied, “but my Mom doesn’t have papers.”
It was a sweet little conversation, and if you have any heart at all, you can’t help but feel bad for the little girl. But this is serious stuff.
Most press outlets have reported that U.S. Immigration officials have said that no action will be taken on the matter. This is just ridiculous. A child has just told the First Lady of the United States that her parent has committed a crime. And we’re not looking into it? I’m not saying that we go in with helicopters and scoop away the mom in some dramatic fashion. But like any crime, we should at least investigate. And if the Mom really is in the U.S. illegally, then she must be deported to her home country, where ever that is.
We’ve got a conflict here that needs fixing. Most Americans agree that we need to fix our immigration problems. And if we all can truly agree on this, then we must also agree that being in this country illegally is a crime. Come on, why can’t we at least agree on that? Why can’t we agree on the definition of the first word in “illegal immigration?”
This is the sticking point of all of our immigration problems. Illegal immigration is a crime. Period. And it must be treated as such. We can’t expect our government to fix our illegal immigration problem if we citizens can’t even agree that it’s a crime.
Some people are protesting Arizona’s new immigration law, saying that illegal immigration issues should be handled at the federal level. That’s fine, but can we first agree that it’s a crime? And that all such crimes should be investigated and prosecuted?
In the case of the second grader, some have said that if we deport the Mom, then we split up the family. That’s just not true. The mother is the one who is splitting up the family, not the authorities. If your dad robs a bank and goes to prison as a result, you can’t blame the country for splitting up your family. The simple fact is that many people commit crimes in this country. And many of those criminals are parents. And families are torn apart every day because of the actions of the parents. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the way it is.
But let’s think about this for a second. In an immigration case, the offender does not go to prison, they’re sent home. So the family doesn’t have to be split up after all. When the Mom goes back to her home country, her family can go with her.
Things just aren’t right. We scream because the federal government is not fixing our immigration problem, but then we don’t want immigration officials to investigate a possible immigration crime. If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re gonna keep getting what we’re getting.
As citizens of the United States, we must all agree that illegal immigration is a crime. And then we must enforce the law. This problem really is that simple.