Trump has warned Americans about a dangerous, murderous invasion of illegals at the U.S. border. I agree that not all undocumented immigrants are good people. The numbers tell us that there are bad members in any large group.
However, traveling to the U.S. border isn’t a crime. Nor is seeking asylum. Most of the men and women are genuinely looking for a better, safer life for themselves and their families. What they see in America is hope.
Generally speaking, we humans don’t want to leave our homeland. We prefer to remain in the place of our history and culture, our people, our language, our family, our neighborhood, our way of life and all that is familiar. And we prefer to be where we are wanted.
We aren’t inclined to walk and hitch rides and sleep outside and be exposed to human and environmental dangers for thousands of miles simply to become freeloaders.
Most immigrants, like people in general, want to make a living. Like us, they’re a diverse and complex population. They vary in education, skills, and ability to contribute. Many undocumented immigrants in the U.S. work, live in apartments, or in homes they bought through a second party, and have businesses.
Many others live in a garage or a trailer, multiple people packed into small quarters, and work at poor paying jobs. They’re accused of stealing those jobs from U.S. citizens. Sadly, the real culprits are the American employers who don’t want to pay living wages to their fellow Americans.
People are concerned that undocumented immigrants receive government benefits. There are some who do. Most don’t. Because of their fear of arrest and deportation, they want to remain invisible. They will not ask for aid, and thus expose themselves. They do, however, pay taxes through their employment and by buying groceries, vehicles, clothing, gas, supplies and the items we all need to get by day-to-day.
Desperate individuals who are afraid for their lives, or want a safer, healthier life for their children, do whatever they must. A family in the U.S. moves out of a poor school district to a better one so their child has a better life. It’s human nature to protect and provide for our children, no matter the cost.
Trump creates a cruel and untrue narrative when he says that immigrants are intent on harming Americans. He creates false fears and perpetuates prejudice and ignorance. He turns a complex issue into a simple “Us vs. Them.” His job is to protect and inform Americans. His responsibility is to do it wisely, thoughtfully, truthfully.
We can deal with the immigrants. Some will be able to stay and others will be deported. But we can’t allow fear, misconceptions and lies to create within us prejudices about a human issue that requires genuine, humane, long-term solutions. We really are better than this. I hope.