Focus on the Good

Feb 22, 2017

To the Editor:

It’s hard to disagree with the president that “bad hombres” who have arrived illegally on our shores should be sent back to where they came from. Assumed in those statements, however, is that he intends to focus on deporting the “bad” ones, not the millions of immigrants who may have arrived here illegally many years ago and are members of conscientious, hard-working, law-abiding families, who have every desire to eventually become loyal American citizens. Hopefully the president doesn’t intend for the “good ones” to be harassed and intimidated by law enforcement.

Another aspect to the president’s recent statements should made more clear. If we assume correctly that he intends for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to focus its efforts on deporting the “bad” ones (i.e., criminals), the issue of legality needs to be observed. The laws of the United States don’t just apply to citizens. They apply to everyone within our borders. And if that logic holds true, any immigrant who’s been accused of a crime first needs to be arraigned, brought to trial and, if convicted, sentenced to jail time.

The point is that suspected criminals have to be given the opportunity of a fair trial by our judicial system, and if convicted serve their term and only then be deported. Those law-abiding immigrants, on the other hand, who have not been accused of a serious crime and have resided in the United States for some time shouldn’t have to live in ongoing fear of ICE agents invading their homes to deport them.

The law-abiding European Jews from the World War II period know well of the ongoing fear of being rounded up by the Gestapo and sent to “the camps.” Yes, fear of extermination is undeniably very different from the fear of imprisonment and/or deportation, but at this time in our country’s history no one needs to live in such fear.

Deport immigrant criminals after they’ve served their term in jail, and for those who have committed no serious crime while in the U.S., let’s instead focus on the good that they contribute to our country while living here.

Jim Eller





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