The United States needs to take a long, hard look at its immigration policies. In doing so, it will also need to take a long, hard look at itself and recognize its current crackdown on immigrants as ugly and plainly un-American.
Take, for example, the recent case of Eduardo Gonzalez, a member of the U.S. Navy. As detailed on CNN’s Web site, Gonzalez has been deployed overseas twice and will likely be redeployed.
Quite obviously, Gonzales has been sent to fight for the U.S. The man has literally put his life on the line to defend America’s ideals of freedom and liberty, ideals that seem bitterly ironic considering his current predicament: his wife, Mildred, might be deported.
That’s not to say that immigration policy should be overhauled just because many soldiers have immigrant family members. Rather, the absurdity and illogical reasoning behind Mildred’s deportation show the human cost of a flawed and bureaucratic system.
According to CNN, Mildred came to the United States with her mother when she was five years old, and enjoyed political asylum until applying for legal status.
The rub in Mildred’s immigration status came when she got married. Although she initially applied for legalization with her mother – whose status was approved – the joint application required that Mildred be unmarried.
Mildred’s legal status still isn’t settled, and if she is not granted legal status, she must leave the United States, voluntarily or forcibly.
It’s hard to find a good argument for why Mildred shouldn’t be allowed to stay in the United States, considering that it’s unclear how Mildred-or the vast majority of undocumented residents or workers in the United States-poses a danger to the country.
It’s easy for anti-immigrant groups to lump together illegal immigrants and immigrants of unclear legal status and rally against them as ‘lawbreakers’ and their supporters as ‘amnesty seekers.’
These groups don’t consider the good that so many individual immigrants do, and that they would likely not pursue the path of illegal immigration if the menial labor it often leads to wasn’t their only hope for economic betterment and political stability.
The recourse to law – that is, the notion that illegal immigrants are wrong because they broke a law – also misses the greater point: is it right to deport – or bar from entering the United States – those who want to work? And if it’s wrong, why would it be right to follow a law that supports something so unethical?
Mildred Gonzales should be granted legal status, and other immigrants in like situations should be granted legal status. The federal government should do so by fixing America’s broken immigration and naturalization system.