This is a complex subject that can’t be resolved by a short blog. My reason for bringing it up here is the way it has divided family member against family member, friend against friend, etc. across the entire nation. I raise it with no illusions about convincing others and changing the political landscape; the purpose is to explain, in a calm voice of reason, the basis for my beliefs.
Families are being separated by deporting fathers who have been here for many years with no criminal record. Defenders of that process cite the law as justification. All of us realize that the legislative process has produced a set of laws containing imperfections. Some laws are outdated. Some have been traced, frankly, to very narrow interests (serving a few overprivileged to the detriment of the vast majority). Our immigration laws have a different trait: inconsistency. Native Americans were displaced through a process that began about 500 years age by settlers from Europe. Should the millions of their descendants be deported? If not then a strong precedent, one that has lasted 500 years, has been set. The legal process depends heavily on precedents to establish order through consistency. Deportation of residents with no record of offenses is not in compliance with that principle. I would extend that to residents with a record of only parking tickets or other minor violations; the “practical” effect of breaking a family is known to be extremely impractical.
None of this implies permissiveness toward violent offenders; send `em away of course. It doesn’t imply that letter-of-the-law is the only issue either. Spirit-of-the-law commonly takes precedence — and it’s hard to invoke that to justify what’s happening. OK, enough about legalities; many would base their arguments on other considerations. For that I’ll have to admit being affected by pictures of wives or children at the scene of departure (struggling now to keep this discussion low key). If broaching that topic doesn’t stimulate some thought-generating activity, there’s another item to offer. Before putting it here let me note that I’m not an Evangelical (in fact, as a Christian I disagree with Evangelicals’ preoccupation with material wealth). Here’s the Scriptural passage from Deut 27:19 — “Cursed be he that violates the rights of the alien, the orphan, or the widow.”
Just about all who agree with my reasoning have relatives and/or friends who disagree. Don’t “un-friend” them; that would only increase the divisions that are tearing this country apart. Our nation needs healing, not more division. There are always areas where opposites can agree. Continue dialogue, starting with those.
A common argument urges support for veterans instead of immigrants. Much better support for veterans is something I’ve advocated for many years — that doesn’t have to exclude accommodating law-abiding working fathers with young children. This isn’t a mutually exclusive (“either-or”) choice. Anyone who is worried about taxpayers’ dollars might consider (1) defense spending described in the link just cited and (2) family breakups are costly in the long run.