You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

How illegal immigration really came to be


There are many self-respecting Americans who are supportin President Trump’s aggressive agenda to clean up the mess of illegal immigration because they rightfully want to hold America as a nation of laws. After all, those “bad hombres” did cross our borders illegally, didn’t they? Wouldn’t letting them live and operate freely amongst us amount to a mockery of the law of the land?

And so, even those supporters of Trump’s immigration agenda who are not racists or mean-spirited feel righteous in wanting these illegal immigrants deported.

But despite their good intentions, they believe what they do because what they completely fail to see is that this phenomenon has two sets of culprits, not just one. We, the American people are equally guilty and responsible for the fact that today we have over 11 million illegal immigrants amongst us. This could not be said if there were 11,000, or even perhaps 110,000 of them. But 11 million? That’s a sure indicator that we, the American people, are partners in this massive crime.

Here’s why: Over the last couple of decades, it is America that not only condoned this illegal racket but practically encouraged it. Our lawmakers, as well as we the people, have been only too complacent, if not eager, in looking the other way while these millions of “illegals” played a vital role in our economy.

Seduced by their cheap labor, America had implicitly laid out the welcome mat for them. Unlike Mafia dons, these workers were not underground operatives; they were plainly visible to all of us: maintaining lawns, working in restaurants, factories, farms, and just about every industry that depended on cheap labor. Notwithstanding the token outbursts against them, we continued to condone them, employ them, and enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Americans didn’t refuse to buy the tens of thousands of new houses built during the housing boom, knowing fully well they were built largely by these workers. We didn’t boycott the farming industry, knowing fully well that it was these folks who plucked the onions and oranges found in our kitchens. There was obviously no forceful appeal to our legislators by masses of Americans to stop the trend in its tracks — when it was the right time to do so: before these “illegals” became entrenched into their American lives.

In boom times, businesses sanctioned them; consumers sanctioned them; lawmakers sanctioned them, even if implicitly. Now that the phenomenon has ballooned to a scale that makes us uncomfortable, we suddenly morph into an ungrateful and uncharitable lot demanding these “illegals” to be expelled? If our laws regarding border crossing were so sacrosanct to us, why did we allow the phenomenon to flourish for over a couple of decades, allowing these hardworking folks to get entrenched in our nation? Are we so heartless now to think nothing of uprooting 11 million lives and the havoc it would cause on families and psyches?

Over 11 million undocumented immigrants can come into a country, move into its communities, set up homes and families, send their kids to school, and live and work amongst the citizens if, and only if, the host country is complicit in the act.

So, to now ask sanctimoniously, “What part of illegal don’t you understand?” amounts to being clueless, if not a heartless hypocrite. Worse, it amounts to entrapment. First, to lure them in for decades through a “nod-nod, wink- wink” policy of looking the other way on their legality, and then to suddenly do an about-face in wanting them out of here, uprooting their American lives built on hard labor, is a sinister act of entrapment.

Yes, by all means, we can and certainly should take the strongest measures to stop this continuous onslaught of those who wish to migrate to the country illegally. But as to the ones who are already here, it is the nation’s moral responsibility to formally accept them and confer a legal status upon them.

Parthiv N. Parekh is editor-in-chief of Khabar, a monthly magazine for Indian-Americans in the Southeastern U.S.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Opinion: HPV vaccine is vote against kids’ cancers

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year nearly 39,000 people in the US will develop cancer associated with the human papilloma virus (HPV). The HPV vaccine can prevent the vast majority of those cancers, but only if the vaccine is used.  If you want to prevent your child from developing most HPV associated...
Readers Write: April 25

Sixth district political ads insulting A fair number of the political ads leading up to last week’s voting were an insult to the voter’s intelligence. I noticed about 25 percent for a while employed bullying tactics. Is that anything adults should expose children to? They were on television so children could see them and possibly learn...
Readers Write: April 24

Civil servants shouldn’t work against Trump In Nicholas Kristof’s column (“Can we stand up to Trump and win? Experts show way,” Opinion, April 20), he writes about workshops for anti-Trump activists and says that similar sessions have been held for civil servants in Washington. This implies that civil servants, ie: government...
PERSPECTIVE: We have a double standard when it comes to religion and violence
PERSPECTIVE: We have a double standard when it comes to religion and violence

Three people were killed in California in yet another mass shooting. The culprit? A man who had a history of violence and was known for yelling out religious slogans. Shortly before the slayings, he publicly praised his god and guns on Facebook. The shooter was Cedric Anderson; he was 53 and a former Christian pastor. On April 10 in San Bernardino...
Opinion: “March for Science” a vanity of the left

Do you have march fatigue yet? The left, apparently, does not, so we’re in for some street theater on Earth Day, April 22, with the so-called March for Science. It’s hard to think of a better way to undermine the public’s faith in science than to stage demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and around the country modeled on the Women&rsquo...
More Stories