What? Yes, you heard me right. I am registered as an independent Constitution Party member. What’s that you ask? Basically, it’s the most conservative branch of the Republican Party as you can get. Speaking on behalf of the party’s platform, we believe in implementing the Constitution exactly as it was intended in 1776. Giving more power to individual states, holding the government accountable for “demonstrating good character in their own lives” (opposes the government funding or supporting of gambling, enforces laws against obscenity-such as pornography and blatant exploitation), and supporting the duty of the federal government to guard and to protect the U.S border are some of the main beliefs of the party. James Madison once quipped, “When we are considering the advantages that may result from an easy mode of naturalization, we ought also to consider the cautions necessary to guard against abuses.” And that’s exactly what is being proposed.
Let’s take this back a bit, shall we? I’m not suggesting that my views are at all indicative of the majority of conservatives, or even Republicans, for that matter. There are many things within my own party that I disagree with. I support gay rights, believe education should be secularized, and value the concept of welfare. I don’t believe that the government has the right or authority to declare, or even suggest, how a person should live his or her own life. But I do believe that the government bears the responsibility to effectively prepare and protect its people, regardless of who they are.
Whoa. What did she just say? The U.S is free game for anyone, and we as citizens must protect them? Hear me out: the United States is a land of opportunity, and we must provide equal access to our country for everyone. The same set of standards must be used for all looking to apply for citizenship as those who already reside in the states. That being said, just think for a moment outside of all of the policy surrounding this issue and let’s imagine something.
~ Insert a “close your eyes” Morgan Freeman narration, but for this purpose please keep at least one open. I want you to be able to read this, and for that you have to see. ~
You met in 7th grade. You were amazed that you both loved running, despite all of the sneering you both received from your peers. You had late night calls, talked about crushes, dreamed of the future, mended each other’s heartbreaks, were inseparable. This is your best friend.
Now imagine you never met. Imagine running the last lap on your own, left to fend life without the support and guidance of the person who is your rock.
Open your eyes (metaphorically- I know they were open the whole time, you cheaters). Why did you have to imagine a world desolate of a best friend? Let me give you a hint: it’s all over the news.
Separation from family members is a common reality that faces many immigrants who currently live in the U.S. Countless stories of heartbreak caused by the law have been documented that should have been prevented.
Actress Diane Guerrero from the popular Netflix original series Orange is the New Black recently opened up to CNN about the details of her family’s deportation when she was 14. Unable to say goodbye to her parents and left without parental guidance or government support, she was essentially left on her own to survive at the age when most of us are still wearing braces and trying to figure out how to style hair effectively.
I couldn’t help watching coverage of the immigration reform proposal tonight on TV because it’s everywhere. One of the interviews spoke with an immigrant, and his response is, I believe, one of the best comments on humanity: “I am here illegally, but I am not an illegal person.”
Now just let that sink in. I know you. Yes, YOU. You’re looking at the first half of his statement. He acknowledges his current illegal status. But what you may be overlooking is his point that being here, as a human, whether in this country today or when the first settlers first arrived, does not make a person illegal. Immigration status certainly wasn’t a problem for the first newcomers to America, so why are they such a problem now? Well, sadly, we’ve made it that way.
Finally, let’s take a look at one more dimension to this issue. A vast majority of Republicans, people not so different from myself in ideology, criticize President Obama for extending his power by granting amnesty to immigrants. (Side note: Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School and has worked as a civil rights attorney and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. In other words, he knows what he’s doing.) Contrary to these criticisms, his actions are completely legal, grounded in law and constitutional precedent. Obama’s immigration reform is in fact comparable to President George W. Bush’s administration proposal and even to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.
And you’re telling me this is a bad idea?