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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  May 23, 2010
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Topic category:  Other/General

Is the word “illegal” that hard to understand?

I’ve written my share of words regarding the illegal immigration problem. Over the past several weeks, I’ve gone back and reread those words.

What I found was that nothing much has changed over the course of several years.

The federal government still hasn’t secured our borders and the flow of illegal immigrants continues and, as a sidebar to this, if you don’t think that those who wish to do us harm aren’t taking advantage of this situation by joining the migration, you might want to give it some thought.

Most recently, Arizona passed a law that was - basically - the firing of an emergency flare. It was fired to capture the attention of those in D.C. who’ve dithered on this subject for more years than I care to think about.

But that’s not what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about is why some of us are so adamant in our feelings regarding this problem. For me, it has to do with what I’ve always believed this country is about.

You see, there’s no particular race of people that can be defined as “Americans.”

Fundamentally, America is an idea based on a very simple concept - the rule of law.

“Americans” believe that one role of government - local, state, and federal - is to act as a very powerful referee. To watch for infractions. To enforce the rules. To call penalties whenever someone or some group breaks those rules.

Occasionally that “referee” might even have to don some armor to protect those who are abiding by the rules from those who aren’t or from others who wish to do them harm.

“Americans” believe that, so long as everyone knows the rules and abides by them, things can be fairly orderly and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” can proceed.

You see, they’re the individuals who pledge no allegiance to any President, party, or elected official. Their only allegiance is to the idea that the rule of law is the cement that holds us together.

That’s why they’re also the same individuals who seethe when they see something that’s blatantly wrong and then notice that their government is doing little to rectify the situation - or worse - doing “something” for purely political motives.

So, if you want to know why so many of us are fed up with what’s (not) been done about the illegal immigration situation, all you really have to do is look at the word “illegal.” People have broken the law to get here and our government is doing little to rectify that situation.

People have broken the law to get here and are now demanding the same rights that took others - who came here legally and at great expense - years to obtain. People have broken the law to get here and politicians of both parties have decided to turn their eyes away from what’s right and do only what’s expedient.

And that just riles many of us to our cores.

It’s not because some poor individual or family desperately wanted to come here in order to improve their lives. It’s not that they’re “this color” or “that religion” or from “those countries.” It’s simply because they broke the law. It’s because we believe that without rules - without observing the law - you can’t have a civilized society let alone an orderly country.

Right now, our borders aren’t secure because doing that is something that would require backbone. Hard choices would have to be made. Anger would have to be faced. Decisions would have to be explained. And, leaders - if we could find them - would have to lead.

However, were the borders secured then, perhaps, we could begin working toward an honest, fair, and compassionate solution to the problem of those who are here illegally.

One final point.

The desire to see that rules are enforced, borders are secured, and immigration is controlled isn’t racist - and, Lord, I am so tired of that term being tossed about - because, if it were, then that definition would have to include a host of people of many colors, religions, origins, and beliefs.

No. It’s not racist, it’s simply a deeply held belief in what makes this nation work.

The rule of law.

High time elected officials either remembered that or started looking for other work.

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

Read other commentaries by Larry Simoneaux.

Copyright © 2010 by Larry Simoneaux
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