It can be debated whether or not the flow of millions of illegal workers to this country has created an economic crisis, political crisis, or national security crisis, but one thing is certain: it has created a moral crisis.
I’ve said it hundreds of times, and I will continue to say it: people matter most. You never help people when you forsake truth, compromise principle, and lack compassion. Right now, millions are suffering, and that is not a status quo we should settle for.
Every summer, in Texas and other border states, migrants from Latin America die horrible deaths. While crossing barren land, they fall victim to dehydration or fatigue. They suffocate in the backs of packed trailers and railroad cars.
Yet, even in the face of life-threatening situations they still come. Why? Two reasons: conditions in their own countries encourage them to leave, and opportunities encourage them to come.
One of the reasons we have an illegal immigration problem is the corruption and mismanagement within the governments of Mexico and other countries south of our border. The income gap between the United States and Mexico is the largest between any two adjacent countries in the world, according to Stanford historian David Kennedy.
Of course people want to come to the United States. Who would blame them? On the other hand, why do we allow them to openly violate our laws?
The motivation for allowing undocumented workers into our country ranges from corruption to compassion. Politicians turn a blind eye to the situation to avoid losing votes from the Hispanic community. Many advocate amnesty because they believe it will solidify their support base. Social activists and labor unions exploit the situation for their own personal gain as well. Many companies and small businesses benefit from cheap labor, maximizing their profits but often minimizing the ethical treatment of some employees.
Paradoxically, the goodness of average Americans contributes to the problem. We like to give people in need an opportunity to succeed, and we know that the vast majority of those coming are decent, hard workers who are simply trying to learn valuable trades and improve their families’ lives.
What we all seem to miss is the fact that the current climate constitutes a moral crisis of the highest order. Families are torn apart as able-bodied men leave their wives and children, some never to return. Communities in the poorest regions of Latin America spiral into deeper poverty as the talented and dedicated laborers go north. Human traffickers, known as “coyotes,” reap the benefits of smuggling people across the border often extorting shameful amounts of money from their “cargo.” Migrants passing through Mexico are robbed, beaten, and raped by bandits and even police. Hospitals along the border are taxed under the burden of poor, uninsured patients, leaving everyone without adequate medical care.
Illegal immigration will continue to be a problem as long as economic and political conditions in the United States are drastically better than those in neighboring countries. Few benefit from the current status quo. Long-term good for the whole population will only come when we reform our immigration laws to provide a clear pathway to citizenship, secure the borders, and pressure failed governments to eradicate corruption and pursue aggressive economic policies.
Senator Marco Rubio and other leaders are attempting to bring forth serious legislation, but there is also an attempt to subvert the reform by several different factions, including homosexual activists. Just this week, a proponent in the senate reintroduced an amendment to immigration reform that advances gay marriage. This sort of shameless self-promotion will only destroy the opportunity to truly help people.
The saying goes that good intentions pave the road to hell. Too many poor, desperate Latinos travel a similar road into hellish situations. Without reform, the human rights of millions will continue to be routinely violated. For the sake of those without a voice – either in their home countries or in the United States – we must prayerfully and diligently pursue a humane and intelligent policy of immigration and regional development. This is the right path because it is right for people. We are a blessed nation and we must find appropriate ways to bless others.
Oh Father, You are full of compassion and love. People are the treasures of Your creation, and You love them completely. Thank You for seeing every person even in their trial and tribulation. There is no circumstance too difficult for You to handle. Show us the right path of wisdom and love for our neighbors. Give our leaders discernment as they set laws and regulations that can be a path of life for those who are oppressed and hopeless. Protect the children who are victims of the societies they are born into and of the decisions their parents make. Allow us to be Your hands of justice and compassion.
 “The Hispanic Challenge” by Samuel Huntington from the web site of Harvard University, http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/blogs/gems/culturalagency1/SamuelHuntingtonTheHispanicC.pdf (2007)