American immigration policy lacks sympathy

American immigration policy lacks sympathy

By Erica Rohde
Staff Writer


In Monterrey, Mexico, a woman prepares her bags for a journey across the American border. The trip is a dangerous one. She is alone with her baby girl, whom she has promised a better life.

She thinks of what could happen along the train rails: being kidnapped, tortured or captured for ransom. She doesn’t dare look into her child’s innocent eyes as pain will envelope her with the thought that she can’t fulfill her promise.

At St. Ann Catholic Parish of Coppell, I watched as my parishioner Patrick Gothman spoke in a ringing voice about conditions in Mexico. The topic of the night was “Welcome to America,” and I was surprised that my church would address
topics beyond the spiritual.

He asked us a question that still replays in my head. It’s a question that I never thought of but that should have been plainly obvious. I asked myself for the first time in my life what would motivate illegal immigrants to risk death to get to America. You do not get up and leave everything you have ever known on a whim. You do not risk death for a minor cause. These people are striving for a country that can provide the basic necessities of life that their home cannot.

Joaquin Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel inspired thousands of new dealers to get on the black market payroll in Mexico. Fathers, sons, storeowners and cab drivers are all on the cartel’s side. Guzman and the Los Zeta group created a surge of violence throughout the region. The cartels took on strength that overpowered all markets.

I can state as many statistics and facts that I want. I can give you a full on research paper on the subject, but readers still won’t understand the hardship until they have experienced it for themselves. If it weren’t for my pride, I could have come to that realization sooner – that if I were born in those conditions, I would do whatever it takes to get out. But my options wouldn’t be so promising.

According to the Maryland Catholic Conference and the Law Office of Judith C. Todes, there are four ways to be admitted legally: employment-based sponsorship, asylum refugee status, diversity lottery and family-based sponsorship.  With these choices, a legal status should be easy to obtain, right?

The options are limited on different scales. There are a limited number of Visas available. Employers, by law, cannot sponsor an immigrant unless there are no other U.S citizens to fill the position. The asylum refugee status has only been used on account of communist takeovers. Only 55,000 lottery spots open up per year, while 700,000 people per year coming in illegally. The waiting list for family-based sponsorship ranges up to thirty years.

Illegal immigrants are willing to risk their lives instead of using these uncertain methods. For them, there is no time to lose, and they are willing to make their sacrifice.

If American policy addressed this issue, we could reduce the amount of women, men and children dying on their journey along the border. We are talking thousands, thousands of which it is not their fault that the United States has made it difficult to enter legally. They are striving for human nourishment that is not given at home. There is a possibility of dying every day. They do not want their children living in fear.

We must ask ourselves what kind of sacrifice America is making to atone for people suffering within and right outside our borders. America has the duty to accommodate migration flows as it has a steady government and economy compared to Mexico.

Migration is a permanent state of being just as long as war, famine, oppression, abuse, poverty and religious freedom are affecting the world. They are the main factors of life that will not leave anytime soon.

What I find so hypocritical about some Americans who look negatively at Mexican immigrants is that they don’t know how they would react if they had a less privileged life in Mexico. They don’t know if they would pack their bags and leave. They don’t dare question their country because it would be unpatriotic and too appalling of a concept.

Look at your country straight in the eye, America. Are your politicians making policies that are truly humane or hypocritical? Are we fighting for human rights or efficiency? Pick what side you’re on.