Legal Good, Illegal Bad

October 1st, 2018

This letter from me was printed/posted yesterday by the Capitol Times of Madison, WI.

“Legal good, illegal bad”. That summed up Senator Cruz’s view on immigration during his debate with Beto O’Rourke. Cruz used a profoundly simplistic phrase designed to appeal to a population that thinks simplistically. I am not surprised that Senator Cruz used that slogan, and I have heard a number of other people say the same thing. I have even heard legal immigrants say something like that, which astonishes me.

That people who arrived here lawfully would make that kind of comment shows a total lack of empathy for other immigrants who, for whatever reason, have not been able to enter the U.S. through legal channels. The immigration laws and regulations of the United States are outdated, confusing, and unjust. Our current administration is doing its utmost to make these rules more ruthless and more racist. With each passing day, Trump and his associates do whatever they can to make it harder for the poor to enter, for Muslims to enter, and for refugees to enter the United States.

However, it appears that many people stop looking at the issue as soon as they see the word “illegal”. That one word makes an immigrant less than human. “Legal” does not mean the same thing as “moral”. Likewise, if an act is illegal, that does not automatically make it wrong. Also, just because something is legal does not make it right. The Nazis had all sorts of “legal” rules to justify monstrous actions. We  have laws that used to justify terrible things, like the tearing families apart.

We first need to make our laws just and fair. Then we can look at legal and illegal.

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