Everyone seems to acknowledge the our immigration system is broken. No one but no one defends the status quo. Some act as if there is some overwhelmingly obvious solution to the problem — as if “Immigration Reform!” was a serious policy proposal. Others act as if simply enforcing the existing immigration laws would be solution enough — as if the goal of law was enforcement, rather than justice.
Regardless of where you are inclined to fall on this question of immigration reform, the Catholic former-Governor of Florida recently made a remark that I think bears repeating. Here’s Jeb Bush, as reported by the Washington Post:
“There are means by which we can control our border better than we have. And there should be penalties for breaking the law,” he added. “But the way I look at this — and I’m going to say this, and it’ll be on tape and so be it. The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally, they come to our country because their families — the dad who loved their children — was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table. And they wanted to make sure their family was intact, and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime that there should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.”
Our laws ought to be both just and humane. When it comes to immigration reform, does this nation have the wisdom to pursue both? Do we have the courage to insist on both?