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If you are not familiar with Sandra Duran, you can read about her here. She wasn’t a famous actress or singer, nor was she some rich socialite or anybody in the public eye at all.
She was just a mother in her car driving in Los Angeles when a drunken man named Estuardo Alvarado smashed into her car and killed her.
Duran leaves behind children that will now grow up without a mother, which I find especially awful since I have several children myself and cannot even bear the thought of being taken from them now, let alone before they were grown.
This is all bad enough, but made far worse by the fact that Alvarado had already fled the scene of another accident he had just caused. Worse than that, though, was the fact that he was here illegally, had a rap sheet a mile long, was previously deported multiple times, yet still somehow remained in the country.
Let’s start with the obvious: not all immigrants here illegally are violent criminals, and some have even presented evidence – though it has been hotly disputed – that they commit fewer crimes on net than American citizens.
Except the problem is, whether those claims are true or not, there is no getting around the fact that each crime committed by somebody here illegally is a crime that simply would not have happened if that person had not been here.
Does this mean I am suggesting all those here illegally should be rounded up and deported? Of course not. But it does mean that if we cannot even respect immigration laws enough to keep somebody like Alvarado – a man with over 20 felonies and misdemeanors on his record – out of the country, then those laws are a failure and need to be fixed immediately.
It also means that we may want to take a deeper look at some of the other costs of illegal immigration.
Being that I am somebody who came to this country many years ago as an immigrant from Pakistan, I know better than anybody the incredible opportunities America can offer. I came here with nothing and I was able to become a very successful doctor and live an amazing life. But I came here legally and did everything the right way.
And while I sympathize with those who are undocumented – whether they snuck in unlawfully or just overstayed their visas – there is a reason why countries need to have at least some control of their borders. As much as I want to see as many people as possible come here from other countries and do well, when somebody comes here as an undocumented worker, there are people who suffer as a result.
For starters, there are those who wait in line for legal citizenship only to be bypassed and essentially punished for following the law.
But there are also negative consequences for some American workers, especially those who are most in need. As both Senator Bernie Sanders and President Trump pointed out during the 2016 campaign, there are millions of Americans who are suffering. Unskilled laborers haven’t had a significant raise in wages in many years and quite a few of them struggle to find or keep steady employment.
When an undocumented immigrant enters the labor force, this drives down wages for those aforementioned unskilled laborers, because employers would prefer to pay those immigrants the artificially low wages that are far below what an American citizen may accept under the minimum wage laws.
Furthermore, the market becomes flooded with a much greater supply of this cheap, unskilled labor, and fewer jobs exist for working class Americans. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT blaming these immigrants. It is still better for them to make the low wages in this country than it would be to have stayed in their home countries and worked. They are doing what they feel is best for them.
But that doesn’t mean we cannot admit that such lax policies towards illegal immigration come at a cost to many working American citizens.
And in more extreme cases, that cost can be the life of somebody like Sandra Duran.
Many have opposed the border wall, which I completely understand since the logistics of getting it done are both difficult and costly. Plus I’m not so sure it would work, anyway. Nor do I think amnesty in any form is the answer, as that doesn’t fix anything and ultimately just rewards those who broke the law.
But what I do know is that the current lawlessness as it pertains to this issue is flat out unacceptable. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I know damn well that it isn’t to just turn a blind eye as this problem continues to get worse with seemingly no end in sight.
It’s time for some real leadership on this issue, whether it is from the White House, the congress, or some completely outside entity that steps up with good, practical ideas. As a nation, we have twiddled our thumbs about this for far too long and something needs to be done about it before it becomes a problem so big that it becomes impossible to ever solve.