Granting amnesty unfair to those waiting to immigrate legally

Opinions Columnist | Public Relations Freshman

Immigration amnesty for current residents living in the country illegally should not be granted haphazardly without taking into account the nuances of legality through fairness.

America has more than 11.6 million people living in the country illegally. These people have illegally immigrated to the country through either overstaying their government issued visas or border crossing without legal permission. Granting them amnesty would be both a disservice to the law and would reward bad behavior.

Granting amnesty, while great in theory, is a slap in the face to the more than 4.4 million people currently waiting to legally enter the United States. Many of those currently waiting to enter the country have been waiting for years, or in some cases, decades. Amnesty would be counterproductive in the fight against illegal immigration in the future. If those who illegally come to the country today are rewarded with citizenship, then it would be an incentive for others to forego the legal pathway for the simpler, quicker and route.

Those who fight for amnesty occasionally exhibit a form of arrogance and pompousness. Ju Hong, heckler of President Obama’s immigration speech at the Betty Ong Center in November 2013, perfectly illustrates this arrogance. His family illegally overstayed their tourist visas in order to get a leg up over the millions waiting to legally enter the country. He went to public schools in California on the taxpayers’ dime and then had the nerve to heckle the president because his parents chose to break the law. He is a guest. Tact needs to be shown when one is a guest in someone else’s home. Making demands based on breaking laws, which are neither immoral nor inequitable but simply inconvenient, reeks of entitlement.

Those living in America illegally yearning for amnesty are the same as people trying to skip in a line. It is synonymous with people waiting in a long line for the latest iPhone when a person walks up snatches a phone out of someone’s hand and then skips to the front of the line. To make matters worse, they then demand to be shown attention by the clerk first, completely disregarding the people behind them.  

I know some people have extenuating circumstances as to why they choose to migrate from one land to another, which is fine. I am all for immigration reform, just not amnesty. There is no reason why people need to wait several years to come into a country, nor should those living illegally in the United States be deported. The worthwhile pathway to citizenship is the proper route.

Those who illegally immigrated should be given temporary legal status to pay unpaid taxes, to get insurance and to legally work without fear of being deported. However, their green card request should be placed at the end of the backlog of those who have been legally going through hoops to achieve citizenship status with asylees and refugees taking precedent. Immigration officials should vigorously enforce laws regarding immigration and legalization, across the board. There should be some attention directed toward the practices of businesses, which purposely seek out people who immigrated illegally because of cheap labor. These businesses cripple the economy and wages of the working class.

Immigration reform has been a long time coming and will remain a contentious debate for a long time. Nonetheless, amnesty should not be the answer to the debate. While everyone deserves to seek a better future for themselves and their family, illegality should be admonished not rewarded. America is a country of immigrants, but laws need to be respected if they wish to reap the benefits of her grand harvest.