In 2006 I was in the United States on university exchange. This was my first and to date my only visit to the USA unless I count a trip to Guam a few years ago. There are many things I could talk about but something that stood out and I still remember today was something I saw on television while there.
There were major protests held concerning illegal immigration and looking it up, I think this was what I saw. A few things jumped out at me that made what would have been a forgettable news broadcast memorable. The first was that many of the protesters were holding Mexican flags in a city in the United States demanding rights that they had no right to. It would have been one thing had they been holding US flags while making these demands but they weren’t. They were foreigners, waving a foreign flag demanding the rights of citizens in a nation they had no right to be in, in the first place.
The second was the language used and still commonly employed, specifically “undocumented”. I don’t remember the exact words I used but I remember asking why if all those people are illegally in the country, were they not rounded up and deported on the spot. This was half serious in that arresting them on the spot would have been logistically difficult but I was quite serious that they should be deported. This provoked an angry response from a student who insisted that they weren’t illegal and had a right to be there and were even important for the country.
The dorm I stayed in had a lot of students from Latin America, all of whom were legally in the country as far as I knew. I had gone through a lengthy and difficult process to get my right to study and stay for six months. This included paying upwards of $500 in separate fees as well as a flight to Melbourne for a meeting at the US consulate. This wasn’t easy but I did all I was supposed to do and I left the country within thirty days of my visas expiry date as I was supposed to.
The news report I saw during my time there and what I learned upon my return to Australia had me wondering whether it was really necessary to go through all of that. After all, the people I saw on television were openly flouting the laws and mostly went unpunished for doing so. I imagine had I chosen to ignore immigration law that I might have gotten away with it as well. At the time, I did want to stay and wanted to get a job and continue to live there. It was not to be though.
When I got home my dad brought up those protests at some point and made the same comment I had about rounding them up and deporting them. We both had a chuckle about this. Despite this, neither us thought the fact that so many could get away with breaking a countries laws was amusing. Ten years later with immigration finally being talked about seriously after many far worse outrages, I still can’t understand why this was allowed to happen.
Australia is often brought up positively by those “evil” people who advocate the enforcement of immigration laws. The left attempts to play word games with our illegal economic opportunists (I can play the game too), but generally speaking the laws are followed. People without legal status in the country are not permitted to stay. Our problems are more with who is given legal status when they shouldn’t be. But it is easy to see how this could have happened in Australia as well. If we had a land border with a poorer country, it almost certainly would have.
I have always been against mass immigration but I haven’t been an immigration restrictionist until relatively recently. What bothered me most then and still does now though is not so much immigration itself but the way the law is willfully ignored. The absurdity of calling people who have no right to be in the country “undocumented” is particularly bad. It is as absurd as calling someone practicing medicine without a license an “undocumented doctor”. It simply wouldn’t be done in any other case. Despite it now becoming a major issue not only in the US but across the Western world, it has if anything, got much worse.
As is said, things often get worse before they get better but I still remain baffled at how it got this bad in the first place. There’s something more at work than the greed of multinational corporations and the desire of the elite to change the demographics to their benefit. For either of these things to happen the culture at large has to be sufficiently apathetic. It will take more than a wall to solve this as small measures may merely make people complacent. The symptoms are external but the disease is internal.