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Opinion: A Nation of Laws

18 January 2019  

We are a nation with laws, including immigration laws.

Whether on the floor of public debate, in an elevator, during a media interview, on a sidewalk or anywhere else, one’s comments reflect upon that individual’s character, not that of a nation, state, county, or city. This becomes magnified when an individual is an elected official. In a letter from the Birmingham Jail on January 16, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.” 

Many “good” people have been speaking up against racism and bigotry for years. Public policy in the United States is meant to be color blind, but unfortunately some people are not; and the actions of some damage us all. Racism and bigotry have existed in this country since its inception and many people have experienced inequities. 

The freedom to speak one’s mind is just that. The soul of this country is reliant on the individuals that “we the people” send to our state or nation’s capitols to serve in leadership roles making public policy. In 1882, Grover Cleveland stated, “Public officers are the servants and agents of the people, to execute the laws which the people have made.” A normal individual can see and hear that human beings do not all look or speak alike. As the global “melting pot,” the people of the United States are individuals with different backgrounds, different thought processes, and experiences. That is what makes this country the greatest nation in the world. “Good” people in leadership roles have been developing color blind and gender blind policies for years. All men and women are created equal, not the same. It is individuals and their personal actions that formulate bigoted or racist activity and speech. 

On a similar note, we are a nation with laws, including immigration laws. In order for immigrants to assimilate into American society they must be willing to abide by the laws of our country and assimilate into the American fabric. Breaking our country’s laws by illegally entering the country is unacceptable, regardless of color, ethnicity, or gender. Included in Section 1 of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution it says, “…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” It does not say any citizen or alien, it says person, and our laws must be followed to maintain a semblance of order. Illegal immigration into our country is illegal for a multitude of reasons and our laws take precedence once someone crosses our border.