Posted by: bridget | 8 May 2007

Should We Stop Incarcerating Parents, Too?

The New York Times has reported that deporting illegal immigrants gives rise to the problem of separating families.  When one member of a family is caught and deported, the rest of the family often remains behind, illegally.  Sometimes, the children are born in the United States (3.1 million children in the US have at least one illegal parent) and are, arguably, citizens (although scholars differ as to whether or not an American birth triggers citizenship rights).   The end result is that families are torn asunder and, really, this is a horrible thing to do to people who just want a better life.

The NY Times fails to consider the larger implications of the policy it advocates (i.e. business as usual).  Of course, there is the issue that those families can return to their home countries and be reunited; they are simply prohibited from being here, together, because they are not supposed to be here in the first place.

More importantly, the logical conclusion of the idea that we should not enforce our laws because of the effects on families is to eradicate our laws, entirely.  If people who are here illegally should not be deported because their families will be torn apart, then we should not send felons to jail, as such will tear their families apart, too.  Is the drug dealer worse for his family than the illegal immigrant for his?  What would justify not enforcing the laws for one (the illegal) and enforcing them for the other (the drug dealer)?  Would we then only send people to jail if they were not parents  or lacked close family ties?

When people come to America illegally and bring their children (or give birth here), they are aware that their activities could result in dire consequences – the destruction of their families, with children in America and the parents in Mexico.  The fact that they took such a risk should not be a reason to mitigate that risk; it is much like a casino gambler who, upon losing a lot of money, asks to not pay his debt because it is too much for him to bear.



  1. Thanks, I’ve been waiting for someone to summarize that topic! The Cinqo de Mayo celebrations and other protests have lots of those emotional soundbites. But as you point out the logic used by the Left is unsound and shallow.

  2. The points of your post were a big deal in the Bay State back in March. The ICE raid in New Bedford got EVERYONE coming out of the woodwork about how it was wrong. The point was it was wrong for the US to enforce its laws??!! It’s crazy.

  3. Where you happen to be standing (even if you are legally in the country) should not be the criteria for citizenship. This is another ridiculous policy that has crept into “law.” When you add to thid circumstance that an illegal alien should enjoy the benefits of citizenship based on location of birth (and now the hesitancy to split up the family) it is like allowing a thief to keep his stolen loot. The world must sure think we are a bunch of idiots. With the way the left looks at things it sure illustrates why all the great civilizations collapsed. ……….Next Stop Lauderdale

  4. Steve,

    You touched on a point that I’ve been meaning to write about. The Roman Empire began to collapse when its citizenship requirements were relaxed. Before the 3d century, you had to either be born in Rome or fight in the army for 20 years. That encouraged a lot of people to serve the Roman Empire, instead of mooching off of it.

    Whether or not people “need” America is irrelevant. My “need” of money for my student loans does not justify armed robbery or embezzlement; we do not use “need” as a criterion in deciding whether people can do whatever they want. After all, crimes are usually self-serving.

    As for other countries laughing at us: they should. I say we implement a policy whereby we treat illegals in the same manner as their home country would treat us if we were to be there unlawfully.

    Prof. Eastman has some great stuff on the birthright citizenship debate. If you can, read it – there’s an argument to be made that the Fourteenth Amendment’s language does not confer citizenship upon everyone born here, but was rather written that way to ensure that African-Americans were given citizenship rights (i.e. born in the US and subject to its jurisdiction).

  5. Your post makes such a logical point. good job.
    With the whole illegal thing in general I have been some what unopinionated on. But your comment above combined with my dad’s really makes sense. I think it is the first time that i have been able to reach more of a concrete belief on the situation. Thank you.

  6. Here here Theo, excellent post.

    Citizenship by birth, especially when said parent is here illegally, is ridiculous. Such a policy only encourages illegal immigration.

    And seriously, if I hear anyone else say, “we simply can’t round up all the illegals and send them home” I think I might just barf. So far they have been kind enough to gather in groups by the thousands, I would suggest starting there. From there the chilling effect would be so large that they would either go into hiding immediately (and eventually leave for greener pastures [Canada perhaps] since they wouldn’t be able to find work) or better yet leave immediately. Once they paid a fine for breaking the law and applied through the proper channels I would be more than happy to invite them with open arms.

    However, until then, they are law breakers and should suffer the required penalties- children or not.

  7. Thank you, MommyZabs.

    Thank you. :)

    You’re right about wanting to barf. We can’t catch every murderer, so should murder be legal? Hell, no!

    If they are kind enough to gather in groups, immediate deportation may serve to a) stop them from gathering and requesting “rights” and b) would help us to efficiently deport them.

    There is a better solution: every time an illegal is found, the costs of deportation should be assessed to his employer. If an employer is found, on three separate occasions, to have hired illegals, his business will be seized. The effects are great: businesses will factor in the chance of one of their employees being caught and fines assessed as part of the cost of hiring illegals, which will make them economically unattractive (as it is, the costs are shifted to society and the government); the threat of losing one’s business is a deterrent; and, finally, the lack of available work will be a huge disincentive to come to America illegally.

  8. […] should ever be held to be fully responsible for their crimes.  (This pachyderm was kidding when she asked if we would follow that system, but truth is stranger than […]

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