Would you hide an illegal immigrant?

By Rob Hoffman on February 16, 2017 at 5:31 AM

A couple of days ago, the Capital Region, got pounded by a fairly significant snow storm. Other than snow-blowing my driveway every couple of hours, I looked forward to a day of modest ambition. Basically this meant reading the Sunday New York Times, (Which is actually fairly ambitious if you’ve seen just how big that sucker is.) working on my blog…of course, and perhaps perusing a movie with my wife. It’s hard to find down time on a day filled with so little activity, but that’s what makes me the special individual you have all come to know.

I was on Facebook killing time, (Literally killing it, like I should have been arrested) and I thought about somebody who I used to be virtual friends with, and I wondered if he was still on Facebook. (What level of boredom has an individual reached when they are looking on Facebook for a person they don’t even like to see if they were still virtual friends? I need to address this.) I typed in his name, and since his profile didn’t come up it led me to believe that he was no longer a member of that community. However, somebody with the same name popped up, and I clicked on his picture. On his Facebook page was a Meme with a black and white picture of immigrants arriving in America. It said the following:

European Christians built this nation:

They came to take part in the American Dream.

They didn’t come to bitch, collect welfare, wage Jihad, and replace the American Constitution with Sharia Law.

If he was a friend of mine, I would have added my virtual two cents. However I refrained since I didn’t know him. I figured, what would be the point? It did bother me though. What an ignorant position to take I thought. Yes, of course the majority of immigrants from Europe who came to America on the East Coast between 1776–1940 were European Christians, but there were others as well. There were Jews like Haym Solomon and Albert Einstein for example. Solomon was a Revolutionary War hero, and I understand this Einstein fellow dabbled in a little science.

Not every American can trace their ancestry back to European Christianity. Some Americans were brought here in chains. For example, Africans were brought here against their will, enslaved, and through their back-breaking labor, built the Southern economy. Some Americans who came here looking for freedom and opportunity came from Asia. Last time I checked, many Chinese laborers worked on the Transcontinental Railroad. They did this for less money than their “European Christian” counterparts, while working at a faster rate. The truth can be so frustratingly inconvenient sometimes.

This cozy set up was utilized in order to bring as many slaves over as possible across what was known as the “Middle Passage.” The suffering on board was ungodly, and many slaves died along the way. I guess they don’t get a meme. (Getty Images)

There is a palpable anger being directed towards illegal immigrants in this country. While I’m not sure I understand the anger, I agree with the basic premise of their argument. This argument is based on the idea that immigrants to the United States should come in to our country legally. I’ve always been of the mindset that my grandparents came here legally, why can’t everybody else do the same?

Well, many will say that the government makes it so difficult to come here legally, that it disincentivizes individuals from trying to play by the rules. It should also be pointed out if we are going to be honest, that many American businesses prefer hiring illegal immigrants since they can pay them less than American workers, avoid paying payroll taxes, and they can fire them without cause. In other words, workers wouldn’t come here illegally if numerous American businesses didn’t make it worth their while. You also have to wonder if the United States’ government couldn’t do a better job of cracking down on those businesses that hire illegals. Of course, you will never hear a politician discuss this issue because, God forbid an American politician actually says anything remotely negative about the United States, or that some of the challenges we face as a nation are actually our fault, he would never garner another vote again.

President Trump made a name for himself during the campaign as a man who likes to talk tough. His tough talk included his plan to build his infamous wall on our southern border, and taking a much tougher approach in dealing with the issue of rounding up and sending back immigrants who came to the United States illegally. The problem in talking that way is that you are going to attract a certain following within the electorate that is made up of individuals who agree with your “tough stance,” and they’re actually going to demand action if you win.

So far, in the early stages of his presidency, Trump has been eager to a fault attempting to follow through on some of his gaudier campaign promises. Thus, he has immediately put through executive orders meant to keep “bad dudes” out, while at the same time, rounding up and getting rid of “bad hombres.” The problem was of course that he never thought through any of this, and as a result, he has ended up causing himself what would appear to be an endless fiasco of legal problems that at least in the short run, are derailing all of the momentum that he was hoping to build in his first few weeks on the job.

This being president stuff sure is easy. They do all of the writing, and I just sign my name.(Getty Images)

When you thrive on disinformation the way Trump has for the past year or so, you run the risk of needing the truth to bail you out occasionally, and that only serves to remind people that you are a liar who can’t be trusted. For example, it is widely accepted by most individuals that the government has accurately estimated that there are approximately 13 million undocumented people in the U.S. at any given time. However, Trump stated throughout the campaign that the number was significantly higher than that, and that it might be much closer to 30 or 40 million, at least that’s what he heard. He also retold the same lie about President Obama not doing anything to stem the tide of illegals into this country. This was a wonderful narrative except for one thing. None of it was true.

Trump’s attempt to send “bad hombres” out of the nation over the past two weeks have sent fear and shock waves to many who are here illegally. However, the reality of the situation is that Trump is simply continuing Obama’s policies regarding illegals. However, Trump’s need for headlines and bombast has created an image in this country of “Jack-booted” soldiers rounding up women and children and sending them over the Rio Grande.

The controversy involved with rounding up illegal immigrants has forced us as Americans to ask ourselves a morally challenging question. What if we knew somebody who was here illegally? Would you attempt to assist them in helping them avoid capture? We applaud those in history who are willing to step forward and take a stand against government policies that we feel are morally or ethically wrong. We celebrate the people who hid Anne Frank and her family in Nazi occupied Holland. Universal respect is given to those who marched with Martin Luther King Jr., and those who sought to overturn segregation. Is the roundup up of illegal immigrants a moral equivalent to these historical events?

This is Victor Kugler, and he was one of the individuals who helped hide Anne Frank and her family. Anne Frank wasn’t an immigrant, but she was illegally disobeying the law and not reporting for her deportation. Is there any equivalency to be made between Anne Frank, and illegal immigrants to this nation who have worked hard and contributed to America as the government seeks to round them up? (Getty Images)

I don’t live near the Mexican border, so perhaps I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I simply don’t understand the anger so many Americans seem to harbor towards illegal immigrants. Where does this anger come from? Most of the jobs performed by illegal immigrants are difficult, unpleasant, sometimes dangerous, and typically low paying. Which part of this equation are these angry Americans jealous of?

Yes, I can why so many Americans are resentful of these people. They’ve had it too cushy for too long. Hey, good news everybody, all of the illegals are gone, somebody grab a bag and start picking those acres of strawberries for minimum wage. Thank you President Trump for creating these good jobs for the American people. (Getty Images)

Donald Trump himself, the President of the United States said that he had to hire illegal immigrants because he couldn’t get American citizens to take the jobs he was offering at his resorts and hotels. Even George W. Bush understood the important role that illegal immigrants played in the economy of Texas. Why can’t people take a step back, pause, and understand that this issue isn’t as simple as stating that as illegal immigrants these people broke the law, and therefore they need to leave. Are we to believe that the fact that the overwhelming number of these illegal immigrants are Mexican has nothing to do with this anger?

We are of course a nation of laws, and in the age of global terrorism, our borders should be strong. However, Trump’s “wack-a-mole” approach to security, and the foolish expenditure involved in building his ego driven wall appears to be more about an absurd campaign promise that will literally solve nothing. We as Americans don’t have to go along with this.