I went to high school in Calistoga, California, the heart and soul of the world famous Napa Valley wine country. There were, and even now still are, thousands of illegal immigrant families living in Calistoga side by side with legal immigrant families. In many cases, they were neighbors back in their home country and now they are neighbors in this country as well. In some cases, these relationships go back over several generations. It often happens that a person will immigrate into the valley in accordance with immigration law and then later on they will use those same laws to bring in their family. During the process of legal immigration and bringing in their family they will write letters home (or, in today's world, use email and social media) discussing how much better life is in the Napa Valley than it was in their homeland. These letters (or social media posts) inspire dozens or hundreds of others to seek some easy way into the Napa Valley. These other families deliberately seek out some way around the burdensome, complex, exhaustive, and expensive legal process to leave their homeland and take up residence in Calistoga. Growing up surrounded by both legal and illegal immigrant families I had a very hard time understanding why it was so difficult to come to the United States from distant countries.
As an interesting footnote, in Calistoga I also went to school with a couple of Japanese-American students whose parents or grandparents had spent time in camps during World War Two. Immigration law, the historical persecution of immigrants, and even modern immigration raids, are all topics of daily conversation in my hometown. During my senior year, even my girlfriend (now my wife) was a temporary immigrant who was in Calistoga on a Student Visa.
Time passed, I grew up, left home, enlisted in the Army, sponsored my high school girlfriend back into the United States on a Spouse Visa, then left the Army, moved to Japan, and eventually raised a family there. Immigration and emigration are core components of my life. I understand this process in ways that no Washington politician ever will and the vast majority of Democrat Party voters will never experience.
One of the things I learned in high school, and saw first hand in Tokyo as well, is that illegal immigrants are easily exploited. They live in fear of deportation. This gives employers, modern slavers, pimps, drug gangs, and even violent neighbors, immense control over how an illegal immigrant goes about their daily life. In far too many cases, life in their home country is so miserable that living as a sex slave in a Tokyo brothel or as a runner for a drug gang in Los Angeles is a far better life that they are happy to embrace. This is the real problem with illegal immigration. The problem is not a family following their neighbor to a land of opportunity. The problem is that once they arrive at their destination there are millions upon millions of predators who seek them out and use their fear of deportation as a weapon to enslave and abuse them. I cannot even begin to count how many vineyard owners, winery owners, building contractors, plumbers, shopkeepers, and other employers in my hometown purposely seek out illegal immigrants as employees because they know for an absolute fact the illegal immigrant will work twice as hard as anyone else in exchange for a handful of dollar bills served up at the end of the day. In the best case, illegal immigration has become defacto slavery. In far too many cases, it results in actual slavery.
Many voters and advocacy groups who support open borders, dissolution of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Service, amnesty for illegal immigrants living in America, and so on, have no factual basis for their opinions. They see pictures of children in cages on television, on YouTube, or in the daily paper and they feel a sense of emotional outrage that a child could be treated in such a way. They don't realize that the child in the photo has just been rescued from sexual bondage, from a slaveholder, from a drug dealer, or from someone else intent on using the child as a slave or pet. Held inside a chain link fence for an hour or so until someone from Health and Human Services can arrive to take the child to a warm, comfortable, well-lit detention facility is not a travesty of justice and human rights. It is uncomfortable and inconvenient to be sure, and it makes for a terrible photograph or video, but inside that "cage" the child is safer than they were in the company of whatever predator brought them through the desert in an effort to sell them to some Hollywood starlet, local politician, suburban homeowner, pimp, or gangster looking for a slave or pet.
There are exceptions, but in the vast majority of cases children brought into our nation outside the legal immigration process are not the innocent child of a family seeking a better life. Even if they are, by choosing to enter our country illegally those parents are putting their child in danger of starvation, dehydration, snakebite, animal attack, unimaginably horrific diseases, and countless human predators. As an absolute minimum, any parent who attempts to bring their child into our country through some illegal means is guilty of abuse and neglect because they have deliberately chosen to expose their child to the dangers of illegal immigration. Entering the nation illegally, endangering their child, exposing their child to human predators, these are dangerous criminal actions not the compassionate desperation of parents seeking a better life.
Having spent my entire adult life on the frontlines of human migration I can assure you that any parent who puts their child into a leaky boat to cross the Mediterranean Sea or inside a shipping container on the back of a truck to cross into Texas from Mexico is a criminal who does not deserve to be a parent. That child will be healthier, better educated, more loved, and happier after spending an hour or two in a cage before being turned over to Human and Health Services for transfer to either a comfortable detention center or a relative who entered the country through the legal process. Those pictures of children in cages are the optimistic promise of the better future those children will soon have in loving arms of law-abiding relatives or under the care of compassionate social workers.
And those, my friends, are the simple facts.
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