Despite the angry rhetoric often aimed at undocumented immigrants, Tahlequah residents can be proud their community has so many compassionate individuals who help the needy before rendering judgment.
Last week, the Daily Press reported on local organizations and churches that assist anyone who needs it. They don't ask for identification, or proof of citizenship. They just follow the golden rule: They treat others as they wish to be treated themselves. And thus they play a role in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, caring for the orphan and widow, and ministering to those in physical or emotional pain.
Some of them are ambivalent; a few pointed out undocumented immigrants are, indeed, breaking the law. T
And more than a few pointed out the increased difficulty in getting "green cards" is hurting businesses. Most didn't want to be quoted or tagged as someone who might hire an undocumented immigrant. But almost all had stories about crucial positions going unfilled – not just because the jobs don't pay enough, but because Americans are unwilling to endure the back-breaking labor immigrants will gladly accept.
It's long past time that Congress took steps to reform this country's immigration laws, instead of using what's arguably become a crisis as a political football. Legitimate asylum-seekers need a more expedient path to resolve their cases, and more money should be invested in border agents who can pinpoint and turn back criminals intent on taking advantage of American generosity. Education is also critical. Americans should understand that while undocumented workers pay Social Security, they can't collect it, because they can't get legitimate numbers. Furthermore, the persistent rumor that "illegals" are collecting welfare checks should be put to rest. They can only benefit from entitlement programs if they hook up with eligible citizens.
An anonymous TDP website poll indicated many folks prefer to show no mercy. TDP asked: "What's your opinion about the undocumented immigrant situation at the border?" and advised respondents to choose the answer that most closely mirrored their own. Four said: "It's not a crisis; things should just be left the way they are." Five responded: "The immigrants should be willing to put up with whatever inconveniences are there, since they are seeking to come into this country." Another eight chose: "All persons seeking to come into this country should be allowed in under certain conditions (i.e., they're willing to take a job)." The highest number of votes, 29, came for this: "Those seeking asylum should be given adequate housing facilities while their cases are decided; those not qualifying for asylum should be sent home immediately." But 23 said: "President Trump should use his executive authority to prevent any immigrants – including those seeking asylum – from crossing the border." Nine said none of the above.
It is frustrating for Americans to watch the drama unfold at the border, but the demand for law and order can be tempered by a little human kindness. We should all realize – as TDP reported in January – that the process for becoming a U.S. citizen is neither inexpensive nor easy, and sometimes, it can take years. Desperate people don't have years to wait.
Voters should demand action sooner rather than later, but in the meantime, we would all do well to adopt the same humility and compassion displayed by many of our local organizations, and pastors and their congregations. These are human beings, and if we can alleviate their suffering, we should try to do so – especially if we call ourselves "pro-life."