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Searching for America's Soul: Trump's Big, Beautiful Wall (Part 2)

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 14/03/2016 LaMonte M. Fowler
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Okay... you've had some time to think about the question: What role could I possibly play in illegal immigration? I hope you're sitting down, because this might get a little uncomfortable.
Do you enjoy sleeping on clean sheets when you stay in a hotel? How about those clean toilets and showers... you like those? I bet you expect to have clean plates and silverware when you dine at a restaurant. How about all that gloriously fresh and tasty fruit that you drop into your NutriBullet every morning? I bet you like being able to afford that! And let's not forget all of our golf courses, resorts and parks with manicured lawns and lush landscaping. We simply couldn't live with out that.
If you enjoy any of that then you are huge fan of illegal immigration. And you support it with your dollars every time you go out to dinner, stay in a hotel or enjoy a round of golf. Now those of you who are already angrily typing a response to tell me how awful and racist the previous paragraph was, please take a deep breath and back away from the keyboard. Could it be considered promoting a stereotype? Sure. But take a look around. The jobs I described are jobs that are disproportionately filled by Latino immigrants. I don't know why, but it is what it is.
Like it or not, the harsh reality is that our economy requires a continuous source of cheap, unskilled labor. Entire sectors of our economy depend on it.
So if we need these laborers but we seemingly have no political will to implement a more modern, rational and fair immigration policy, what then? Frankly, I have no idea. I do believe that anyone who entered the United States illegally should face some kind of penalty. Many ideas have been suggested, but I support those that include some combination of fine and payment of back taxes, but that ensures a path to citizenship -- even one that is considerably longer than if they had entered the country legally. I feel strongly that anyone who comes to the U.S., works hard and pays their taxes, should have the ability to live the full American experience with all the attendant rights and privileges. But this all seems a long way off.
Until "we the people" make immigration reform a priority and force our elected officials to do something about it, I suspect we will continue to argue incessantly and watch the situation get progressively worse.
Here is what I do know. Regardless of who wins the next presidential election, the United States is not going to round up and deport 11.3 million undocumented workers. Such a plan is not only utterly impossible to implement from a logistical and financial standpoint, it is immoral and would permanently damage the standing of the United States in the eyes of our allies and confirm the propaganda spread by our enemies.
Can you imagine the images of parents being forcibly removed from their homes while their children (many of whom are legitimate American citizens by right of birth) stand screaming and clawing at ICE agents as their mothers and fathers are dragged away in handcuffs? What would such a program do to the psyche of our nation? What kind of society would such a crass and inhumane policy birth?
No, we won't deport 11.3 million people. So let's stop saying that we should and that we will. Such statements are effectively lies and do nothing to advance the cause of solving our genuine immigration problems. And it diminishes us as a people.
We also are not going to build a wall from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. While it may be technically possible, it would be a complete and utter waste of valuable resources. It would fracture the longstanding partnership with Mexico, damage our relations with Canada and diminish our standing as the moral, cultural and economic leader of this hemisphere. And frankly, it would do very little if anything to stem the flow of illegal immigrants across our southern border. As with so many utterances of the political class, this too is just hand-waving and theater intended to distract us from the simple fact that our elected officials have failed to act on meaningful immigration reform for more than thirty years.
As a Christian, I am appalled at the lack of compassion and concern shown by my countrymen and my brethren in the faith for the plight of the Mexican people (and many others). If the church can turn a blind eye to such outlandish and immoral policy suggestion -- or in many cases support them -- then we have surely lost our soul as a nation.
In the end, all I can do is carefully examine my attitudes and respond accordingly. The Bible I read tells me to love my neighbor as myself. Where I live, my neighbors are people from all over the world. I don't know their immigration status nor do I care. My only responsibility is to love them, live in peace with them, and serve them in whatever way I can. That's what Christ taught and it is the only response that has eternal consequences.
It is my sincere hope that we can change the way we think about the millions of hard-working undocumented immigrants, many of whom do the jobs that no one wants. Let us see in them an echo of our own ancestors who came to America for a variety of reasons, but all in the hopes that they could live peacefully and prosperously in this great nation.
Read the essay that started it all--with more than one million views and read by people in more than 140 countries.
Other essays in this series:

LaMonte is an author, missionary, and business consultant who lives in Chicago, Illinois. When he is not writing science fiction novels or helping his clients, you can find him serving the people along the Amazon River in Brazil. You can learn more about his work at

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