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Holli Deal Bragg Owning up to immigration
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Holli Deal Bragg
    A recent forum on immigration issues focused on the September raids where numerous families were torn apart as law enforcement arrested illegal aliens in Stillmore and other areas.
    The images brought to mind were vivid as speakers told of the horrors these families faced.
    Imagine being asleep in bed, with your children in the same room with you because that one room is all you have. Suddenly, the door bursts open and men with guns snatch your husband, still in his sleeping clothes, and place him under arrest while your children cry.
    Alone, frightened and speaking no English, what do you do?
    Having a soft heart, I sympathize with the plight of several illegal immigrants who hoped for “the American dream.”  I feel sorry for the innocent children who were traumatized. I feel the raid could have been conducted in a more compassionate manner.
    But the fact remains, these people were breaking the law.
    If I sneaked into another country  illegally, and did not speak the language, would I not be responsible for my own plight?
    What other country in this world would embrace me, feed me, clothe me and modify their system to accommodate my own language? Could I “press one for English” anywhere besides the United States?
    Immigration has been a way of life for many for as long as the earth has been around. Each and every one of us has predecessors who migrated somewhere in search of a better life. Who can blame people from Mexico who want to improve their ways of living by coming to America? However, there is a right way to do so.
    If a Mexican native followed legal procedures, came to America, made an effort to learn the language, and did not expect legal citizens to be the ones who changed, then I would welcome him. There is room for people from other countries who wish to embrace the “American dream.”
    But what is the American dream? Is it living in squalor, a whole family cramped in a small room, with no air conditioning?
    Is it driving illegally because you cannot get a driver’s license due to illegal alien status?
    Is it living in constant confusion because you don’t speak the language?
    If I slipped across the border and found work in Mexico, then went to  the Mexican government with complaints that I had no food, would those government officials give me food stamps?
    Would there be signs, directions, instructions in both their native language and in mine as well?
    Would I find separate departments in grocery stores that offered my favorite treats from my country?
    Again, no.
    From a personal view, the plight of illegal immigrants is a sad tale.  My heart goes out to the baby born on the way to the hospital, minutes after its mother had been hiding in the woods, fearing arrest for illegal status.
    My heart goes out to the young mother of three whose husband was arrested, and who has no idea how to find him or contact him, and cannot speak English well enough to communicate her needs.
    My heart goes out to the worried father who is desperate enough to make his way into America illegally, trying to eke out a better life for his family.
    But when you look at the big picture, we just cannot keep welcoming these law breakers into our country, giving them a free ride at our expense, and changing our ways instead of demanding they learn to speak English.
    There are people who were born in this country who need help, and our government cannot find a way to help them.
    The diabetic amputee who has been fighting for disability for five years deserves help before we feed a healthy man who broke the law and came here uninvited.
    Our seniors who need better health care programs should come before young, able-bodied people from another country who come here in violation of our nation’s laws.
    Illegal immigrants place a strain on our food banks, our welfare system, our medical programs that are already stressed. Our own people, born and raised in America, should come first. That is not always the case.
    As a child, I wanted to take in every stray animal I found. As a young adult I tried to do so and soon learned that I could not afford to take proper care of my own pets if I strained by budget feeding a pile of strays.
    America can’t feed every hungry mouth that shows up on her doorstep. If a person cannot move here legally, learn the language, and support himself, then he needs to stay in his own country until he can.
     While government officials own some degree of responsibility for those displaced in September’s raids, the ultimate responsibility belongs to those who willingly broke the law.
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