Over the past few months, I have heard a lot of criticism of Governor Perry over the issue of in state tuition for children of illegal immigrants. Even some Perry supporters take issue with his position. For me, though, I have to say I agree with the Governor.
I should make it clear that I am not an amnesty supporter. I believe that if you made a choice to break our laws and cross the border, you should be deported. I also believe without totally sealing off the border we will never solve this problem. So, make no mistake, I am not an advocate for illegal immigration, especially for those with criminal intent.
With that said, I do “have a heart” for those that have no choice; the children who could not choose and were brought here by their parents.
Let me tell you a story:
My father worked as a probation officer for almost twenty years before retiring. More times than not, this can be a discouraging job. Many of the people he worked with did not want to change. Occasionally, someone would come along who would not only change but become a friend. This is what happened with a man I’ll call Jose`. Jose` was illegally brought over the border into theUSby his parents when he was about ten. His parents settled inFloridaand worked on a farm picking produce. When Jose` was about twelve, a friend of the owner of the farm his parents were working on, asked to take Jose` toWest Virginiato help him sell his crops. He promised to pay Jose` a good wage and to bring him back toFloridawhen the crops were sold. Jose` went toWest Virginiaand worked hard for the farmer. Unfortunately, the farmer proved to be untrustworthy. Just before they were supposed to return toFlorida, they stopped at a gas station to get gas. Jose` went into the gas station and when he came out the farmer had left him. He abandoned Jose` without paying him for his work and left him stranded in West Virginia. Jose` was on the street with no money, no way home, and no way for his parents to come and get him. Needless to say, José’s next few years were hard ones. When he was in his late teens, he met a friend who helped him begin the process of becoming an American citizen. This friend also helped him become a certified electrician. Jose` eventually became an American citizen, worked hard, and paid his taxes. Then, he made a mistake; he got behind the wheel of a car after he had been drinking, this is how my Dad met him. It was clear to my Dad that Jose` was someone who wanted to make something out of his life. Jose` vowed to never make that mistake again. Jose` became a Christian and a person whom others respected. He started his own small business, got married, and had twin boys. He is now raising his sons to become law abiding upstanding citizens of the country he loves.
I’m sure that there are many other José’s among us. People brought here as young children and want to live as good, decent Americans. Frankly, I do not see why we cannot allow a young person, who through no fault of their own is illegal, to work toward becoming a citizen like Jose`. What is so wrong with allowing them to pay their way through college like otherTexasyoung people? Why can’t we allow them to be contributing productive members of our society, tax payers instead of tax wasters?
Think about this, if a mom tells her five year old to steal something and he does, do we prosecute the child? No! We prosecute the mother. I ask you, should we punish a young person because of what his parents did? I don’t think so.
I realize that my opinion is not a popular one, but in my heart of hearts, I can’t see it any other way. None of us can choose what family we are put in, or what our parents will do; that is all left up to God. I believe we should judge someone on their own merits, not by what their parents have done.
I’ll end with a poem I wrote that seems to fit this topic.
We cannot choose where we are placed,
Not our family, our parents, or our race,
What matters though, is how we live,
What we say, what we do, and what we give.