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Undocumented Immigrants

I agreed with President Obama’s policy to focus on deporting felons, gangs, drug dealers and serious criminals who are in the country illegally.  Under President Obama’s administration more illegal immigrants were deported than previous administrations.

There are approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in the US based on information developed by the US Department of Homeland Security.

  • Of those 50% are from Mexico, 25% are from Latin America and the other 25% from various countries primarily Asian.
  • Illegal immigrants make up about 3.7% of the US population.
    3% of the Georgia population are illegal immigrants.
  • 1,120,000 illegal immigrants are under the age of 18.
  • 25% of illegal immigrants are employed in the farming industry
  • 17% in construction work
  • 27% as maids/housekeepers

However, as a Christian and an American I have a hard time supporting policies that break up families who have escaped poverty and violence to try and provide a better life for their children. The majority of the people who are in this country illegally are hard- working decent people, just like most Americans. In most cases they have jobs that Americans do not want.

In the most recent CNN/ORC poll released March 17, 2017, nearly 66% of Americans say they would like to see a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants rather than deportations. According to the poll 60% say the government’s top priority should be developing a plan to allow illegal immigrants who have jobs to become legal residents, 26% say stopping border crossing, and 13% say deportation of those already in the US.

The new recommendation that families caught trying to enter the country illegally will be separated from their children is appalling to me as a parent as well as a citizen. Arresting a father taking his children to school, or a mother who showed up at the ICE office as required is totally against what this country is about. Not providing a path to citizenship for the DREAMERS is short sited and not in the best long term interests of America.

Instead of demonizing illegal immigrants the current administration should work with the Mexican government to continue the efforts of the Obama administration to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. In the last year there have been more illegal immigrants leaving our country because the economic situation has improved in Mexico.

Let’s have both political parties working together to come up with a solution that is both humane and protects American interests. The two goals do not have to be mutually exclusive. We are a country of immigrants. Our families were also scorned, rejected and demonized because of their ethnic backgrounds and religious beliefs. However, that is what made America great. Our diversity is what truly makes us a great nation.

Written by Mary Smith, printed in March 2017