States across the nation are trying to craft legislation to address illegal immigration. Missouri is no exception. The Missouri Legislature is nearing completion of an immigration bill that is a watered-down version of earlier legislation. A court ruled illegal one of the prime provisions of the earlier measure that would have required landlords to verify that their renters are in this country legally. That court decision gutted one of the major planks of the legislation. So Missouri is including several provisions that have weathered court tests in other states.
Since it seems we don't have much agreement in this country on how to address the flood of illegal immigrants, states are patching together as many barriers as possible to stop illegal immigration. But until there is a national resolve on the issue, the problem won't simply go away.
One leading opponent of the legislation is the Missouri Catholic Conference. This group is opposed to the measure because - among other issues - they believe innocent children will pay a price for the illegal status of their parents.
But what bothered me is the statement from this group that said: "It's true that some of these people are breaking the law but it's also true that you're sweeping into this ... people who are just trying to survive."
So my question is this: Is is right for someone's economic "survival" to cost me money and impact my way of life? I fully recognize that most of the illegal immigrants are here to earn a living. But is it fair for their illegal status to cause economic harm to others? I think the answer is no.
Here's the irony in the entire discussion on illegal immigration. The United States has an open-arms approach to legal immigration. There is a simple process that allows people from other nations to call America their home. The process has worked for hundreds of years. And it still works today for those who follow the law.
I share the concern that everyone should have the ability to provide financial resources for their families. But I fear the illegal population will grow so large, so fast that the long term impact will cost this nation dearly. The writing is already on the wall.