The Lawful Huddled Masses
Last month my husband Jason and I were blessed to finalize an adoption of two beautiful boys. I could probably go on forever about the adoption process, how long it took us to get to this point, but that is a story for another time.
We made the decision to adopt from Colombia, which gave a surprising and interesting perspective on immigration.
While in Colombia we noticed that there was a large migrant population, both in the rural areas and in Bogota, the capital. We were told that many of these people were among the two million refugees from Venezuela that continued to stream across the border. Some of these refugees were traveling to the United States Embassy in Bogota because there was no embassy in Venezuela anymore.
Many of these refugees were fleeing from hardships similar to those who cross into the United States illegally. They were fleeing the same poverty, the same criminal activity, and the breakdown of society. These people in Colombia did not have the benefit of hiring human traffickers to take them across the border. Instead, they are trying to get to the United States the legal way.
Our last immigration experience in Colombia for our two boys was a stop at the United States Embassy. This was relatively painless for us as we were able to fill out paperwork and receive approval prior to our travel. As we sat at 7 a.m. waiting our turn at one end of the embassy, we noticed on the other side was a long line of huddled families winding all the way from the counter in the front to the exit. Beyond the exit, the line continued for almost two city blocks.
This long line consisted of people from Colombia and Venezuela who were seeking entry into the United States. They were willing to give up everything they knew for the chance at a better life in the United States, and they were doing so by legal means.
I can’t say how many are going to make it to the United States. I don’t know how long they have been trying to immigrate here for the chance for a better life. I know that they are trying to come here legally, and I hope they make it.
As we gear up for a new election cycle, it seems you can’t read a newspaper, open your browser, or listen to the radio without hearing some story about illegal immigration.
I am against illegal immigration. I know too many wonderful people who have immigrated to the United States legally. They have waited their turn through long lines and government red tape to come to this wonderful country and become a part of it.
When I hear people argue that we should let everyone in, that we should give amnesty to all of the illegal immigrants already here, I can’t help but think about that long line of families I saw in the Embassy down in Colombia. We should respect their hard work and the sacrifices they have made to come into our country the right way.
A more constructive conversation to have is about the immigration process in general. Even from the little that we had to go through with our sons, the paperwork can be long, confusing, and the process can become discouraging. It’s easy to overlook the silent struggle of those suffering to enter the country legally.
One of the strengths of our great country is that we are made up of so many different cultures. Anyone who wants to come to this country and contribute to our society deserves a chance to do so, but we need to remember the sacrifices and hard work of those who immigrate to our country legally.
We are a nation of immigrants, but we are also a nation of laws. We should seek to reward those who enter our country while respecting those laws. We as a country should pick up the torch in an effort to reform our immigration system so that we can better embrace the “cold and huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”