A recent U.S. winter storm is said to have killed more than twenty people.
Although it’s impossible to know whether a fatal cold-weather heart attack might have occurred anyway, traffic deaths on icy roads fairly may be attributed to the storm.
But deaths are only part of the story.
Storms save lives too. Bad weather keeps violent criminals off the streets. Drivers who can’t get out of the driveway, can’t drive drunk.
And so it is with immigrants. Crimes are not the whole story.
First, let’s agree that we can’t trust anything the president says. Not anything. Here’s a January 16, 2019, story from the Toronto Star headlined, Trump unleashed a blizzard of immigration lies in a 52-false-claim week.
Either out of malice or ignorance, he told wildly inaccurate tales about human trafficking at the border. He lied about Democrats’ position and the history of the wall debate. He even lied, bizarrely and obviously, about his own travel — declaring, two days after the trip to Texas, that he had not left the White House “in months.”
And he introduced a notable new lie: a claim that he had never said, while promising that Mexico would pay for the wall, that Mexico would actually write out a cheque, just that Mexico would effectively pay in some indirect form.
Lies are his modus operandi. The president started his political campaign in 2015 by lying about Mexicans.
When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. [sic] They’re sending people that [sic] have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us [sic]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.
(Please. “Mexico” does not “send its people” anywhere.)
Yes, some Mexicans are criminals. Every group has bad elements. But statistics prove that Mexicans, even those unlawfully in the United States, are LESS likely to commit crimes here than are people who were born here.
When the president says otherwise, he lies.
And just as “killer” storms also save lives, immigrants save lives too. Jeffrey knows from experience.
“Uncle Joe” was a frail old U.S. Army veteran. Who looked after him for years, kept him healthy and safe? It was “Julia”, from a Caribbean island. Without her unlawful presence—unlawful because of arbitrary U.S. laws that do not comport with common sense, economic princples, or human nature—Uncle Joe would have died years before his time.
“Peter” lived unlawfully in the USA after his family fled Iran. An American toddler would have choked to death on a French fry if not for Peter who, working without authorization in a restaurant, performed the Heimlich maneuver while colleagues and customers froze in panic.
Americans could have done these things. But they didn’t. The immigrants did.
Laws that keep out Julias and Peters cost American lives. And immigrant lives are lost due to bad laws cruelly enforced, and good laws broken by the enforcers.
We can’t fix this unless we acknowledge the facts. Only then we can have a serious discussion.
Meanwhile, we must ameliorate the injustice.
Human Rights First does it through the courts, by educating lawmakers and the public, by leveraging their expertise through hundreds of volunteer lawyers nationwide, and in myriad other ways.
The Interfaith Welcome Coalition does it on the ground in Texas. IWC volunteers give asylum applicants and their families food, medicine, pocket money, travel advice and more.
And you won’t have to taste my soap.