Rodrigo Cervantes’ op-ed on immigration (Herald, July 22) in which he contended that Mario Guevara, an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador, should not be deported because of his contributions to his community, because he has improved his economic situation and has adapted to the United States, ended with the contention that the plight of immigrants is in part the failure of “the country they decided to adopt as their own.”
Every country has laws that must be followed to become a citizen. One cannot simply ignore the law and choose to adopt a country as his own. Some countries do not allow immigrants at all without substantial proof of the ability to be economically self-sufficient. Becoming a U.S. citizen is less difficult than in most other countries – in fact, it is so easy to simply walk across the border that rights and benefits not normally available even to U.S. citizens are unquestioningly given to immigrants.
Guevara lamented an undocumented student being arrested for driving without a license. We are all required to be licensed. Why should this student be an exception, unless by breaking the law and being here illegally, she feels that no laws apply to her? No visa? No work permit? Breaking the law and expecting protection? There are countries where anyone, citizen or not, without a passport or identification will be thrown in jail, no questions asked, no defense accepted.
Guevara’s circumstances are such that perhaps he should be granted asylum, but why should undocumented immigrants who decide to adopt this country have any rights without going through proper citizenship procedures before crossing our borders? Aren’t there legitimate reasons for limitations on immigrants from all countries? It is not the responsibility, nor should it be the burden, of American citizens to provide for or defend anyone here illegally. The U.S. system does not fail such individuals nor does it create their anxieties as Cervantes claims – their native country does. Such individuals are not persecuted by being subject to the law of a country, especially because it did not allow them here in the first place.