We, in the Susquehanna Valley, are hundreds of miles from the United States' northern border and thousands from the southern border. Distance gives us a different view of illegal immigration than might be found among citizens along the Rio Grande or Arizona.
Illegal immigration does not affect our daily lives the way it does people in border states. Many in the Valley view immigration from the prism of the law, where a core belief is that we obey the law, agree or disagree with it.
That means amnesty simply should not be granted to someone here illegally. And if they are here illegally, why do they stay at the front of the line when they should go to the rear?
One of the more ironic and under-reported facets of this argument is that legal immigrants to this nation -- including those from Central and South America -- are as opposed illegal immigration as anyone. A recent poll of Hispanic voters showed that 60 percent of voters would support amnesty to undocumented workers "only if illegal immigration is reduced by 90 percent."
These are people that came here the right way, waiting their turn in line, a turn that took years. Some of them may have family members waiting their turn, so why allow someone who entered illegally to jump them in line?
If sheer numbers or popular opinion were the only requirement for law, the number of laws on the book would be cut drastically. Numerous citizens use drugs and think they should be legal. If enough people want to legalize drugs, and the right political leaders get on board, should we grant marijuana or cocaine amnesty to any who seek it?
There is a system in place, but we need to make sure the law works for every American, not just those who yell the loudest and want things to happen right now, not 10 years from now.
Republicans, who are seen as obstructionists in this fight, advocate for a nation of law-abiding citizens. Others may equate that to hostility toward minorities, but that need not be true. You would hope Republicans would be as opposed to illegal entry from the Czech Republic coming through Canada as they would be a Nicaraguan coming through Mexico.
What kind of message is it if an an illegal act is approved as the starting point for citizenship?