Lariat Letters: Lenient immigration laws liable to violently backfire

In 1986, Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which was supposed to provide a one-time amnesty (and legal U.S. citizenship) to over 3 million illegal immigrants. It was taken to be a largely humanitarian gesture.

The passage of this controversial bill was conditioned on the promise that our elected officials would get serious about border security and immigration enforcement.

The fact that illegal immigration remains a rampant problem today indicates that promise never materialized.

Today, Baylor’s Student Senate is being asked to consider voting for a bill which would ask Congress to once again grant amnesty to potentially hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants now living in the United States.

The bill asks that we set aside the concerns of voting Americans about the seriousness of our willingness to enforce our own nation’s laws.

Don’t get me wrong; my father immigrated to the United States, legally, in the late 1970s. I descend from a family living in Tobolobampo, Sinaloa. Sinaloa is home to what U.S. law enforcenment considers to be the largest and most violent drug cartel in America.

I have direct experience with cousins, grandparents, uncles, and aunts, each of which live in fear of their safety and their lives. I understand their struggles at a personal level.

How did it get this way? Unfortunately, elected officials lost the moral and political will to enforce existing laws.

Turning a blind eye to drug smuggling and human trafficking gave way to other illegal activity. Soon, much of Mexico’s local governments were able to be bought or threatened. Compliance first came due to promises of political capital. Now, compliance comes under the threat of death and mutilation.

Here in the United States, Americans face a similar temptation today.

During a tough election cycle, Democrats, who largely favor amnesty, see much promise in winning voters through any means possible.

We are arguably the most prosperous, most successful nation in the world. But it is only this way, in part, because we are a nation of laws. Regardless of tonight’s vote, my hope is that clearer minds will understand the long-term consequences of our choices.

Even when driven by compassion, they can often lead to ever more brutal systems of corruption and exploitation.

— Daniel Cervera
Wichita Falls senior
Young Conservatives of Texas Chairman
First-Generation American