If you’re reading this, you may think illegal immigration is not an issue, which is understandable. It probably does not affect you personally in the slightest — as a result of you being better off than the average person, I’d imagine.  You are part of the “protected,” as Peggy Noonan describes in her Feb. 25 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. The “unprotected,” then, would be those individuals who are suffering because of the influx of illegal immigrants into their current job sector, thus causing their wages to decrease.

To be clear, I’m asserting that illegal immigrants who have jobs in America, even the ones who have been in the USA a long time and have established a respectable and good life after living in abject poverty, are working in a position that (a) is a job a natural born citizen could also work and (b) most likely working said job for a lower wage than the market typically commands — the reason they, and not a natural born citizen, have the job. I say this to highlight an important distinction that most conservatives fail to establish in their argument, because conservatism is undoubtedly the stupid party. The distinction is the nature of the affected party: instead of presenting illegal immigrants (a name that seems hurtful in and of itself, even though it is a literal translation of that person’s standing with regards to the government) as lowlifes who enjoy stealing everybody’s jobs (a very Trumpesque presentation), you acknowledge who they really are the majority of the time: people with rotten luck in search of better opportunities.

It truly is terrible that the system is broken to the point that people have to wait years to gain legal citizenship. However, entering illegally only compounds the issue, displacing others because it fills the job markets and housing spaces that potential legal immigrants (from not only Latin America but the Middle East and Africa) could fill. Remember that in addition to the unprotected American, potential legal immigrants are negatively affected by the illegal immigrant.

I admit, the idea of establishing a physical barrier does not feel good, especially since we legally admit people who are better off economically, probably because these people can afford to wait patiently. But facts and rules should trump feelings because in this case. If we don’t construct a barrier or radically improve border defense, immigrants will continue to cross illegally, decreasing the job opportunities for Americans (who, morally speaking, you should be considering fully given that they share your privilege of living in America) and increasing the length of time people trying to cross legally have to wait. Therefore, if you knowingly allow this to happen and have the ability to reason, you are simply succumbing to feelings rather than facing the difficult truth by recognizing the legality of borders. Donald Trump is an egomaniac with one skill: making money, a terrible recipe for a president. He is not wrong about the necessity of a measure preventing illegal immigration from continuing to occur.  

Clearly it is irrational to consider yourself a humanitarian for turning a blind eye to illegal immigration, knowing that people truly do suffer because of it. The question then concerns the logistics of the illegal immigrants already in America. How do you draw the line, if anywhere, between an illegal immigrant who is a contributing, valuable member of the country and one who is taking advantage of the system, without relying too much on your own judgment rather than the simple truth that they are here illegally? Preventing immigrants from continuing to enter illegally is obviously a must, as is deporting illegals who have committed significant crimes and deporting proven social security abusers. The final question is what to do about the good men and women who were understandably desperate and are already here. This is the question that remains open to discussion. When presented clearly with the inescapable realities regarding the issue, which are so often presented poorly by conservatives and misunderstood by liberals, the action is made all the more difficult to face what is right and just.