Letter to the Editor

What laws do we follow?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

In a recent Letter to the Editor titled "Emma Lazarus Words on Immigration," the writer begins with the Emma Lazarus poem on the State of Liberty, but then descends into complaints that President Trump does not follow international or United Nations law. I could be mistaken, but I thought the United States was sovereign nation that controls its own destiny.

The Emma Lazarus poem has some nice sentiment, but it does not represent U.S. law or policy. The words might have had some relevance a hundred years ago when we were trying to settle the West, but we are now a country of 320 million. There are more needy people in the world than the United States can accommodate. We already pay a huge amount of money for welfare, free healthcare and free education for people already here – legally and illegally. Most counties have stricter immigration laws than the United States. We are amazingly tolerant of immigrants.

The writer quotes the "Refuge Law" that he claims states "the U.S. is bound to provide everyone fleeing persecution or torture with a fair opportunity to make their case for asylum and protection against deportation." Maybe he means the "Refugee Act of 1980" that states the U.S. is not obligated to accept more than 50,000 refugees per year unless the President determines otherwise. 8 U.S. Code § 1157(a)(1).

There are legal ways for asylum seekers to enter the United Sates. Anyone seeking asylum should present themselves at an Immigration Point of Entry. If they truly have a valid fear of persecution or torture in their home county, they will be accommodated. Just because they have an economic hardship in their home country, they are not entitled to be granted asylum in the United States.

The people who try to sneak across the border and are caught are the ones being deported. In most cases, their main motivation is to improve themselves economically. An admirable goal, but does it have to be done at taxpayer expense? Some of these illegals have children with them. Why would they risk their children's lives with such a dangerous trip? In some cases, they bring along children who are not theirs.

Yes, we could consider adding the violation of international and U.N. law to the list of President Trump's transgressions. We can do that right after Special Counsel Mueller finds any acts of collusion or obstruction of justice. After more than a year of investigation Mueller hasn’t found anything like that involving President Trump.

Phil Petersen

Okoboji