Friday, June 28, 2013

Marco Rubio and the Great American Experiment

Today, I’ve been mocked, I’ve had my credibility attacked, and I’ve been told that I “need to move to Mexico if you want to live with foreigners...”

Why, you ask?

Because Senator Marco Rubio has really impressed me by his willingness to do what he thinks is right even when it’s unpopular, and because I agree with him. Senator Rubio sees that the immigration system is broken and that it needs to be fixed. He is willing to stand toe-to-toe in debate with anyone Republican or Democrat who is willing to talk seriously on the issue.

So, people attack me because I agree with Rubio. I don’t know if they are really racist or if they are just speaking without thinking. But the fact is, I have personally seen the positive results of immigration: my adopted sister was an immigrant from Guatemala and is now an engaged citizen who loves this country.

The crazy thing about immigration is that “foreigners” come here to the USA and become citizens—just like us!

That’s why I love immigration. I am not just a fan of it in the abstract, because someone before I was born came here to make a better life. I love our country because it allowed my beautiful sister to become a citizen and a part of my family.

There are problems with our immigration system, however. It is broken. It was designed during the Cold War, and, as it stands, it neither protects our borders from those who want to harm us, nor does it assist those who long to enjoy freedom they’ve never before experienced.

The current system has long waiting times (sometimes up to 30 years!) and the bureaucrats have a field day deciding who they think is worthy of coming here to the USA.

The problem is not going away and Rubio seems to be the only person who is willing to try to do something about it.

So what should be done?

We have to have solid border security. That is not negotiable. But we cannot turn a blind eye to the results of bureaucrats in Washington handling the borders for so long. The bureaucratic control has led to many would-be immigrants outstaying their visas because the system cannot process them quickly enough. Both problems must be addressed:  the unsecure border and the generations of bad Washington policies that have made it next to impossible for people to come here. In short we cannot just deal with the border. The problem has lasted too long and, as a result, there are many who are here in the USA without proper paperwork. We have to come up with some process to get them the right paperwork so they can properly join our society, pay taxes, and follow the laws of the land.

In the end the whole thing is broken and we need to fix it. Rubio is trying to do that. Hopefully, his bill is the first step in the process of fixing the problem by encouraging other Republicans to step up and work on real solutions that go beyond talking points. And I pray that this process will bring us back to the land that took in the poor and vulnerable and helped them to join what the founding fathers called the Great American Experiment.

If you disagree with me about Senator Rubio’s bill, that’s fine, but do it with an eye for solutions. Don’t just attack Rubio (or me)—present what you think we should do. How can we make the system better? And as you consider that question, don’t forget to incorporate Matthew 7:12 ("So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you") into your policies.

I am a solution-based person; I want to find answers. And right now, the only person who even seems to be trying to get to an answer to the immigration question is Senator Rubio. So until I can find something else, I think I’ll continue to stand with Rubio.

By Jeremiah Lorrig

Editor's Note: Any opinions expressed on this blog are the opinions of the author and are not necessarily representative of Generation Joshua as a whole. This particular article was controversial even in the office. So feel free to drop a comment letting us know what you think, and then share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or whatever other social media network you use.


  1. Preach it, Jeremiah! Si se puede!

    ~Will Estrada

  2. Hello Jeremiah,

    I find your stance on this subject to be a very courageous one. I honor you for it. Any virulent attack upon your character is unworthy for a man. That said… have you been vacationing in fantasy land? I am in jest, though I do respectfully disagree with you.

    The underlying question you pose in your paper is the same one that has confronted me at least three times in the past few months. I think it is high time to find an answer. The question is whether or not a government has any sort of obligation to non-citizens at the expense of citizens.

    The first time this was thrown at me was on the “Liberty’s Call” column, “The Ivory Cubicle,” by Nick Barden. In his April 25th, 2013 article entitled “The Question of Justice at Guantanamo Bay,” Mr. Barden proclaimed his opinion that the United States is unjust in detaining foreign nationals suspected of terrorism for what seems to be an indefinite amount of time. The second time I encountered it was at iGovern East 2013. This year’s scenario was completely founded on this dilemma. Now, I see you expressing the same idea in your piece on this blog. I believe you articulated the crux of the matter best when you mentioned the Golden Rule of Christ as being a necessary part of immigration policy.

    I threw down the gauntlet with, Mr. Barden. I now throw down another. How can a government be unjust in their treatment of non-citizens if the very lives of citizens are at stake? The lives of citizens are at stake in each of these situations: Take Guantanamo Bay, were we to try the detainees, as Mr. Barden would have us do, suppose one who is actually a terrorist is acquitted. Being released he returns to terrorism, and murders even more innocent Americans. Where is justice here? In the iGovern scenario, the health and wellbeing of our citizens are on the line, and the United States government is pandering to foreign interests. Again, how is that just? A central part of Marco Rubio’s immigration plan involves granting amnesty to illegals. How is granting a blanket pardon to thirty million criminals just?

    Apply the Golden Rule, sir? When America is militarily and economically brought to her knees by criminals and terrorists, perhaps a citizen of a once great nation will say to her conquerors, “Why didn’t you apply the Golden Rule to me?”


    Anthony Yetzer

    1. Anthony,

      Thank you for your thoughtful response. I agree with you, the government's first responsibility is to her citizens.

      Were I disagree with you is the assumption that reforming immigration and establishing a path to citizenship somehow hurts Americans.

      There is no data that I have found to be reliable that shows that. There will be no lives lost because someone who has lived here for 15 years becomes a citizen. There will be no violent crimes committed because someone goes from being off the grid to on the grid.

      In short, I think it is in the best interest of the American people to have as many of these people become citizens as possible so that they can become contributing members of society as well as pull them out from the underworld that they might be forced to go to because of their "status".

      Finally, you used the phrase "30 million criminals." I don't know a driver who hasn't sped. That means that if there are 250 million drivers in the United States, there are likely about 250 million criminals on the streets.

      Fortunately we believe in a concept of the punishment matching the crime. So we get fined for speeding and then we are ok.

      It is not a crime to come to the United States. Their only crime was not filling out the right paperwork. In short it is an administrative crime. If they filled out the right paperwork and waited in the right line they would be fine. They didn't. I personally know homeschoolers who don't fill out the right paperwork and when the government comes after them it is a slight crime because it is only a paperwork issue.

      We need to keep that in mind. They are not "30 million hardened criminals." They are 30 million people who would have been approved if they had filled out the right paperwork and waited in the right lines for years.

      In short (again), this isn't a choice of hurting American citizens for the sake of others.

      So, that being the case, we need to look to universal principles (like in the Bible), for how to treat people. And what I see there allows us to apply the Golden Rule to them.

  3. Anthony,

    I've just now seen your comment (sorry for taking it so long). I just had one comment, and I'll let Jeremiah take the rest of it. You mentioned thirty million criminals. I know a few of those "criminals." One was brought over by her parents before she could remember, and is currently an "illegal immigrant" in the United States. She's grown up American, is culturally identical to a second-generation American citizen, likes the same stuff her citizen friends do, has absolutely no recollection of Mexico whatsoever, etc. If you want to level the charge of "criminal" at her, I suggest there are lawbreakers out there more worthy of the title, say, one of my friends who was recently ticketed for going 15 mph over the speed limit. Or perhaps someone who tried to pump their own gas in Oregon.

    Her mom came over after her dad was killed by cartels. She was fleeing a war-torn country. Given the fact that parents have obligations to their families, and that remaining in Mexico was to invite death and/or starvation, she made the decision to break American law and cross the border illegally. I applaud her decision. There is a higher law, fidelity to one's family, than the laws of nations.

    In tossing around statistics such as "30 million criminals" let's not forget that there are stories behind each and every one of those "criminals." I'm all for America being committed to its citizenry, but when it comes down to it, America is also uniquely tasked with being a refuge for immigrants. It's how America was built, it's how American society coheres, it's written into every facet of American life.

    You seem to think that a benevolent immigration system will bring America to her knees. Frankly, I think it just shows that you're a bit unaware of precisely how immigration works. The "30 million criminals" who actually ARE driven to crime are often driven to crime because the status quo does not allow them pathways to citizenship, opportunities for work, etc.

    Furthermore, the current immigration system does not allow for effectively detecting terrorists. Border security is impossible with the current flood of illegal immigration. Part of fixing our security problem involves redirecting legitimate immigrants from illegal immigration pathways to legal ones. And if you want to return America to economic success, perhaps you should consider expanding entrepreneur visas, or, perhaps, convert the shadow workforce in the United States from low-skilled workers to citizens with a college education via the DREAM Act section of the omnibus bill.

    There. So it ended up being a bit more than just one comment. Ah well. I'll let Jeremiah take over if he wants to handle any more of this.


  4. Since I used the term “criminals” coupled with “lives of citizens on the line,” I suppose I came off as meaning that with amnesty, a wave of violent crime would sweep the nation. That is not what I mean. Amnesty is not an imminent threat to the lives of citizens. It is, however, an imminent economic threat which later would prove to be destructive to the nation, and therefore the lives of its citizens.

    According to a study by the Heritage Foundation, 50 percent of illegal immigrant household heads have less than a high school diploma, while only 27 percent have a high school diploma. Contrast that with the tiny 9.6 percentage of American citizen household heads lacking a high school diploma. Those households headed by American citizens lacking a high school diploma receive $46,000 in benefits, and pay only $11,500 in taxes. Once those illegal aliens start receiving welfare as U.S. citizens, our fiscal debt will dramatically increase.

    In light of these facts, granting amnesty to illegals without first reforming the welfare state is incredibly dangerous. Marco Rubio’s plan will hurt American citizens, and as such I stand firmly against it.