Should we send them away or let everyone stay?

Molly Cahill

The issue of illegal immigration is one of the hot button issues facing voters in the election tomorrow. It has always been an issue of contention with politicians and the people who reside in this country alike. But for the last six months or so since Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed ‘state senate bill 1070’ into law last April, it has become a lead issue of debate for soapbox toting campaigners across the country.

Some raise their voices in support of deporting all those who entered our country illegally and others want to pave a clearer path to naturalization. I say if a person can prove to be a productive tax-paying member of our society, why not let them stay?

One of the banners people like to fly in fighting for tougher immigration laws is the economy. They like to say that we have enough problems of our own without supporting people who don’t even pay taxes. Frankly, that’s a load of bull. It might not have as significant of an effect here in Ohio as it does in some of the Border States, but the cost of living in this country would rise if we just got rid of the illegal immigrants. They do a lot of the jobs that we won’t, and in many cases for wages and conditions that would not hold up under the magnifying glass of federal scrutiny.

I grew up in a city and state with a significant population of residents who would not be considered legal. Though often portrayed as shifty-eyed criminals and gun toting gang members by those supporting deportation, most would like nothing more than to work hard and make a better life for themselves and their families.

When Arizona’s immigration law was first passed, it appeared as though the rest of the country was about ready to hack off the whole state and throw it into the ocean for daring to support such an idea. Now, though, it seems that many states are pushing to join the bandwagon of tougher immigration laws.

Today, perhaps even as you read this, Governor Brewer will be facing a panel of three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to fight the holds that were placed on parts of Arizona’s immigration law after it was passed last April. Who knows what the decision will be.

I have to wonder where all of this is going. Are we to close our eyes and ears to those who come to us asking for the chance to build a better life? Inside the statue of liberty is a bronze plaque engraved with a poem by Emma Lazarus entitled “The New Colossus.” A famous poem with an ending that goes, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The statue of liberty once welcomed the people of other nations into our country with those words at her feet. She still stands there, but do we? I don’t mean to say that we should just tear open the gates and let people walk in willy-nilly. But there has to be a better way to handle things than simply sending everyone away.

Molly Cahill is a senior pre-journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at