The Mollie Tibbetts Case Highlights One Part of the Immigration Problem in America

09.20.18
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U.S. News /20 Sep 2018
09.20.18

The Mollie Tibbetts Case Highlights One Part of the Immigration Problem in America

Mollie Tibbetts is dead and the man who killed her, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, has been arrested.

In case you are unfamiliar with what happened, Rivera was in the United States illegally and reportedly harassed the late Ms. Tibbetts before her murder. If Rivera had been picked up for this harassment and deported once discovered, Mollie Tibbetts would conceivably still be alive.

That said, right off the bat, let me say that this does not mean that all immigrants here illegally are likely to commit crimes. But it does mean that when one such undocumented immigrant has repeatedly harassed women, local authorities should be willing to work with the federal government to ensure that he is removed as quickly as possible.

The problem in America right now, though, is that we cannot even suggest this as a possibility without somebody suggesting that you are a “racist” or a “bigot.” I do not see the desire to enforce our immigration laws as racist.

As somebody who came to this country many years ago as an immigrant from Pakistan, I know better than anybody the incredible opportunities America can offer. I came here with nothing and I was able to become a very successful doctor and live an amazing life. But I came here legally and did everything the right way.

And while I sympathize with those who are undocumented — whether they snuck in unlawfully or just overstayed their visas — there is a reason why countries need to have at least some control of their borders.

As much as I want to see as many people as possible come here from other countries and do well, when somebody comes here illegally, there are people who suffer as a result, and not only in the way Kathryn Steinle did. For starters, there are those who wait in line for legal citizenship only to be bypassed and essentially punished for following the law.

But there are also negative consequences for some American workers, especially those who are most in need. As both Senator Bernie Sanders and President Trump pointed out during the 2016 campaign, there are millions of Americans who are suffering.

Unskilled laborers haven’t had a significant raise in wages in many years and quite a few of them struggle to find or keep steady employment. When an undocumented immigrant enters the labor force, this drives down wages for those aforementioned unskilled laborers, because employers would prefer to pay those immigrants the artificially low wages that are far below what an American citizen may accept under minimum wage laws.

Furthermore, the market becomes flooded with a much greater supply of this cheap, unskilled labor, and fewer jobs exist for working class Americans.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming these immigrants. It is still better for them to make the low wages in this country than it would be to have stayed in their home countries and worked. They are doing what they feel is best for them. But it comes at a cost to many working-class American citizens.

Perhaps the answer is to truly reform our immigration system and find ways to let more people in than we currently do. Maybe we can more effectively screen people so that we can try our best to avoid these problems.

However, we do need safeguards and we do need to address the issue. And we cannot continue to act as if anybody who even dares to speak about it is some unconscionable monster.

President Trump was elected in part because he showed a desire to tackle the immigration issue, something both parties in Washington have talked about, but failed to do so for decades.

Mollie Tibbetts’ death is the worst-case scenario.

But everybody needs to stop ignoring the larger, more common problems. Complete inaction is no longer good enough.

For the good of the nation, I hope we can all come together and try to really fix this problem.

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