A popular Facebook status message that will no doubt spread across the social network like many other politically-inspired messages using humor targets the debate on illegal immigration.
Unfortunately, while it looks on the surface to make a perfectly valid point, it misses a bigger one.
The message takes the form of something along the lines of this:
“Your car is Japanese. Your vodka is Russian. Your pizza is Italian. Your kebab is Turkish. Your democracy is Greek. Your coffee is Brazilian. Your movies are American. Your tea is Tamil. Your shirt is Indian. Your oil is Saudi Arabian. Your electronics are Chinese. Your numbers Arabic, your letters Latin. And you complain if your neighbor is an immigrant?”
It’s funny. It’s even cute.
It makes you think.
But then I thought about one other detail it’s cutesy question ignores.
Of the material things mentioned above that I purchase or acquire, all of them, one way or another, were legally purchased or acquired. I buy my coffee, I pay for movie admission, I shell out money for the oil and gas I put in the car I bought. And in each case, I used funds that were left over after income taxes I payed because it was what the law required.
I would never complain if my neighbor were an immigrant. I know many people who are immigrants. Nearly all of us who were born here are the product of immigrants who got here long before we came along.
But I would complain if my neighbor were an illegal immigrant who I learned was undocumented and not paying his fair share of taxes like the rest of us, while potentially taking advantage of services designed for and payed by taxpayers.
I don’t happen to think that this is an unreasonable point of view, regardless of where my coffee or my shirt comes from.