Tag Archives: immigration

DREAMing of a Solution.

By: Chris Warren

My dad, who is not a sophisticated guy (I mean that as a compliment), once observed that the American court system does not do what’s fair, it does what’s legal. In a perfect world there would be no distinction between the two. When courts aren’t fair we sympathize with the situation, but in the back of our minds we concede that “life is not fair” is part of…life. It’s further complicated by the fact that fair is largely a matter of viewpoint, whereas legal is a lot easier to pin down. We tend to stretch these boundaries when dealing with children as they are sympathetic figures deserving of a light touch.

If a child is introduced to a bad situation by an adult, then the responsibility of bailing the kid out of trouble goes to other adults who presumably know better and have the child’s best interests in mind. It is not a time to fuss over whose fault it is or how “unfair” it is that someone else has to right the wrong. In that spirit, we need to make fair and legal the same thing and find a way to let young illegal immigrants who grew up in the United States stay here. People who know me are aware that I strongly empathize with people from other countries and cultures and have blogged about this issue before.

The biggest problem with immigration policy in the United States is that both the left and the right attempt, and fail horribly, to correct the intractable maxim that sometimes there is no truly fair option, just varying degrees of unfair. Conservatives are cold and disconnected for not seeing that deporting people just to wave the law & order badass banner  is an ugly scene. Being legally right doesn’t make one morally right. Going the other way, liberals are manipulative users. They profess to care about immigrants, but only for selfish political reasons. For over a generation, Democrats have played up this issue solely for votes and believe with a cult-like intransigence that everyone is entitled to be here no matter what rules are broken or what the unintended consequences are. We have borders and laws for a reason.

Imagine a young person who was brought to the United States illegally as a child. They did not make a choice to come here on their own and may not even be aware of their immigration status. They grow up in American culture, hang out with American friends, speak English as their first (and possibly only) language, have no criminal history and little if any familiarity with their home country.

This is not a way-out there hypothetical scenario. There are tens of thousands of kids living in the USA who fit this description. I would like everyone who thinks this person should be given a one-way ticket back to their country of origin to answer these questions: Is your legal argument for kicking them out of the USA greater than the moral argument for letting them stay, and furthermore, is your argument so strong that it’s worth ruining a young life for? Are you willing to look this kid directly in the face and personally tell them they are being deported? What if this person was your neighbor, or your own kid’s best friend, or your future son or daughter in law? Exactly what “problem” is solved by shipping them out?

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM) has been floating around Congress since 2001 and has bipartisan support. I understand that in the world of politics the devil is always in the details. There are plenty of things in DREAM I’m sure I do not like, but I do believe in the basic premise of the legislation, which is to give people who came here illegally & involuntarily as underage minors a chance to stay and be productive members of American society. “Amnesty” is a loaded word in American politics, but it’s exactly what’s needed when the law is so blatantly unfair that a greater moral imperative is created to warrant changing it, or for minors who did not intend to break the law in the first place and played no active role in how they got into their situations.

Twenty First Summer is not a public policy blog and I am not knowledgeable enough on this topic to attempt a dissection of the DREAM Act and all the things that are both right and wrong with it. All I know is that kicking promising young people out of the only country they know and identify with for the “crime” of being brought here as minors by someone else is inhumane and should not be allowed to happen. I’m not coming at this from a right or left perspective. I’m looking at it as a question of “Is this moral?” For me the answer is a no-brainer: It’s disgusting and wrong. I’ll let others sweat the political details.

As President Chris, my first goal would be to stop the flow of illegal immigration to begin with. Then, pass some form of the DREAM Act and make it wholly separate from how the legal system will treat adults who are not innocent bystanders and came here fully cognizant that they were breaking US laws. That would be my compromise: Go easy on the young people in exchange for locking down the border and throwing the book at the adults.

Our default should be to find a way to help the children, not run them out like unwanted pests. The United States likes to brag about how we as a nation care for our kids. The DREAMers are “our kids.” They are Americans in their hearts if not in the law; they deserve to be protected and held close like the treasures they are.



Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, The Good Neighbor.


By: Chris Warren.

Editor’s note: I usually post a new blog article every Saturday, but due to the urgency of this week’s topic, I am moving my deadline up to Thursday. I hope by Saturday there will be positive news to report. 

I once had a “high maintenance” neighbor who was quick to ask for favors and help yet when any request was made of her would always have a reason why she could not come through. We would regularly mow her lawn, shovel her snow, and in one case lug out several old heavy appliances and muscle the new ones in. An older married couple in the neighborhood was particularly kind to this woman by providing her with free babysitting and handyman services around her house. The benefactor of their generosity repaid them with a weak excuse for not being able to do something as simple as pick up the mail while they were on vacation. This woman was not a horrible person, and not even a bad neighbor. But she had an inconsiderate manner and lack of grace and that made that her the type who no one would purposely choose to live near.

U.S. Marine Corps Sargent Andrew Tahmooressi was in southern California for medical treatment after serving two tours in Afghanistan. During the night of April 1, 2014 he was running a personal errand and by mistake lost his way on a dark road and ended up in Mexico. This might have been the makings of a funny “I should have made a left turn at Albuquerque” style crazy road trip story, but for Tahmooressi and those close to him, it was the beginning of a nightmare that is now in its second month.

What landed Tahmooressi in a Mexican prison was the three guns he had in his truck. He legally owned the firearms in the United States; instead of simply letting him turn around and go back down the road from which he came, the Mexican authorities arrested him for “gun running”.

This is not the first time an American service member has been sucked into the vortex of the Mexican justice system because of simple misunderstandings that could have and should have been quickly resolved at the scene, or at most within a day or two. Mexico seems to have a penchant for drama and goes out of its way to turn any little transgression into an international incident. This is the same Mexico that not only does nothing about thousands of illegal immigrants pouring over its border into the United States every year, but expects the US to give them immunity from deportation, eligibility for public services, and all the trappings and rights enjoyed by everyone who came here by the rules.

That is the logic of our mostly respectable but very one-sided neighbor: Mexican citizens who willfully and deliberately enter the United States in violation of our laws should be given a pass but if an honest American mistakenly wanders out of his own yard, he is given zero consideration, tossed in a notoriously nasty prison, and treated in a way that would give immigration activists a coronary if a Mexican detained in the U.S was given the same deal.

The U.S. State Department and the White House have remained faithful to the effete foreign relations philosophy that has become a hallmark of the Obama administration by being predictably coy about the whole mess, saying only that they are looking into it or some such pablum. As of Monday, May 4, over a month into this horror movie comes alive, a State Department spokesperson would not comment on the matter due to “privacy reasons” or even acknowledge if Secretary of State John Kerry was aware of Sgt. Tahmooressi’s situation.

Fortunately, public pressure is mounting; the White House and Secretary Kerry will not be able to hide behind their spokespeople for much longer. Kerry is scheduled to make a previously planned visit to Mexico on May 21 (and conveniently unavailable to testify before a Congressional hearing on the terror attack in Benghazi, but that’s a separate blog article) and the only acceptable excuse for not bringing  Sgt. Tahmooressi back with him would be because the Marine was already released.

As a goodwill gesture for the mountain of generosity the USA has shown Mexico, freeing Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi and returning all his personal possessions including the guns should be a no-brainer. It does not benefit Mexico to keep him and it involves zero cost or effort to let him go. But like my old neighbor who enjoyed the kindness of others and then had the nerve to act put upon when a very simple reciprocation was asked of her, Mexico exists in its own realm of one-way relationships.

The United States is owed a deep apology for this, but simply getting our Marine back would be good enough. I am demanding that the Mexican government immediately and without conditions free Sargent Andrew Tahmooressi, USMC, return his personal property, and assure his safe passage back to American soil.