One of the conservative contradictions when it comes to immigration is supporting family values while at the same time encouraging deportations that split up families. This lack of understanding that the families of immigrants have feelings just like those of natives or naturalized citizens has clouded the immigration debate, leading it to its current legislative paralysis.
Given this context, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush enriched the discussion when he told a Fox News reporter that it is an “act of love” for immigrants to defy obstacles and come to this country seeking to give their families a better life, whether or not they are undocumented.
Bush is right. The challenges that immigrants face in this new land, in addition to the dangers many confront to get here, are many. They range from learning the language to becoming acclimated, being far from loved ones, tackling the ongoing fear of deportation and facing the solitude of being in an unfamiliar world. Immigrants go through all this and more to give their children a better future.
What many parents did, bringing their children to this country so they can have education and a bright future, is an act of love. Those are the parents of today’s Dreamers.
Unfortunately, many in the immigration debate have resorted to stereotypes that undocumented immigrants are, above all, dangerous criminals. This disregards their humanity and desire to get ahead, which make them similar to immigrants who have arrived on our coasts for centuries. The lawfulness of the entry does not change the feelings or reasons to come to the United States.
Jeb Bush’s opinion once again shows a Republican sector that is willing to handle the immigration issue in a reasonable way. The fact that he is seen as a potential GOP presidential candidate in 2016 is a challenge for his party to emerge from its loud anti-immigrant phobia. It also provides hope that all immigrants could be seen for what they are: people who make many sacrifices to seek a brighter future for their families.