The Orange County Register
Saturday, April 15, 2006
By HUSSAM AYLOUSH
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hussam Ayloush, 36, has been executive director of the Anaheim-based Council on American Islamic Relations, Southern California since 1997.
Q. What should our moral/ethical response be to the dramatic influx of illegal immigrants?
To answer this question, we need to address its impact on all its victims. There are three types of victims of illegal immigrations who all are real people who deserve from us fairness and dignity, as we demand it for ourselves.
Prophet Muhammad, as Prophets Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them) before him did, taught that one is not a true believer until they love for others what they love for themselves.
The first and most vulnerable victims are the children and dependents of undocumented immigrants who often had no say into their unfortunate situation. They should be offered all necessary medical, humanitarian, and educational services to ensure that they are not suffering nor marginalized in society, regardless of the decided legal or political solution to this problem.
Our greatness as a country comes from our compassion toward our most vulnerable members.
The second victims are the legal residents and citizens who see their tax money spread thin to finance over-burdened social, healthcare, and educational services. They are forced to compete for scarce jobs with those willing to accept a lower pay and to endure increased crime rates by the minority of illegal immigrants who choose to become involved in gangs and crimes.
The third and often forgotten victims are many of the illegal immigrants who opted to take the life risking journey, leaving their homes and families, hoping to earn a living to support their families. Many end up living in deplorable conditions in order to avoid detection.
At the end, regardless of how we choose to deal with their infractions against our laws, they deserve basic human rights which include due process, food assistance and medical care when necessary. An illegal person is still a human being.
While no one should condone anyone breaking our laws, we have to realize that unless the economic hardship in their home countries and our increasing demand for cheap unskilled labor are resolved, we will continue to hypocritically feed this influx while dehumanizing its victims.
The practical long term solutions could include a humane guest worker program, economic development projects in Latin America, higher penalties for businesses that employ undocumented workers, and amnesty laws to certain categories of illegal immigrants.
No matter what we do, we should never forget to be humane, compassionate, and fair to our fellow human beings.
Copyright 2006 The Orange County Register
- Hussam Ayloush
- Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html