Illegal immigrants are traveling into the United States and making this area their home. They come here by choice through a treacherous journey. They want to live a better life. And they feel that in America options are available that somehow don't or can't exist in their drug cartel-infested lands. Americans feel we face a humanitarian crisis and must help these individuals.
Where, however, do the resources come from to help people pay who have not paid into this system? America is already overburdened financially and pushed to the edge in a battle over deficits, yet money can be found to care for people who did not legally come to this land.
As a native Chicagoan, I see a crisis when looking at empty buildings and homeless people on the street. I see a crisis when driving through inner-city neighborhoods with no grocery stores for people to purchase food. I see a crisis looking at males standing in front of the local McDonald's, strapped to defend their turf and holding drugs to sell to their own people. I see a crisis when schools in the inner city are closing. I just don't see a crisis when looking at people leave the strife in their home and coming here to burden us with their care.
Inner-city and small-town America alike are facing a crisis. We are overburdened with Americans to care for. Jobs are hard to come by, many people are bordering on homelessness, Americans are using food stamps at higher rates, and people are dying despite the fact that they should have access to medical care. At this moment, the decision is whether to provide access to the American public or to use those same resources to provide for housing, feeding, clothing, and educating an illegal alien population.
It is time for the American people to start fighting for their rights. Americans pay taxes. Americans contribute to society. And the expectation of the public is that their contributions should benefit them in some way. Even the segment of society receiving public assistance, though larger in recent years, is still paying bills and buying gas and goods. Every time they do this, they pay taxes on goods and those taxes feed into services they can expect.
Inner-city Chicago is changing. Ethnic neighborhoods are grocery and school deserts. In a barren land, the population gets desperate for resources that are lacking. To survive, they band together in the wasteland. This is why the gang culture is so large and pervasive across the ethnic groups in the lower-class neighborhoods.
Education is a driving force in creating opportunity. If people don't understand or can't see options in their future, then they move toward what the rest of the population is doing to survive. In the case of Chicagoans that means joining gangs and selling drugs and guns.
Why does this all matter in the immigration debate? The general population applies their effort to causes that matter to them. It is amazing to watch people determine that an alien to their land needs clothing, food, education, and care, while the same people turn a blind eye to the suffering of the inner-city population that already exists. Very few care that inner-city people can't get or eat healthy food. Very few care that Chicago public school options are dwindling and parents will be forced to school their children through the charter school system.
The same funding, funneled into other ventures like housing and caring for illegal aliens, could and should be used to care for American citizens. This does not mean that we should not care about what is happening with others.
It does mean that we should care about what is happening at home first.
Angelic Jones is a freelance writer and book reviewer for Austin Weekly News.
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