Close to six years ago I started on a romantic suspense novel set on the Arizona, near the Mexican border. Among the topics it featured was illegal immigration, its reasons and consequences. At the time I figured it would be mildly controversial but not a big deal. I ended up setting it aside to focus on two other books and only worked on it off and on over the years. This spring I decided to finish it and finally get it out.
Now, given the political climate, I’m wondering if I should try to publish it. The racism, intolerance, and hatred being promulgated nationally is appalling and makes me want to hide in a cave until this election is over. The hysteria over illegal immigration would be funny if it weren’t so serious. Having lived in California most of my life, I’m sure I’ve encountered many “illegals” over the years. They are the ones doing the scut work no one else wants to do. I can’t remember ever seeing a “white” man cleaning stables or shoveling manure for a living. And almost all the workers I see doing the back-breaking work of caring for and harvesting our crops have brown skins.
Most of the laborers I’ve encountered have been hard working, live in awful conditions so they can send most of their meager wages back to their families in Mexico, and can’t wait to see them again. Many are horribly taken advantage of because of their status and have no recourse. Many others make a success of their lives, pay taxes, and raise families we all can be proud of. Of course there are bad apples, just as in any other group, but on the whole they are hard-working, family people.
The interesting thing is that during our recession, starting in 2008, the number of people entering illegally was greatly outnumbered by those leaving because they couldn’t get work. Those coming in switched largely to people fleeing dangerous conditions in Central America, genuine refugees. But, because they crossed the border without permission, they can’t get help or asylum.
There’s no easy answer to this dilemma. Yes, we need to control who comes into our country, weed out undesirables. At the same time, those who’ve made a life here, raised families, and contributed to our economy should have a way of legalizing their status. I wish people would reject all the hype and take a moment to really think about things. Maybe then we could come to a reasonable solution.
And maybe I’d feel more comfortable publishing Forearmed.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/10816734@N03/4724249925">Members of a passion fruit producers' alliance near Buga</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(license)</a>
Healing is her life. Will it be her death?
Two dead bodies. One dirty cop.
Is she next?
Images – A Love Story
She’s learned to hide from life.
Should she hide from him?