Being a criminal is a crime

First Posted: 6:58 am - February 19th, 2016

By Grey Brendle - Contributing Columnist

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This may be stating the obvious, but sometimes it’s good to have something we already know reinforced. In fact, it can be a downright treat. Nobel laureate in physics Enrico Fermi said, “One should never underestimate the pleasure we feel from hearing something we already know.”

So let’s hear it again: Committing a crime is illegal. Therefore, one who does it is a criminal.

Being in this country illegally is a crime. There are no degrees of guilt in the act. You are a criminal. In our judicial system many crimes have varying degrees of seriousness in the charge.

Something physical to another person can run the gamut in its charge. An aggravated assault charge can be anything from a little reprimand to attempted murder and everything between. Not an illegal alien. Borrowing a little from Jeff Foxworthy, “If you did it, you are one.”

Many people assign compassion to justify this act. “They are just trying to make a better life for their family,” or “getting away from fear and abuse.”

Don’t we all want a better life? Haven’t we all had some form of fear and abuse, everything from a schoolyard bully, to a boss who held sway over us and was borderline deranged? In fact, read this headline: “More than 45 million people, or 14.5 percent of all Americans, lived below the poverty line last year, the Census Bureau reported.”

Let’s start our compassion, which translates to money, toward these people first, not criminals.

To give criminals a pass because of a desire for a better life would require changes in our judicial system. Take bank robbery. In 2014, the FBI said there were 3,961 bank robberies in the United States.

I don’t remember a single one of them using the “I wanted to improve my life” defense. Nor, Loretta Lynch issuing an edict that law enforcement “stand down” when confronting a bank robber. Or San Francisco becoming a sanctuary city for bank robbers.

In this political season there is much talk about illegal aliens and our southern border. One candidate vows to erect a fence and have Mexico pay for it. Many debate if that is possible. It is obvious in its simplicity. We would not build the wall and send them an invoice. Numerous ways to recover the costs exist.

One: A partial list of U.S. companies with plants in Mexico are GM, IBM, HP, 3M Motorola, GE, Nestle, SONY, John Deere. They hightailed it across the border, built factories to make products with cheap labor and then bring the product back. A tariff, say a half-percent, on reentry would produce more money than we could spend. We could build a fence to the moon.

Another: After oil exports, Mexico’s second highest income is money sent mostly from people in the United States, called remittances. Migrants’ remittances to Mexico in 2013 were estimated $22 billion. These transfers from individuals could be made illegal or have a fee attached. We could build a wall on top of a wall.

Conversations continue about sending the approximately 11 million illegal-immigrants back to their homelands. And how this could be done if each must go before a judge?

The question goes away when we consider the many other things that could be done:

First, close the border. Then enforce existing laws against hiring anyone who is here illegally, and put backbone in the penalty. There are many rules for landlords already. Add one, no one here without proper documents can rent. Stop issuing driver’s licenses. Most of all, stop giving away benefits.

Soon there would be no reason for someone to come here illegally. Self-deportation is a real thing. You wouldn’t have to round up anyone.

This is not cruel or inhuman. It is the first step in healing ourselves, our country’s economy. I call it the “airline oxygen mask syndrome.” When the flight attendant says “in case of emergency put your oxygen mask on first,” it is not a suggestion of selfishness, but rather a way to put you in a position to help others.

It has been reported that California’s approximately 3.5 million illegal aliens cost the state over $10.2 billion in overcrowded schools, bankrupt hospitals and overrun prisons annually. Luke 4:23 says it pretty good, “And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.”

We are a country of immigrants and should continue to be so. Even broaden our scope and speed up the process but with real scrutiny.

Why, we could even consider tequila. Seven out of 10 bottles produced in Mexico are exported, most to the United States. It approaches $1 billion annually. We could ban margaritas! No, wait a minute. That’s just going too far. (Visualize a smiley face here.)


By Grey Brendle

Contributing Columnist

Grey Brendle is a retired businessman, living in Fairfield County. He has written weekly articles for newspapers in the Southeast from South Carolina to Florida for 15 years.


Grey Brendle is a retired businessman, living in Fairfield County. He has written weekly articles for newspapers in the Southeast from South Carolina to Florida for 15 years.


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