Fairness under the law: The ideal that everyone will be treated the same no matter what their circumstances. I think we can all agree that it is a good thing; as well as agree that it doesn't always work as it should. Believe it or not, the same law is applied by the government to all adult persons who are undocumented in the United States. (We are not discussing the Dream Act Executive Order in this particular essay.) However; what is different is how US Citizens perceive how the laws are enforced and the fairness of how they are written.
Undocumented persons in the US come from all over the world and not necessarily primarily Mexico. There are Canadian, Filipino, Chinese, Indian, British, Nigerian, German, Kenyan, Ukrainian...well, I think you get the picture. These persons frequently come here legally with a student visa or a tourist visa and remain. The main reason they stay? They fall in love or have family here. The second? Employment. (www.uscis.gov)
All immigration should be undertaken legally. However, people with undocumented loved ones are a bit more lenient (at least for their own cases) than people who do not personally know any undocumented persons. They just want them gone. Unfortunately, these people tend to focus almost exclusively on people of hispanic descent. Reasons given for believing someone is here without status:
"They were speaking Mexican to each other."
"They were wearing flannel shirts and had a beat up pick-up truck in [an affluent neighborhood]."
"A bunch of them were working construction (or landscaping, or manual labor)."
When I called one person on their assumptions, they responded,
"I can profile if I want to because I'm an American."
Next let's look at jobs, as we can see that this is a very big sticking point about illegal immigrants. As always, there are two sides to every story. First, there are the people that say illegal immigrants are taking American jobs. The other side states that undocumented persons are doing jobs that Americans don't want or refuse to do. Personally, I think it's a bit of both. Undocumented persons can be paid cash, there are no taxes and no benefits and the added cudgel of being reported to ICE if they complain. US Citizens want (need?) more money and benefits so, therefore, are more expensive to hire. Everyone needs to do more. Especially with regard to the fact that employers that hire undocumented workers need to be held more accountable.
Now let's look at the people with undocumented loved ones in the US. These US citizens find the laws restrictive and unfair. Their son-in-law, daughter-in-law, wife, husband, etc. is not like "those people". They are "educated", "loving", "a good parent", or "an asset to the United States". In addition, these undocumented loved ones who are here "would respect the law". Apparently with the exception of the one that they are currently breaking.
People seem to believe that as a US Citizen that whomever they marry is entitled to come to, or stay in the United States irregardless of the circumstance. This is not the case. As a US Citizen you may marry whomever you wish. (Unless you wish to marry someone of the same sex - in most states.) If you choose to marry someone who is undocumented, then they are still undocumented and must go through the same process as any other person who entered the country illegally.
That is the law being applied fairly to all persons. Remember, everyone has someone that loves them. Just because you are a US citizen and love someone who is here without status, it doesn't make them better than someone who isn't in love with a US citizen.
There are no "good" illegal immigrants or "bad" illegal immigrants. There are people here legally or illegally. Whether you love them or loathe them, they need to be treated equally under the law. Maybe you remember this line? "With liberty and justice for all."