Suppose I go to California and buy a house, intending to make it a vacation getaway. I come home and am unable to return to California for five years. When I do return, there is a family living in my home. They have lived there, without my knowledge, since I bought it five years ago. Their address, lifestyle, everything involves this house. They have made my vacation getaway their "home." Do they have a right to be there? Should I let them stay? Of course not. This is the situation with Ernesto Guillen.
I use this example for two reasons. First, this fictional family had legal ways of getting my fictional house. By law, the house could be bought, rented, etc. The law only prevents squatting. Second, I feel this illustrates my larger issue. Most people do not care about laws unless they themselves are affected. It is great to think anyone who has been here a while should be allowed to stay, illegally or legally. However, if allowing that individual to illegally stay here meant that you were denied employment, I am sure you would appreciate the law.
As the wife of a legal immigrant, I can say from first-hand experience the process is tedious and time-consuming but it is not impossible to legally immigrate into our country. Even after 9-11, immigrants still legally enter our borders each year.
If you feel a law should be changed, work to change it (i.e. voting), but do not break it. A simple recollection of prohibition proves that laws can be changed or repealed.
Finally, to those people who have written letters saying "we are all descendants of immigrants ...," I would like to point out this is an antiquated and foolish argument. If my descendents owned slaves, should I support slavery laws or further, prevent them from being abolished? I think not. Our ancestors immigrated to this country in a different time. Comparing the two is apples to oranges. Same general category, two totally different tastes.
I do wish Mr. Guillen and his family the best. However, I hope his return will be legal next time and that others can see this as an example of why not to try beating the system.
Tiffany Sargent Thompson
Former Juneau resident