Juan and I have been friends for three years now. We are close to the same age and are in the same fraternal organization. When I needed help siding my house, he was the first person I called to give me a hand. He is one of the hardest working people I know and though he struggles to gain a foothold in life, you'll never catch him without a smile, willing to give you a handshake or even the shirt off his back. Yet according to Donald Trump, he is a rapist, murderer or drug dealer.
Juan has lived in the United States for the last 25 years illegally. Seeking to remove himself from a troubled childhood and no really good long term prospects in life due to his parents divorce and living with aging grandparents, Juan walked to the United States at the age of 20. Back then, the corner between southwestern California and northwestern Mexico near Tijuana had a fence that ended at the beach. Juan simply walked the beach north into the United States and had an Aunt living in L.A. pick him up. He lived in L.A. for while and I believe a few other places before settling in rural Southeast Iowa, which is home to a large Hispanic population due to a large meat packing plant that actively recruits their ethnic group. I'm sure they are actively recruited because they in large are hard workers and willing to work for low pay. To them, just being able to live here and have a stable job where they can send the majority of their pay home is living the dream.
The catch to all this is that Juan came here illegally and is living here illegally. Because he doesn't have papers, he can't take chances driving long distances for risk of being caught. He has tried paying taxes every year he has been here and has requested a pin number from the IRS so that he can pay taxes but they never follow up to his requests. He went home once ten years ago to visit his parents and siblings whom he hadn't seen for 15 years. His father was ailing in health and Juan wanted to stay a bit longer but his father told him to go back to the U.S. where he could live a better life than he had. They told him it was no longer safe to cross the border so their goodbyes were forever. Juan sneaked back across the border into the U.S. for the last time and his father died two weeks later.
Juan can't get a drivers license, can't pay taxes and can't apply for loans. He would love to own a home one day and religiously saves up for it but for him, 100% down is the only route. He has enough saved up to buy a really small run down house but his fiance would like something better so he continues to save up even more. Until then, he lives cheerfully in a run down trailer in an overcrowded trailer park making do with what he has. His one hope is that his fiance, legally here, recently obtained her greencard and is on the route to citizenship some five years down the road. Currently however, there is still no route to obtaining a greencard for himself. If she were to obtain her citizenship five years down the road, they could marry and Juan could apply for citizenship but under current laws, he would have to first serve a ten year penalty for being here illegally and spend that penalty back in Mexico. His brothers are simply shrimp fishermen having divided up his father's business and there is no room to support Juan for those ten years. This is ignoring the fact that he would be 50 when he started serving the penalty and 60 before he was eligible for citizenship. By that time, his productive years would be well behind him.
I have dealt with the immigration system and I know it is broke. We want people like Juan here in our country and yet there is no way to let him in even though he is already here. Under the current occupant, he isn't being forced to leave but he is still shamed and kept with a foot on his neck holding him down. He is paying his way through this world and is not a burden on anyone and would like to contribute thousands of dollars in taxes towards the betterment of our society and being told no. Now we have politicians on the television telling Juan that he is a rapist at best. It's sad. On the way to a meeting a few nights ago, Juan and I were talking about the best way for him to be allowed "in" legally. He doesn't expect to be handed U.S. Citizenship and is not even requesting that he be given a greencard so he can be classified as a permanent resident and thus eligible for a social security number. All Juan would like is something saying that he can live here legally, a way to pay taxes and a path towards getting a greencard so that the Trumps in the world can verify that he is not a rapist, murderer or drug peddler. I'm in complete agreement and if given that opportunity, I would sign my name and honor on Juan's behalf to vouch for him.
I don't think the Juan's of the world should be given a free ticket to citizenship. I think we should check their status in society before giving them their greencard and I think they should prove that they have been productive citizens during their time here illegally. I'm sure there are rapists, murderers and drug peddlers among their ranks as there are among our ranks. But given a route to be here illegally would allow us to ferret those out and send them back home or make their ranks small enough (compared to the vast numbers of people here illegally good and bad now) to make them easier to find and send packing. It seems so simple until you have carbon based organisms with bad hairdos like Trump making horribly untrue statements and seeing masses of people nodding in agreement. I'm guessing they have never met someone like Juan.