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Cervantes: Compassion needed in immigration reform

BY CHRISTOPHER CERVANTES | MARCH 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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A young man by the name of Jose Chua Lopez lives in Mexico. He is 20 years old and seems much like any one of our Hawkeyes. However, there is one aspect about his person that differentiates him from most of us.

He has a heart condition; he was born with a heart defect that weakens his circulation. Despite a vast amount of surgery, all of which has been given to him over the course of several years, his doctor has gone on record that a heart-liver transplant is the “only treatment option” that can save his life.

The Lopez family and friends have begun raising money for his procedure, and the young man has been given the necessary forms needed to obtain a tourist visa. All seems good and well for Jose, except for one thing. For undisclosed reasons, this desperate young man has been denied his visa, not once, but twice. He is now applying for a third time.

To be perfectly honest, I’m confused by not only this action but also our nation’s general attitude toward the immigrants from Mexico.

Whenever I hear people talk about immigration, whether they are a politician or an everyday civilian, they always seem to be complaining about how too many of them (the immigrants) are entering through illegal methods. This talking then evolves into complaining and questioning on why more migrants do not try to take a more legal method of entering the United States.

When a case such as Lopez’s comes around, the answer to these many complaints becomes clear: It is easier to enter the United States illegally than it is through the prescribed measures. Lopez is in dire need. Without a visa of some sort, his life will be in jeopardy. If our nation cannot allow an individual in with these types of circumstances, then what chance does an everyday family have?

This occurrence with Lopez has once again brought to light how unpolished and how problematic our nation’s immigration system is. This obvious fact is why I get so annoyed when people complain about immigration. Instead of focusing on how to keep illegal immigrants out of our country, we should emphasize the drastic reconstruction that our legal immigration system desperately needs.

The sad part about this realization is that I don’t’ think any reform will occur, at least not anytime soon. With how combative our nation’s political parties are with one another, I do not think they will work together to rectify a problem that will not get them re-elected. It is much easier to say that a structure is flawed, yet able to function at times, than to recreate it.

As is stands, my condolences go out to Lopez and any other person who wishes to cross the borders of our country. They have a long road ahead of them, a road that some cannot afford and may not survive. If we, a land built on helping those in need, cannot live up to the expectations of our reputation, then are we truly being successful?

That is a question I honestly don’t know how to answer.


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