An Immigration Morality Tale

Note the nature of the host country. As soon as she arrives at the Madera hospital doctors and nurses, as they should and must, offer emergency care. When it is ascertained, despite her efforts to deny that fact, that she has recently given birth, note again officials’ desperate efforts to locate the newborn in hopes of saving it. Note the plural “doctors” and “deputies,” as the state spares no expense in treating her, as it should; in questioning her, as it must; in desperation seeking a translator, as it is obliged.

Then there is the mission of mercy to her residence. No doubt the residence was quickly designated a crime scene, with all the attendant need for investigatory personnel. More doctors and staff were needed for the autopsy, to determine whether the baby was killed after birth. Then we enter the realm of county prosecutors (tried as a juvenile or adult?), judicial determinations (notification of the Mexican consulate?), legal defense (Miranda rights read at the hospital?), bail (fair or excessive?), and other work on the part of state officials (a need for a second/third opinion on the autopsy?). Her arrest is the beginning, not the end, of the process. Hearings, investigations, defense motions, and eventual legal consequences will follow, all paid for by the taxpayer.

I cite all this not to suggest all that is not necessary for a legal and humane society, but that illegal immigration, with its myriad of linguistic, cultural, and legal force-multipliers, makes it all the more difficult, expensive, and, in the end, utterly unsustainable.

Given the cultural, legal, and social collisions between those from Oaxaca state who arrive in California without legality, English, literacy or education, a near-bankrupt state is increasingly unable to provide social services for all its residents, permanent or transient. In philosophical terms, are conditions so wretched in Mexico, and so favorable in the United States, that pregnant teens risk crossing the border illegally, without money, literacy, or language facility? And if so, why do we not ask culpable Mexican officials why such an abyss exists in our present globalized world, and why is the U.S., so criticized by immigration activists, seen as so humane by immigrants themselves?

Finally, whatever the actual denouement to this case, the ethics of it are more than tragic, although certainly the murder of an innocent newborn is the most heinous of crimes. The suspect may well have determined to cross the border illegally in search of free medical attention or at least in expectation that a pregnant teenage Oaxacan resident is far better off in Madera than in Oaxaca. If the charges prove factual, she then committed a series of crimes, from murder to efforts after the fact to lie to officials to conceal that murder. My worry is also this: How many in-need U.S. citizens of Madera (and the majority would be Mexican-American given the city’s demography) rush to the emergency room with serious cases of strep throat, life-threatening infectious diseases, or sudden catastrophic illnesses, only to find “doctors” and “deputies” attending to a murder case by someone who speaks an unfathomable language who arrived just three days earlier and who is intent on not cooperating with officials? I fear throughout California -- in a state with millions of illegal aliens, many with medical and linguistic challenges -- that many U.S. citizens simply avoid emergency rooms because it has increasingly become not a source of prompt life-saving attention, but a more complex landscape of translation, investigation, and law enforcement.

The point of this disturbing story is simply this: We are told the victims are those who enter the United States illegally and without our language and customs. I grant that they may be victims sometimes, but the surrounding community is even more victimized by extending unsustainable social and state services to those who are often not cooperative and honest with them, often at the expense of citizens who are struggling in recessionary times to pay for it and in frustration will not use the services themselves that they need and must pay for.  At some point, Americans must grasp that each time a foreign national chooses not to apply for legal entrance but simply breaks federal law and crosses the border, that is the beginning, not the end, of an entire chain of events that so often do not end well for anyone.

Postscript: In a subsequent updated story, the teen is now to be charged as an adult and she is identified by name.

(Artwork based on modified images.)