About 100 miles south of here there is a line. People born on the north side of that line enjoy enormous advantages—economic, educational, political, and otherwise. People born on the south side of that line can lack many of these northern advantages, and often must live with severe economic, social, educational, and other hardships.
I had the good fortune of having been born on the north side of that line, as did millions of other people, including many at the Orange City Council meeting on April 10. I did nothing—absolutely nothing—to earn or deserve the fact that I was born on this side of that line. Nor did anyone else who was born on this side of that line do anything to deserve those advantages. Similarly, those who happened to have been born on the south side of that line did nothing to deserve the all-too-frequent disadvantages of having been born south of that line. There’s a word Christians use for undeserved favor such as being born on the north side of that line—it’s called “Grace.” I fear that Resolutions like the one the city passed fail to take that Grace into account.
Don’t get me wrong—I am not talking about eliminating borders. We are a planet of imperfect human beings–without borders we would have chaos. However, when it comes to the laws and regulations that we enact to enforce those borders, we who through no merit of our own reap the benefits of having been born on this side of that line 100 miles to the south, owe it to humanity to keep in mind that there are others who don’t have those benefits. Out of sheer gratitude there should be flexibility when it comes to sharing our gifts.
No immigration law is perfect. However, I believe the state of California’s policy at issue here is much more humane and reasonable than the federal policy and recognizes that we should not punish unduly those who through no fault of their own happen to have been born on the other side of a line. I oppose this Resolution’s attempt to opt the City of Orange out of the State of California’s law. True, it is not for the City of Orange to adjudicate a dispute between the state and federal governments, however, neither is it necessary for the city of Orange to take an affirmative step, like this resolution does, which refuses to recognize that we should at least try to share some of our good fortune.
Don Bradley is an attorney who practices in the city of Costa Mesa and lives in unincorporated Orange County adjacent to the City of Orange.
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