Walls and Bridges; a disclaimer regarding immigration

There are certain issues for which I cannot be silent. Civil and human rights are such issues. When people of any group, any nation, any persuasion, are marginalized in any way, I am called to emotional arms and I will be vocal.

As a businessman I am more cautious today, politically speaking, than, perhaps, I used to be, because my clientele is everyone. There are people who are so incensed by the fact that I’m a Democrat they won’t patronize my businesses, and that’s their prerogative. Most people, however, are reasonable and accept differing views. Nevertheless, I am not in business to limit any side, but to welcome all people.

Immigration, undocumented workers, and a wall to cordon off Mexico, has become a debate that is now so divisive that government is shut down, air travel could be less safe, people aren’t getting paid, and argumentative face-offs on social media, and even in person, are increasingly hostile.

Illegal immigration is illegal. It is not something we should turn a blind eye to, but the facts of illegal immigration, the reality of drug trafficking, criminal activity, and terrorists coming into the United States, are not front and center in this debate.

Because each of those issues are not solved, or even diminished, by a wall.

Drug cartels don’t risk their fortunes on poor Mexicans running across a border with only a 20% success rate; other drugs like heroin are not coming from Mexico; terrorists enter elsewhere, usually legally, like most undocumented immigrants on legal visas- not over borders.

This issue boils down to one thing: a xenophobic agenda singling out Mexicans. And that I cannot abide.

Some people will be angered and defensive regarding that statement. They will adamantly deny it and they may very well be telling the truth; I prefer to think no one I know has such a prejudice. But, they are still participating in a policy that does support xenophobia and anti-Mexican sentiment. They are still supporting policy that panders to, or allows, racial stereotypes, profiling and ethnic homogeneity.

That, for me, is the antithesis of America; of our true values; our constitutional justice, and our founding principles of freedom and equality.

If it’s drug traffic, terrorism, and the earned “right” to be in the United States, that concerns us, why aren’t we talking about a wall along the Canadian border? Of course, l am not advocating for such a thing, but why isn’t the Trump Pro-Wall Supporter? Where is their logic?

If the “crisis” is that undocumented immigrants, wherever they come from, are criminals, why aren’t we talking about 100 years of data that shows they are not; not compared to native born US citizens.

If the “crisis” is that illegal aliens are taking our jobs, how about the evidence that they aren’t? They wouldn’t be coming here if there weren’t jobs. Mandatory deportation in the south led to losing 140 million dollars in crops because no US citizens wanted those jobs.

If the “crisis” is that they are bleeding our welfare, healthcare and are voting for Democrats, they aren’t; they don’t have documentation. They are, in fact, paying regressive taxes and they consume products. According to labor statistics, they contribute more financially than they cost.


Many of the Central and South Americans who cross the border on foot are the most desperate, having no resources and faced dire circumstances that forced them to flee their homes. When they cross the border most of them turn themselves in to border patrol seeking amnesty from the chaos and violence back home. After being turned away and extradited back to their home country, many faced the outcome they fled and were killed.

I repeat: Illegal immigration is illegal- it has to be- it is not to be ignored. But, let’s solve the problem with immigration reforms. Let’s not waste billions on a wall that is only symbolic of intolerance and not a practical solution. Let’s create more viable options for those who are here to work and support their families.

No, there isn’t one now. We have a lottery system where a hopeful immigrant can wait from whenever to forever. There is no process by which to “earn” (a word that is used quite often to defend the wall) the right to be in the United States


Let me ask those who disagree a personal question: If you didn’t have a job to feed your family, if your children are hungry, and you believe there is a job in another country- what is YOUR criteria for taking risk to provide for your family?

If we do not judge human beings taking that risk with a benevolent heart, with societal compassion, with policy reform that creates better, legal, pathways, then we can only conclude that we are being prejudiced. And that, like I said, is something I cannot abide.

If that keeps you from liking me….or coming to my restaurant, or hiring my services…so be it. If not….www.figarofigarorestaurant.com is where you can make a reservation 🙂

P.S. no politics.

Published by gary1164

I'm an advertising executive and former actor/producer