Monday, November 26, 2007

Giving up the American dream.

Jesus Cordova gave up his dream to save the life of a small boy. Mr. Cordova is an “illegal” immigrant. That means he came to America but he didn’t have permission to do so from a bureaucrat. I don’t know what this man endured in order to find his way through the desert in order to cross in America.

But I can imagine the joy he felt when this young man succeeded. He was finally in America. The first big step to a better life had been accomplished. I suppose he dreamed of finding a job and getting himself established.

At around the same time a 45-year-old woman was driving down a U.S Forest Service road after taking her young son camping. She lost control on a curve and the car plunged into a canyon. She was trapped. The nine-year-old boy crawled from the wreckage and wandered around looking for help for his mother.

And that was when Mr. Cordova, on his way to a better life, came upon the boy in the cold desert night. First he tried to help the woman out from the wreckage but was unable to free her. She was in bad shape and didn’t survive. The boy was left as an orphan lost in the desert -- his father had died two months earlier.

This “illegal” took his jacket and gave it to the boy to keep him warm. He built a fire and stayed with the boy throughout the night to protect him and comfort him. The next morning two hunters spotted them and called for help.

Of course the benevolent hand of government quickly arrived on the scene and arrested Mr. Cordova. Mr. Cordova would still be pursuing his dream of life in America if he hadn’t tried to offer help to a distressed child. If he had simply started the fire for the boy and then left the child with the corpse of his mother Mr. Cordova would not have been arrested. But he showed true compassion. He reached out and helped a child even when that compassion meant his own incarceration because he doesn’t have a stamp on a piece of paper.

I would trade Mr. Cordova for all the Minutemen in America. I would take a Mr. Cordova as a neighbor long before I would want to live next to any Representative or Senator who voted for that Wall. I would prefer a Mr. Cordova as a friend to all the Immigration officials you can muster.

This also illustrates a problem with the drive by the bigoted Right to have local police arresting people for immigration offenses. Millions of illegals not only become targets for their more criminally prone native-born neighbors but they face arrest for helping others. If you are mugged and an illegal immigrant comes to you defense he faces deportation for helping you. If he witnesses a crime about to be committed and he reports it to the police to help another person he faces deportation as a result. He can’t afford to reach out and help you. He can’t testify in court or call the police or come to your aid without facing arrest.

Millions and millions of people face criminal prosecution for helping another person. That is the perverse incentive that they face. Mr. Cordova had too much decency to leave the child wandering in the dark, cold desert. And for that decency he was forced to give up his dream.