The immigration debate has taken another turn in Los Angeles, with homeless activists criticizing Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday for providing housing to aliens. It seems that despite being unable to support a quarter of a million homeless people, LA is able to provide shelter to those crossing the border illegally.
The immigration debate has been a hot topic as of late, with thousands of people crossing into the United States every day. While leaders in Washington debate how to handle the issue, local leaders have had to make some tough choices on what to do with those coming in.
“Before you get partisan, before you tell me where you are on immigration, these are children. As a father, who are we as Americans if we do not step forward first?” Garcetti said. “I see this as not just a moral issue but as a practical one.”
But while Garcetti struggles to assist those who have come in recently, what about those who’ve been here all along, largely ignored by Americans as a whole. Garcetti, however, was once revered as a supporter of homeless people by groups such as People Assisting the Homeless (PATH).
“It’s kind of a slap in the face to U.S. citizens,” said homeless activist Ted Hayes. “It’s embarrassing. It’s hurtful. Because it’s like a father saying that he loves children outside of the family more than he loves his own.”
It is an unenviable position Garcetti finds himself in, but one that could have been foreseen. Illegal immigration has been an issue in this country for decades, but the political and economic realities of the situation often make acting difficult. Conservative groups decry illegal immigration because they fear it will take jobs away from Americans, though many studies show that illegal immigration actually helps the economy as a whole. Many democrats favor looser immigration rules in the hopes that illegal aliens will vote for them in elections.
The homelessness problem, however, shows little benefit for politicians to get involved in. In fact, when elections and conventions come through a major city, homeless people are often put onto buses and shipped out so the city can look cleaner. Sometimes they do it just to get the undesirables out of their city.
With all of these issues on the table, it seems that Garcetti can’t win. On the one hand, he can anger immigrant groups and political backers, and on the other he can continue to leave the homeless out in the cold.
But for Hayes, it’s as simple as taking care of our own before we start taking in others. “We feel for them,” he said of the immigrants. “We feel their pain. But we are feeling pain of our own children first.”