Former President Bill Clinton's surprise and high-profile trip to North Korea to try to win the release of two U.S. journalists sentenced to years of hard labor for illegally entering that country and the plight of three hikers who strayed across the border from Iraq into Iran and who are being held in that country outline the difference between us and them.
While we lament the influx of illegal immigrants into the United States, the worse we do to them when they are caught is incarcerate them for deportation. Many of those who are here illegally are hiding in plain sight. We see them on street corners looking for day labor jobs. Everyone knows that at least a percentage of them are here illegally. But with rare exception, once they are securely in the country, a significant distance away from the border, no one seemingly cares. In fact, there have been cases where undocumented immigrants have been arrested for crimes, have been bailed out and then have committed more heinous crimes while back on the streets. That's right, instead of turning them over to immigration for deportation, they're set free on the streets of America again.
This is frustrating to many Americans, myself included. I favor immigration - but I want it to be by the rules. Those who circumvent the system are taking unfair advantage of those who follow the law, usually subjecting them to a long and tedious process.
But the point of all this is, when we find people in this nation who are here illegally, we treat them humanely. In North Korea and Iran they toss them in prison for years of hard labor. And that's the difference between us and them.