It’s been a bad week for President Donald Trump. First came the revelation that he had fired FBI Director James Comey, partially due to Trump’s concerns with the bureau’s Russiagate investigation. Then came the news that Trump had shared sensitive information with Russia’s foreign minister and ambassador.
“I think it’s terrible,” Trump said about Comey’s firing. “I think it’s a terrible loss for the country.”
In both instances, Trump betrayed a confidence. Specifically, he revealed highly sensitive information with the Russian diplomats, and he fired an FBI director he claimed was no longer performing adequately.
Despite the president’s troubling lack of judgement, his actions are arguably not illegal. But what exactly is an ‘illegal immigrant’?
In a nutshell, an ‘illegal immigrant’ is somebody who enters the country without legal permission. They may or may not be in the country lawfully at the time, but they are in the country without the correct documentation. The term may apply to people who are here legally but overstayed their visas, as well as to those who entered the country without permission in the first place.
The distinction is important. One is a criminal activity and the other is not. But it’s not always easy to figure out who is and who is not an ‘illegal immigrant’ when there is a lack of clarity in the law. This is mostly due to over- or under-enforcement by local authorities, as well as a lack of education about the topic at hand. In most cases, anybody who is in the country without documentation can be considered an ‘illegal immigrant’ – even if they are on a work visa. This is the same for anybody who is in the country overstay: they are essentially here illegally and, in many cases, are not entitled to public assistance because they are not considered citizens.
Here’s the rub: when somebody lies about something as fundamental as their citizenship, it is not a good look. In this case, it’s very likely that Trump has committed an act of perjury. And according to the experts, it could be a very serious offense. Nobody is above the law, including the president. Under the law, a person commits perjury when they give false testimony under oath. In most cases, this is a crime. For example, if Trump answered ‘yes’ to the question ‘are you a citizen of the United States’ and he is not, then he would have committed perjury. A similar scenario would exist if Trump answered ‘no’ to the question and he is in fact a citizen of the United States.
As a practical matter, it is unlikely that the president’s administration will prosecute Trump for perjury. After all, he is the executive branch. Moreover, it is uncertain whether the special counsel Robert Mueller will even pursue the matter. Nevertheless, it is a crime that the president could have committed and it is not a lie that he could have told. This is why it is important that the American people hold him accountable for the truth. Ultimately, it is not up to the president to decide what is or is not a crime. That is a decision for the people and their representatives in the federal government.
Immigration From Country Without Proper Documentation
According to the experts, there are several crimes that Trump may have committed by revealing classified information to the Russians. It is not just a matter of giving false testimony under oath. As already established, it is an act of perjury to give false testimony under oath. But there is more. For example, ‘The Espionage Act of 1917′ makes it a crime for a person to willfully and knowingly convey national defense information to someone not entitled to receive it. Moreover, it is also an offense to publish or communicate such information to anyone not entitled to receive it. Additionally, if a person publishes or supplies such information to a person or organization not entitled to receive it, that is essentially classified information and that person could be charged with a felony. Finally, if a person publishes, supplies, or communicates classified information knowing that it is false, or with reckless disregard for the truth, and the information was related to the national defense, that person could also be charged with a felony.
So, to recap: if there is any evidence that Trump engaged in any of the above-mentioned activities, then he has committed a crime. Moreover, if he did so knowingly, then he could also face up to ten years in prison. And don’t forget about the thousands of dollars in fines that he could potentially owe.
The Legal Immigrants
Now, let’s take a moment to discuss some of the individuals who are, in fact, immigrants but who came to America legally. They are known as ‘legal immigrants’ or ‘documented immigrants’. If you were to ask them, they would tell you that there is nothing ‘illegal’ about their presence in the country. They came for the same reason that you or I would come to the United States: to live the American dream. Some of them even volunteered for the armed forces in order to serve in foreign countries and, upon return, were granted American Citizenship. In most cases, they overstay their visas and, therefore, are in the country illegally. But they are legal. Moreover, since they came to America legally, they are entitled to public assistance. So long as they remain law-abiding, they will not be treated as criminals.
Illegal Immigration Is A Growing Problem
In the eyes of the law, everybody is an ‘illegal immigrant’ – including green card holders and those who are in the country legally but overstay their visas. But what exactly is the definition of ‘illegal immigration’? According to the experts, it is an issue that has been around for a while but that has only increased in prevalence in recent years. Why? The answer is obvious. As previously discussed, it’s not always easy to tell the difference between an ‘illegal immigrant’ and a ‘documented immigrant’ when there is no clarity in the law. This confusion creates the perfect breeding ground for fear and uncertainty. For example, those who are in the country legally but overstay their visas are often afraid to report their addresses to the authorities because they fear they will be targeted for deportation. In some cases, this has led to victims of violence and even death. It’s a vicious cycle that has to be stopped.
At the same time, those who are in the country legally but overstay their visas live in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities. As a result, they often live a hand-to-mouth existence, relying on food stamps and other forms of public assistance to make it through each week. In some cases, this lack of income could potentially lead to homelessness. It is a ticking time bomb that has to be defused before more people get hurt.
Fortunately, there is a solution. In most cases, people who are in the country illegally but overstay their visas can apply for asylum. This is why it is so important that they get in the right shape; otherwise, it could be a long and difficult process. In some cases, it can take several years for the process to be completed and, in other cases, it might not even be granted. But in most cases, it is a viable option that allows them to live a better and more functional life. This alone makes it worth the while.
With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, those who are in the country illegally are finding it harder to get food and medical assistance. In many cases, local authorities are prioritizing documented immigrants over individuals who are in the country illegally. As a result, many of those who are in the country illegally are finding themselves in danger of becoming a permanent underclass. This is a humanitarian crisis that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. It’s a crisis that can be stopped by proper immigration legislation.
To sum up, when the president claims that there are “millions of illegal immigrants” living in America, he is either lying or grossly misinformed. But in either case, it’s a problem that can be easily fixed. As an American citizen, it is your responsibility to speak up and correct the record when somebody is not telling the truth about an issue as important as this. Moreover, as a concerned citizen, it is your duty to do everything in your power to ensure that everybody has access to the healthcare system, regardless of their immigration status. In most cases, those who are in the country illegally can be provided with proper documentation and, with that, they can have access to the courts, public schools, and other government-funded amenities. But until then, it is a moral imperative that we do everything in our power to ensure that nobody is left out in the cold during this time of unprecedented need.