McCULLOUGH: Follow our laws if you want to live here

This is how preposterous the illegal immigration issue has gotten: Mexico and a host of other Latin American countries joined a lawsuit Thursday trying to prevent Georgia’s House Bill 87 from taking effect.

I can’t tell you what I said when I heard that, this being a family newspaper and all, but suffice it to say it was not nice.

The arrogance of the illegal population in this country has grown to staggering proportions. Those of us who see illegal immigration for the very black and white issue that it is — you’re either here legally or you are not — are already sick of watching criminals protest our laws. But the very idea that a foreign country would sue an American state in an attempt to dissuade it from enforcing its own laws and protecting its own borders is beyond gall and beyond insult.

HB 87 is aimed at stopping the inflow of illegal immigrants to our state. Since the federal government has refused to make any significant attempt to protect our sovereignty, states such as Arizona and now Georgia are taking the steps themselves. We still have the 10th Amendment and states’ rights, after all.

But Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru apparently don’t like that. They’re afraid this will have an adverse effect on their “citizens.” In its legal brief, Mexico said: ‘‘Mexico respectfully submits that, if HB 87 is allowed to take effect, it will have a significant and long-lasting adverse impact on U.S.-Mexico bilateral relations, and on Mexican citizens and other people of Latin American descent present in Georgia.’’

Let me translate that for you. Mexico is afraid that if we make it harder to come here then more of their citizens will stay there, where Mexico will have to pay to take care of them. Mexico will have to pay for health care, education and government services instead of American taxpayers. Mexico would rather us foot the bill while their citizens send home gobs of cash to help the Mexican economy.

Mexico, of course, also played the race card, because it’s easier to use the perception of bigotry as misdirection than to talk about the facts. Mexico said our law would encourage “an imminent threat of state-sanctioned bias or discrimination.”

Absolutely. We are very biased — against criminals. We don’t care one whit about your color or the language you speak. Many of us actually enjoy Latino culture and are thankful for what it adds to the melting pot.

What we don’t like, and what this has been about from day one, is the fact that the illegal immigrants apparently see a world where borders and sovereignty and laws don’t exist. They see no difference between being born here and walking or swimming here.

But we do. We are a sovereign nation governed by laws. We are also the land of opportunity and open to anyone who follows those laws. The rule of law is part of what makes this the land of opportunity. Our laws level the playing field. When you don’t follow the law, you don’t get to play. That’s how it’s supposed to work here.

If you want to see what happens when the rule of law breaks down, look at Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. It’s a place run by drug lords who spray birthday parties with machine-gun bullets and leave headless bodies on the side of the road.

Most of us are not so naive or xenophobic as to think that all Mexicans or Latinos act that way. We know most don’t, which is why we can not understand why immigrants can’t do the one simple thing we ask, which is to follow our laws.

Come here legally and enjoy the fruits of liberty. Flaunt the law and we’ll continue to attempt to thwart you.

It’s really that simple. And it’s our right to do so.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.