Protesters take part in a No Ban, No Wall rally to support the rights of immigrants and oppose a border wall on the steps of the Texas Capitol, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The temptation to blame is high. If there’s a problem with the car, you blame the last mechanic that looked at it. A problem with a restaurant meal, blame the waiter who brought it over.

We’re currently in a combination of blame and denial when it comes to immigration. Look at social media, read publications, and you may see one of two things. One is that Donald Trump is going to fix immigration. The other is that he is destroying the system and lives.

The pattern isn’t unusual. You could have found the same types of arguments, with sides swapping opinions, when Barack Obama was in office. Immigrants were pouring over the boarders from Mexico and there were too many refugees being allowed in, as well as praise for an "enlightened" approach that, for example, allowed immigrants who had been brought up without permission when they were children to remain and pursue a life.

Make that pursue a life without any certainty of what would happen, with permission granted by a president who set records for levels of deportation. The problem with immigration does not belong to Obama or Trump or Republicans or Democrats. The issues we face belong to the entire country because we have enabled a system that averted its eyes while claiming its intent to enforce laws that have been ill-thought out. Further, the entire mess ties in with income inequality and the country’s long history of racism and class disparagement.

The movement of non-citizens without official permission to enter and stay has slowed over the years, but it still occurs. There were about 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center. Approximately 8 million made up 5 percent of all people in the country either working or unemployed but looking to work. Two-thirds of the unauthorized adults have been in the country for at least a decade.

A country has a right to maintain its borders and decide who is allowed to enter. A country — particularly one that so often claimed as a nation born of Christian values — has a moral obligation to help refugees, who often are homeless either directly or indirectly because of decisions made and actions taken by the United States throughout the world.

This is a nation of immigrants, unless you count Native Americans who represent a nation of invaded, overpowered, and mistreated people. You might think the vast majority of citizens might have more understanding of the allure of a new beginning and recognition that most of us came from people who were foreign travelers. However, many don’t because we are also a selfish and provincial people. A people who have made ill use of unauthorized immigrants.

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Protesters take part in a No Ban, No Wall rally to support the rights of immigrants and oppose a border wall on the steps of the Texas Capitol, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The temptation to blame is high. If there’s a problem with the car, you blame the last mechanic that looked at it. A problem with a restaurant meal, blame the waiter who brought it over.

We’re currently in a combination of blame and denial when it comes to immigration. Look at social media, read publications, and you may see one of two things. One is that Donald Trump is going to fix immigration. The other is that he is destroying the system and lives.

The pattern isn’t unusual. You could have found the same types of arguments, with sides swapping opinions, when Barack Obama was in office. Immigrants were pouring over the boarders from Mexico and there were too many refugees being allowed in, as well as praise for an "enlightened" approach that, for example, allowed immigrants who had been brought up without permission when they were children to remain and pursue a life.

Make that pursue a life without any certainty of what would happen, with permission granted by a president who set records for levels of deportation. The problem with immigration does not belong to Obama or Trump or Republicans or Democrats. The issues we face belong to the entire country because we have enabled a system that averted its eyes while claiming its intent to enforce laws that have been ill-thought out. Further, the entire mess ties in with income inequality and the country’s long history of racism and class disparagement.

The movement of non-citizens without official permission to enter and stay has slowed over the years, but it still occurs. There were about 11.1 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center. Approximately 8 million made up 5 percent of all people in the country either working or unemployed but looking to work. Two-thirds of the unauthorized adults have been in the country for at least a decade.

A country has a right to maintain its borders and decide who is allowed to enter. A country — particularly one that so often claimed as a nation born of Christian values — has a moral obligation to help refugees, who often are homeless either directly or indirectly because of decisions made and actions taken by the United States throughout the world.

This is a nation of immigrants, unless you count Native Americans who represent a nation of invaded, overpowered, and mistreated people. You might think the vast majority of citizens might have more understanding of the allure of a new beginning and recognition that most of us came from people who were foreign travelers. However, many don’t because we are also a selfish and provincial people. A people who have made ill use of unauthorized immigrants.

There is a reason for unauthorized immigration, a supply problem. We are happy to have the cheap labor that underwrites lower costs on farm products, where 40 percent of price is labor. We love relatively inexpensive help for cleaning, healthcare, construction, and many other jobs that Americans often find of no interest.

For years, under Democrats and Republicans, we have taken an attitude of benign neglect. People came over and worked and for that we were grateful. However, we weren’t grateful enough to decide how to handle the question of citizenship. The last time we looked at amnesty and a way for people to gain permanent resident status was in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan.

Without a path to citizenship, or at least legal residency, unauthorized immigrants live as a separate category of person in this country. They cannot vote. Any with false papers have to pay taxes. They cannot easily object to mistreatment in housing or on the job because they could be deported, and those who are willing to take conscious advantage use the threat to their advantage. The state of being unauthorized means immigrants will more likely be confronted with lower pay and less hospitable working conditions. The country has built a mechanism for enforcing and expanding income inequality.

Many who decry the actions that Trump and his followers want are being hypocritical because they have supported and continue to support a dual class of existence. At least the people who have complained all along about illegal immigration have had some degree of consistency, even if their reasoning sometimes was faulty.

The expulsion machine is warming up to embrace a broader set of targets. But that ignores the many economic reasons why the country depends on unauthorized immigrants. Those who push for arrest and deportation ignore that the process will likely break up families and tear people out of the circumstances in which they have lived for many years.

Neither side has clean hands. Both have acted recklessly and cruelly. If the status quo is to end, all must admit their passive and active participation in a system that neatly demote people to sub-citizen status while making use of their blood, sweat, and tars. Until then, the commotion is just a way to avoid looking in the mirror of our actions.

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