Illegal immigration in the U.S. has in recent years been the topic of very, very heated debate, one side arguing that the rule of law must be observed while the other argues that the rules should be eased for those who are already here illegally.
And these arguments have continued on in this vein for years, each side becoming more entrenched in its belief. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that when the two groups occasionally meet face-to-face, things get a bit heated.
The latest example comes from Oklahoma where members of Overpasses For America, a group that advocates the impeachment of President Obama, encountered members from Dream Act, a group that advocates more lenient treatment of illegal immigrants, including the thousands of underage immigrants who have swarmed the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months.
“We want our laws obeyed. We want our laws enforced. We want people to come to this country as legal immigrants, not illegal,” one Overpasses demonstrator named Toni told KFOR.com in Oklahoma.
Immigration attorney Melissa Lujan explained Dream Act's position: “Because of changes in laws that have made it so complicated that most people can't legally immigrate to the United States, lots of people have been separated from US citizen spouses and children and they continue to be desperate to get back.”
But then the two groups faced-off and things got heated.
“Go back to Mexico,” an Overpass demonstrator said in a video recorded by a member of Dream Act.
Now, keep in mind that the above video comes from one side of the debate and it doesn't present 100 percent of the situation. Further, it's important to remember that demonstrators from Dream Act approached the Overpasses protesters, so something other than what's on camera may have prompted the unpleasantness of the video.
Basically, apply a healthy level of scrutiny to the video, especially when drawing judgement about the people involved.
“Yesterday we had an incident where they were flying the Mexican flag and we had a gentleman ask them you know if you love Mexico so bad why are you in our country?” Toni said, defending the Overpasses group.
She said that initial contact with the counter-protest was civil enough at first, but then things just got a little out of hand when emotions ran high.
“Come here but do it legally,” Toni said, adding that the group doesn't flat out oppose immigration.
Lujan urged calm as well: “I understand their frustration. They see this at a very visceral level. They finally got a chance to talk face-to-face with the other side. Unfortunately I think they had a lot of pent-up emotion that came out negatively.”
You know, considering how fiery the rhetoric on both sides of the debate has become in recent months, the confrontation in the video is far more civil than we would have expected. Unpleasant in spots, sure, but altogether not entirely barbaric. Who knows? Maybe this is a sign of better things to come.