Immigration, particularly the illegal variety, has been an ever present issue facing this nation for a few decades now. This issue is especially relevant today, as a pivotal vote looms on immigration in the Senate before it passes to the House. One side seeks to protect America’s borders, from both illegal immigrants and enemies of the state. The other side seeks to continue America’s traditional role as the land of opportunity for all the poor and downtrodden in the world. What each side needs to realize, is that the best ways to achieve their goals is to compromise and embrace immigration as well as border security.
The illegal immigration issue is peculiar right from the start, mainly because it does not split America down the standard ideological lines. This is not a red state, blue state issue, not about the left or the right. Conservatives are split between those wanting to protect the border and those desiring a cheap source of labor. Liberals are split between those who believe that immigrants deserve as much of a chance as anyone, and those who see immigrants as further pulling down America’s own poor.
But this issue may just be simpler than we all realize.
Many complain that illegal immigrants are breaking the law by their very presence here… they are illegal immigrants. The debate is then focused on supporting the law or not. But a fundamental question should be asked, is the law just?
It has been estimated that there are some 12 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States right now. Amnesty was already granted to another dozen or so million during the 1980s. Obviously millions of people still see the United States as the land of opportunity. Is this not what we want?
Why do we want to keep these people out? If it is blind racism, then so be it. Acknowledge it and move on. But if we are truly a free and tolerant society then we should embrace others who want to share our nation.
Do not worry that they will not assimilate. The history of this nation has shown time and again that immigrants will come and eventually melt right into American society, sharing some of their culture and making us a little better in the process. In fact, welcoming immigrants will help them assimilate, help them learn our language and culture far faster than if we turned our backs on them and forced them to live in the underground of society.
If we want to institute English as the national language, then do it. Most immigrants will be glad to learn English to gain the opportunity that awaits in America.
We’d also be surprised just how much like us most of the immigrants are. Since most come from Latin America, we’ll find them to be god-fearing, family-oriented, hard working people. These are supposedly some of the values that our society values most. They are just like us.
If you are not yet convinced that our current laws are unjust, ask yourself then if the laws are practical? In the past three decades or so we have had around thirty million immigrants enter, or stay past their visas, illegally. Is the law working? Some may say that it is simply because we are not enforcing the law. Ask yourself just how much resources would be needed to properly protect the border from millions of people attempting enter? Do we not have better uses? Our current immigration laws are not practical.
However, this is not to say that border security is not important. We are at war. There are many out there that hate America, whether it is because they hate our freedom or because they hate our support of Israel and heavy handed foreign policy. Regardless or reason, there are those that want to do us harm. It is important to protect our borders.
There are also the common criminals that we need to guard against, the smuggles, the drug runners, the slavers. And there are those that we do not allow to immigrate for good reasons, like a criminal past.
Would it not be far easier to protect our borders against these enemies and criminals if we did not also need to protect our borders against millions of otherwise harmless immigrants? It is hard to pick out the signal of terrorists and drug smugglers amongst the noise of millions of people just seeking a better life.
So build the fence, and increase the border security. Electrify it if we must. But you’ll still find that the best way to ensure a safe and secure border is to provide a legal means of entry into this nation. Border guards will be able to act with swifter force and greater determination if they know that a would be trespasser was really up to no good, rather than just trying to provide a better life for their family. The most practical method to protect our borders is to embrace immigration with open arms.