Immigration Built This Country

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Published on: 2006.05.01

(My apologies for not posting here in a while. I’ll try to be better about that in the future.)

Hey, I don’t want to jump into an anthill of debate here, about immigration, but let’s just set out a few things that we can (probably) all agree on:

1. Nearly every person in the United States today is the descendant of immigrants, some of them legal, and some otherwise.
Exceptions would be full-blooded Native Americans, or those who can prove that every line of their ancestry goes back to before nationhood (you’re not immigrating if you move to a non-country.)

2. This is an issue that’s been building for far too long.
The country has had an immigration “problem” for longer than any of us have been alive. There have always been two sides to the coin: (a) those who think we should shut down the borders, and (b) those who think we should let everyone in. But it never became a prominent issue until we began trying to “fix” the problem.

3. The “solutions” being offered now won’t work.
The bills being pushed by different sets of politicians aren’t quite the answer, and I think we all know it.

Part of the problem is that so few of us understand the full scope of the problem. I’m one of them. Very few of us here in the United States actually know what the current laws are, much less what the possible future laws are that are being discussed in Washington, D.C. We don’t know how many illegal immigrants are in the country. We don’t know exactly what each of them wants, other than a job and a livelihood, like anybody else.

And another part of the problem, in my opinion, is that the laws we already have have either been ignored or let slide for a long time. It’s the same with gun control, and other issues. We’ve passed dozens, even hundreds, of laws in the past, but haven’t enforced them, or fixed the loopholes. The solution is NOT to pass more laws.

Part of the problem is latent racism in our society, but I doubt that’s the major issue here. At least it’s not for the people I know. I don’t hear people talking about the issue in terms of race. I hear people talking about the issue in terms of jobs. With more and more major American manufacturers moving production jobs and factories overseas, and more people arriving in our nation daily, some people fear that there just won’t be enough jobs to go around.

“Outsourcing” has become a major, but oft-ignored, problem in the American economy, and it’s easy to envision a future in which the only jobs left in America are the ones that can’t be moved. At the same time, many companies that are staying in our company are hiring illegal immigrants.

So, the people who were born here are growing nervous, wondering if there will be jobs left for their children. And the immigrants are wondering whether we’re going to kick them out. My point is, everyone has a real concern in this debate. Each side’s point is valid, so to speak.

But no thinking person can honestly believe that America’s problems would be solved, or even helped, by kicking out every single illegal immigrant. There are too many of them, holding down too many jobs right now. On the other hand, it doesn’t make sense to encourage people to break the law.

This is why I say that TWO things have to be done, at the same time. One, assure everyone that’s here now, who’s actually a productive member of society, that they can stay. Make up the paperwork for them, and get it done. Make it clean and legal. Then, toughen up the border standards. What?! Can I honestly be saying that? Some will think I’m insane.

On the contrary. We’ve got to consider the future. Again, I’m not talking about race, or nationality. I’m talking about the economy and national security. How many other nations in the world allow millions of people to be inside their borders illegally? Think about it. Do the research. The answer is: not very many. If you sneak into France, or Spain, or Britain, or Russia, or any other country you can name, and they find out about it, they’ll kick you out. That’s the way it is in our modern world.

To protect the United States, it makes sense to have a set border policy that’s followed. It makes sense to limit the amount of people who can come in. The economy can only handle so many new additions per year.

But there should be a way to do all of this without labeling, name-calling, using useless semantics and so on. Let’s just figure out what the problem is, and think about how to solve it.

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