Leave it to the political establishment to create a huge controversy over something that can be resolved with the application of widely accepted principles and a little common sense – and the rule of law.
But first, a little clarification on an economic issue.
Much of the opposition to expansive immigration is the argument that immigrants take jobs away for American citizens. That is not necessarily true. Employed people, even illegal aliens, are both producers and consumers. As consumers, they create new jobs.
Consider this. In the 1860s, the U. S. population was approximately 30 million people. Today it is 330 million people. Where did all the jobs come from? They were created because every new person that was a producer was also a consumer – creating jobs. This, of course, is not true of individuals who come here and are only consumers, including those requiring welfare, government services, healthcare and virtually every other human need.
Historically, adult immigrants to America were required to have a sponsor and a commitment for a job. Migration was based on opportunity, not dependency. The blessings that America offered were in trade for the contributions of the new arrivals would provide. To retain a healthy culture and economy, the emphasis on productivity and contribution is essential.
Among our most basic immigration principles is assimilation. While every new citizen and group of citizens add a bit of their culture to the mix, they tend to evolve into the greater historical culture of America. This is what became known as the melting pot. In assimilating, immigrants are fulfilling the meaning of their pledge of allegiance.
The politically correct left wing community sees America more as a bucket of rocks – a white rock, black rock, brown rock, red rock, yellow rock – always to be maintained under a philosophy of identity politics. Rather than the concept of E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one), the left tends to balkanize the nation into competing tribal groups for purely crass political purposes.
The Democrats general acceptance of illegal entry, even if it brings in a dangerous criminal or terrorist class, is based on a belief that these individuals will be partisan voters and will provide the Party with permanent empowerment in the future. Other than that, there is no rational explanation for the Obama administration’s open borders and legal impediments to prosecution. Without the partisan political perspective, sanctuary cities make no sense at all.
Controlling who comes into this nation as a visitor, student, worker or future citizen is essential to the security and economic health of the nation. Impenetrable borders and effective vetting are essential and should not be controversial among well-intentioned citizens.
Whether it is to experience the American Dream, as so many immigrants so wish, or because individuals bring special assets and talents to the nation, every immigrant should have the desire to embrace the culture. Efforts to impose Sharia Law, for example, are nothing less than an attack on our culture. It has no more place in the judicial system than would Canon Law or Halakha Law.
One of the most amazing controversies regarding immigration is the left’s embracing and legitimizing criminality. Advocates of the left have even pushed back against the efforts to eradicate M-13 – an international gang more dangerous and violent than the Mafia or Murder, Inc.
One of the reasons we have an unhealthy imbalance between producers and consumers among a large percentage of the illegal alien population has been enticement from a range of services and benefits usually associated with citizenship. These include such benefits as education, healthcare, welfare, drivers’ licenses, birthright citizenship for any children born on U.S. soil and even access to the voting booth.
This partisan policy of allowing a free flow of illegals has led to the millions of non-citizens taking up residency in America for generations. Our national policies have not only not restricted illegal entry, they have encouraged it. We need to recognize our own national culpability in this crisis.
It is a unique situation that requires a unique response. There is no need to deport millions of illegal aliens, even if that were possible. In a sense, we need to vet these folks retroactively. My own modest suggestion is that we require all illegal residents to come forward and complete a comprehensive questionnaire under oath. Questions would cover all aspects of the life in America – duration, marriage, children, jobs, taxes paid, criminal offenses and so forth. This would be the doorway to permanent status.
The questions would be rated and those with high scores, attesting to their moral and social standing, would be given permanent status for ten years. After that, they would be eligible for citizenship. Those with mid-range scores would be deported, but eligible to apply for entry by the normal process. The lowest category – those with significant criminal records – would be deported and barred for re-entry or, in some cases, incarcerated and then deported. The vast majority would most certainly fall into the top category.
In short, America has a wonderful culture of freedom and opportunity. We welcome those who wish to embrace that culture and contribute to it. We should reject those who wish to impose an alien culture. We should reject those who see America as a free lunch without an intention to contribute. It should not be controversial or difficult to agree on policies that restore legal immigration and that end policies that place partisan political advantage over the rule of law and the preservation of our American Exceptionalism culture.