My Position on Immigration and Border Control
Criminals should be put in jail – not used as stereotypes to bolster hateful political propaganda, or to develop new immigration policy. Immigrants to the U.S. who commit crimes are small in number when compared to the millions of immigrants who have blessed our country. Indeed, a recent study by The Sentencing Project found that “foreign-born residents of the United States commit crime less often than native-born citizens.”
We already have guidelines in place for deporting unauthorized immigrants that places the highest priority on real criminals, including gang members, convicts and those who pose security threats. We have local police and national agencies that can seek them out and separate them from law-abiding society. In spite of what we hear, nothing is new, the laws are in place, and they are working.
Yet under the Trump administration we are made to fear immigrants as a threat to our way of life. Immigration agents can pick up and remove anyone charged with, or convicted of any criminal offense, even minor ones, as well as anyone without documentation. People who have lived in this country for years, but have not secured their papers, are subject to deportation. Even a traffic violation can result in deportation. The result of these actions is to drive many undocumented people underground only to be exploited by gangs and ruthless employers. This is not our country. No good family should have to hide from the authorities and live in fear.
Terrorists are ideological criminals, and are not a reflection of all the people of any nation or religion. While the acts they commit are brutal, terrorists are actually few in number, and must not be the rational to ban all people from certain nations on the basis of their religion. An immigration policy can never ban an entire group of people from entering the United States on the basis of religion. Again, there are national and international agencies that deal with terrorism. Have we forgotten that our country was founded by many people who left other countries because they were persecuted?
Children (Dreamers) who have come to the U.S. at a young age, not on their own volition, and who have attended schools here should become citizens without haste. It is unconscionable to send them back to a country that is completely foreign to them. Additionally, parents and siblings should not be separated. It is obvious to me that children brought here from another country, attending school, and living with their family for many years cannot be considered illegal. And the parents who supported those children, more often than not, were good, hard-working people. They too should not be sent back to their country of origin.
Refugees are special immigrants. All countries, including the United States, are morally responsible to help these people who, through no fault of their own, are forced into horrible situations that mean life or death to them and their loved ones. When wars are declared, justified or not, and governments are destabilized, people suffer. We must grant asylum for those who come to us, and help create safe zones in conflict areas for those who cannot leave. We must allow these people to enter our country, and we must assist other countries who take them into their boarders. To do otherwise is a crime against humanity.
Border control, however, is needed because many trade agreements do not include equality for labor on both sides of the boarder, because wars force innocent people to flee their homes and seek the safety of our country, because we exploit the illegal labor, thereby, creating the demand. Sadly, we need border control.
To that end, and unfortunately, some border barriers and fences (although none are impregnable no matter how high), use of electronic surveillance, checkpoints and agencies charged with controlling our boarders, and quotas to vet who is allowed to coming in legally, are all needed. Out of necessity we need to make barriers, but we must never forget that we are a country of immigrants. Let us not forget the words dedicated to our Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”