There has been a great deal of discussion centering around the massive influx of illegal immigrants into these United States the last several years. Interestingly, from my perspective most Americans are fiercely divided into one of two very weak positions.
The “liberal” position argues in favor of full amnesty and takes no issue whatsoever with the massive inflow illegal immigrants. They argue that these United States have always been made up of immigrants, which in fact we have from our earliest origin. Some even go so far as to argue that the early Europeans themselves were illegal immigrants who came over and took by force land that belonged to the American Indian tribes that had previously lived here.
Perhaps some other time I will address the fact many of the initial acts of violence against them were the result of either the stupidity of the early Virginia colonists or of power lust in the British government and of how our Constitution originally put protections in place for the American tribes to be treated respectably as foreign nations, protections which were ultimately violated by Andrew Jackson against the ruling of the Supreme Court. For today lets just admit that our ancestors dealt unjustly with them and learn from their mistake. The real fatal flaw in this argument isn’t in the details of what happened at that time, it is the ultimate issue behind it. Nations have been overrunning and taking over weaker nations throughout all of written history, this in no way implies that those being overrun should stand by and allow it.
Now I’m not trying to imply that all the illegals coming over our boarder are trying to take over the nation, although I suppose the drug dealers would love the opportunity; I am just trying to demonstrate the problem with using the colonization of the America’s as an example. The real problem with unfettered illegal immigration is that it is simultaneously bad for America and bad for those who come here illegally. I’ll go into this more heavily when I propose my solution to this issue, so for now let me sum up:
Unfettered illegal immigration distracts us from repairing these United State’s very broken legal immigration system. Instead of working to insure an immigration policy that makes it attractive and easy for the world’s best and brightest to become part of our society we are keeping them out while allowing in a massive influx of undereducated day laborers.
With no boarder protection we are allowing the drug gangs, and according to some reports terrorist organizations, to cross our boarder as they please with no resistance.
Refusing to act on illegal immigration has created a massive human trafficking problem. Innocent people who think they are just hitching a ride to a better life in America are being used and abused by the drug lords and traffickers who bring them across the boarder.
Our inaction has created the most exploitable workforce since slavery. Since being here is illegal for them in the first place, these workers have no legal ability to fight against the abuses they face from corporate employers, most notably the big ag companies. What’s more these employers can use the illegal status of an employee to keep them in line regardless of how poor the working conditions may be.
Don’t be fooled, though. The conservative position that we must deport all of these immigrants, and which sometimes sounds anti-immigrant, isn’t any better. The general idea behind this argument is that we are being “taken over” by foreigners who are taking jobs away from Americans. What’s more there is a great deal of criticism that they don’t speak English and are not integrating well into our society. This mindset also brings with it a whole host of problems and falsehoods:
America has always been a nation of immigrants, and generally the first generation of immigrants always have to adapt to the culture and language of the United States. If you want the latino immigrants to improve their English, you should be encouraging an end to their illegal status. Otherwise they are going to continue to feel and act like vagabonds in our society.
Many of the jobs that are being taken by illegals really are jobs that most American’s wouldn’t take. The big ag jobs are jobs that require a labor force of near slaves, which can only be obtained by fear and manipulation. As for the jobs they’ve taken in the construction industry and trades, talk to anyone high up in that line of work and they’ll tell you they can’t find good people. For years now we’ve had a situation where anyone who came to work on time every day and drug free was automatically one the best employees. As a result there has been strong demand for skilled laborers willing to do the job, and the latino population has taken this opportunity.
Immigration, when handled well, is good for America! With the host of problems we are facing as a nation today, we could use a fresh influx of ideas and talent.
In reality, the American immigration system is a disaster and in need of total overhaul. Allowing a continued influx of illegal migrant workers won’t help, deporting all of those same migrant workers won’t help either. If you want to help solve this crisis, propose helpful change; but let’s just be honest here this is probably a fight we are a long way from being able to win. If you want to really see positive immigration reform then we are going to have to start electing third, fourth, fifth, etc. party candidates. The left-right paradigm is a sham designed to keep you fluctuating between to illogical, and often unattainable positions. Therefore if you want to actually see any of the following suggestions implemented, I suggest you stop electing Republican or Democrat.
How I believe this situation should be handled:
Close the boarders. As I said above, the problem with all of the illegal traffic across our boarders is not the importation of day laborers, its drug lords and potential terrorists coming in unmolested that should serve as the strongest motivation to get a handle of our boarders.
End the war on drugs. Begin a process of legalizing and regulating the drug trade and the most dangerous illegal immigrants will lose much of their motivation for coming across our boarder.
Demolish the Federal and State welfare systems and replace them with resilient, self reliant communities. Free access to our nation’s welfare system has been a large part of the draw for those crossing our boarder illegally. Knowing for example that just across the boarder is free access to high quality medical care and better education for your children is a big draw. While it would be nice for the United States to provide medical care and education for the whole world, it is simply not possible. Instead a network of non-profits needs to be focusing on how to teach Mexico to take care of herself.
De-industrialize agriculture. This is an area where you can definitely do something now. The initial and ongoing importation of illegal immigrants has been done with some level of intentionality by our nation’s industrial agriculture complex. When you patronize local, family run establishments you not only help the environment and eat better food, you are also contributing to put an end to our immigration policy. For more on this see the movie, Food Inc.
Come up with a path to legal status for those illegals immigrants with no criminal background. To be honest, this has to be done in order to end this situation; but under no circumstance should someone who came into the United States illegally be allowed to vote. If they are, then their votes will be like many of the inner city votes that are bought with welfare, and the government will be incentivized to do things that will harm them in the long term to win a few votes.
Encourage highly educated foreign nationals, especially those attending American universities, to immigrate. As I said, we need immigrants; but rather than allowing near slave labor to take place at the hands of our nations agriculture industry, we need to be bringing in highly educated, and motivated individuals with bright new ideas for the issues we are facing today as a country. Currently, immigration to the United States is an absolute nightmare, regardless of the background of those migrating. This process needs to be stopped, currently we are rewarding those who break the rules; instead we need to be focused on coming up with more common sense rules.
That pretty much sums up the only way out that I see to fix this problem. It will require a balanced approach that recognizes the more fundamental issues at play, but together there is an answer to the illegal immigration issue. In closing let me say this, illegal immigration may be a hot button topic politically right now; it really shouldn’t be. While I agree we need to do something, this is hardly the greatest issue we are facing as a nation today. More focus needs to be placed on the overreaching of our Federal, State, and local governments, on our pending economic collapse, on the total moral failure of our society, and on the ecological forces that pushes us closer to famine each day. Make sure you have your priorities straight.