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July 31, 2014

Immigration, Yet Again

Patricia A. Kelly

As you might have noticed, from reading past columns, the subject of immigration and the immigration battles ongoing in our country for decades, at lease, hold strong interest for me.


My ancestors were immigrants, as those of other Caucasian Americans. Back in the time of the founding of this country, and for the hundred years or so of occupancy prior to then, all Caucasian/European residents of this land were immigrants.


Immigration provided an opportunity for people suffering in Europe to develop a free and powerful country here and find the religious freedom and the personal opportunity they were seeking.


These immigrants, above all, came legally. Our government checked them upon entry, and controlled who came.


Most immigrants were forced to run a gauntlet of discrimination before being accepted into American society. They were required to make their own way, working first at menial, low paying jobs until they were able to integrate into society here.


A huge battle on this subject continues, a battle filled with irrelevant, but moving personal stories, while the true issues never reach public consciousness.


There is no intention here to minimize the importance of either individual suffering or heroism, just to clarify that these stories are not at the heart of the argument.


If it were suggested that we in the United States invite every hungry or suffering person in the world to come here without notice and be fed and housed, could we agree to that without compromising our country?


We are a wealthy, humanitarian society. We want others, those around the world being abused and starved, undereducated, and living in 18th Century conditions, to have better lives.


I can’t say the same for our government, because, if you look into it, you’ll find the poor across the world don’t get our foreign aid money. Their governments do, in exchange for little agreements, like refraining from fighting Israel, or to allow a military base on their land, etc. This is the same government that won’t stand up for the safety and security of its own borders and its own people, the same government that doesn’t mind using tax money to pay for unnecessary services for illegal residents, without even questioning their right to be here.


When one complains, one is accused, even by such as our local newspaper, of equating innocent children with terrorists.


It’s not that, and every honest person knows it.


Those people, who pretend to care so much about the poor, don’t even care about the wellbeing and security of their own neighbors, those being taxed and left unprotected in the name of false humanity?


It is appropriate for a country to regulate admission, to insist on official use of one language, to require legal admission before use of free services.


Anyone could come across our southern border right now, from a Middle Eastern jihadist loaded with bombs, to a drug dealer, rapist, murderer, violent gang member, or someone who would allow a truckload of people to die from heat exhaustion in the back of his truck.


It is unconscionable for American citizen to be left so exposed.


Why is it so hard to see this? We all agree that there should be stop signs at corners to protect people. Where did we get the idea that we shouldn’t ask people whether they are legal residents, or that we should provide free translation?


America is built upon immigration. We allow 675,000 new permanent residents into our country each year plus more in cases of special circumstances. That’s more than one fourth of the number born here each year. That’s a lot of people. I’m glad they come.


What we need is for our leaders to take a stand against illegal entry and to reform legal immigration. Our entry requirements should be fair and should favor people who can contribute, who want to become real Americans. How can we even think of creating two or more separate societies within our country by encouraging use of multiple languages, and even paying for translation for those who choose not to learn English?


For people to accuse those of us who want reasonable border security and legal immigration along with Americanization of immigrants, of being inhumane is just wrong. Why don’t those Americans show the same humanity to our citizens and legal residents that they demand we show illegal entrants?


Why doesn’t our leadership have the courage to address the real questions on this nation-changing subject?


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