America is a nation of immigrants. Most of us have grown up with this cliché but have spent less time than we should have to understand what it means. The expansion and prosperity of the United States was built on the importation of African slaves and the migration of sometimes destitute people from around the world. From the impoverished provinces of China to the depressed countryside of Ireland to the dense urban areas of Germany and Italy, people fleeing starvation, war, and oppression have come to America to keep themselves and their loved one alive and to seek a better life. It is necessary to understand this history in order to take a balanced, rational, and compassionate view of the current crisis at the border.
It does no good to call America a nation of laws if the laws in question are not viewed and assessed comprehensively. It is illegal for any non-U.S. Citizen to enter the country without authorization. No sane person would dispute that. However, everyone, regardless of nationality, has the right to present themselves to the border control authorities and request asylum. The latter is now being done on a massive scale and has created the current crisis at the border.
What to do with the thousands of asylum seekers at the southern border? How should they be processed and detained? How can people who are legitimately fleeing war, persecution, or extreme poverty be distinguished from those who are part of some criminal enterprise? These are important questions to be asked and debated. Reaching a sound and solid solution requires calm and honest minds.
Unfortunately, this kind of debate is poisoned before it can even grow. Other subjects and matters are brought into the Illegal Immigration Debate in America to inflame passions and stop people from thinking rationally. An example of this was on display during the Democratic presidential debates. The candidates were asked to raise their hands if they were for insuring undocumented persons. Nearly all did so, and this was interpreted as them being for lawlessness and open borders. But a moment’s reflection leads to a different conclusion.
Undocumented workers follow the practice of uninsured American citizens—that is, they show up at the emergency room when they need treatment and get it, as doctors are forbidden to refuse emergency care to those who need it, no matter their immigration status. In other words, the problem of affordable health care does not bear on the border crisis, but the border crisis does bear on the cost of health care. Again, it is the border crisis that must be fixed.
No one should be taken in by easy solutions, partisan finger pointing, or demagoguery from the left or the right. Immigration is a highly complex issue, and Americans should demand that their elected officials stop using it to get elected and start working together to come up with workable solutions. Warning a Catastrophic Event is on The Horizon. Chaos in America builds on the border crisis. We cannot go on as we have. We need to get serious about this issue. It is time for smart, sensible, and realistic solutions.
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