A Lifetime Without
The illegal immigrant
movement must be credited for successfully setting the tone in the
debate over our southern border and the influx it permits. It has
brilliantly merged the concept of the rights of so-called
“undocumented workers” with that of the value of immigrants to
America. Somehow, Arizona’s border with Mexico has become comparable
to Ellis Island, and Jose the lawnmower’s skills equivalent to that
of Albert Einstein’s and Madeleine Albright’s.
The activists recently
held a nationwide “Day Without Immigrants.” Interpreted objectively,
this term, for all intents and purposes, is synonymous with a “Day
Without Americans.” The United States has always been a country of
immigrants, and rare is the American who cannot trace his roots back
to a foreign country or a mixture of distant lands.
As such, the majority of
Americans, conservatives and liberals, clearly support the concept
of immigration for this and a variety of other reasons – a vibrant
economy, national security, population growth, multiculturalism,
affection, and so on. The “America is full” crowd is limited, but
nevertheless presents the border jumping activists with the
opportunity to frame the debate as they wish.
There are over 10
million illegal immigrants in the United States, and countless more
pour in every day. This blatant violation of the integrity of the
United States and of its soil is what pro-border security Americans
are protesting, not, as the activists would have us believe,
immigration itself. I would at any time join a demonstration akin to
the “Day Without Immigrants” public relations stunt against those
who oppose both closed borders and closed gates. By the same token,
I would just as eagerly participate in a rally protesting illegal
immigration. Unfortunately, this is not what the self-described
“immigrant rights” activists are aiming for.
Somehow, however, those
taking a stand for illegal behavior have managed to label the rest
of the populace as anti-immigrant. Ironically, no one is hurt more
by illegal immigration than legal immigrants, those standing in long
lines at U.S. embassies around the world and those whose files are
buried under colossal piles of documents in the offices of the
Homeland Security Department’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
My family and I waited
for years before lucking out and getting accepted as legal
immigrants to the United States. After years of worries and doubt,
the process continued even as we lived as hard-working, tax-paying
residents. Obstacles included further uncertainty, long lines, and
an incompetent bureaucracy – it took longer than a decade to acquire
full citizenship status. That said, we were the lucky ones.
A virtually limitless
number of people around the world would do anything to be able to go
through the unpleasant process we endured in order to live in
America. According to a Pew Hispanic Center poll, 46% of Mexicans
would immigrate to the United States if they could, and almost half
of those would do so illegally. It is no secret that illegal
immigrants have little difficulty sneaking through the border and
continuing to live in the United States. What about the other half?
Is the influx of illegals not hurting the number of lawful Mexican
immigrants this country is willing to absorb?
It would have been
fairer, smarter, safer, and more beneficial if instead of allowing
millions of law-breaking individuals to enter the country, we
welcomed additional millions of law-abiding Mexicans through the
gates. The benefits are obvious: we can certainly be more selective
in deciding who we want to come into our country, we can make sure
that drugs, weapons, and criminals are stopped from crossing the
border and we would have records for the people living in our
neighborhoods, just like for the rest of the residents of the
country. The best part is, we would still be allowing the same
number of immigrants to come in, except we would be rewarding
patience and merit, not criminality.
Unfortunately, it will
be impossible to achieve this switch from illegal to legal
immigration with the debate being framed by activist spinsters and
empty rhetoric. Building a wall across the southern border has
nothing to do with opposing immigration – in fact, it would be the
best endorsement for deserving immigrants who are willing to play by
the rules and abide by our laws. What these activists do not
understand is that although America would not be able to survive a
day without true immigrants, it would be blessed if granted a
lifetime without illegals.
© 2006 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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