Immigrants are as American as apple pie. Yet we seemed to have entered a brave new world wherein we’re not as brave as we thought we were.
With some 12 million undocumented immigrants in the country and more finding ways to come across the borders every day, what is the U.S. to do? Is it really possible to send back to their home country a population roughly the size of the state of Ohio?
Some 40% of illegal immigrants came to this country with work, student, or visitor visas. Many of them now have children who are American citizens by virtue of the fact they were born in this country.
Building a wall the entire length of the 2,000 mile U.S./Mexico border is not the answer and smacks of Berlin and the Great Wall, images I don’t want to associate with the United States. Summarily deporting illegals is not the answer. Levering felony charges on people who provide illegal immigrants with humanitarian aid is not what America is about. Posturing by politicians wanting to be re-elected is also not helpful.
America’s “immigration problem” does not lend itself to a quick fix. It will require not a few sound thinkers and some statesmen who can rise above sectional politics and self-interest.
America is a “nation of immigrants.” We’re about freedom, and we don’t want to deny this opportunity to others. But we can and should establish systems of admission and citizenship, expect immigrants to learn English and work for the benefits this country affords, and evidence a loyalty to the ideals America represents. If immigrants take these minimal but important steps they will be both welcome and productive, sharing the American dream.
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2006
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