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Position on Immigration
By Jason F. Smith Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NOTE: I am here in America because my ancestors came over from Germany, Ireland, and France.

ONE - The first point we should accept about the concern over immigration is that this is about us wanting to protect and maintain our way of life. Immigration, new people coming in, of whatever culture, fundamentally scares many people. The reason many people are against all the illegal immigrants is not because they don't want these people to have a better life… it's that they fear their OWN life will be impacted negatively. Some of these fears are valid, and some are not.

TWO - The second point we should understand is that we are a compassionate country. Most immigrants, by FAR, are coming to America for the same reason everyone else comes: To make a better life for themselves here. This is Lady Liberty folks. This is why many of your ancestors crossed the Atlantic from Europe. They come HERE because they want to make a better life for themselves. We welcome those who seek to be free and are willing to risk all. We reach out to these folks. This is the second point.

THREE - The third point is NEED. America has become great not because of its exclusivity. Some people will argue with that. But I don't believe it. I believe it is great BECAUSE it is made up of those people who come here for a better life. These people were STRONG. These people were risk takers. These people were willing to leave all behind for a better life. This is the fabric of American strength. We NEED a continued influx of people who seek the better life, and are willing to risk all to get it. I believe in my heart we NEED a constant influx of immigrants. There is the economic need as well, that immigrants from time immemorial have done some of the hardest work necessary in our country.

FEARS

So what do we really need to do here? We need to balance our legitimate fear and desire to protect our way of life, with our compassion for those who suffer, with our need as a country to grow.

Let's start with #1. The #1 honest real issue about Immigration is fear and how it impacts my life. This is the root stuff, the stuff that you don't hear people really talk about. Here is how it impacts my life for the real or perceived negative.

  1. I don't like that my daughter's school is filled now with non English speaking students, and that her education is possibly getting compromised because of it.

  2. I don't like that most of my fast food restaurants are filled with people who don't speak English, it's annoying and it's hard to understand them just to order a hamburger.

  3. I fear them because they are different. There is a sense they are taking over… and that I'm not safe in my own normal 'habitat' any more.

  4. I fear crime rates are going up.

    These are all minor situations for me, of course, relatively speaking. I understand that in some areas of the USA, with higher immigration rates, there are other concerns such as:

  5. Increased crime

  6. Increased costs in taxes - We all pay increased taxes to treat people in hospitals and to educate immigrant's kids.

  7. Depletion of Jobs

  8. And a real loss of 'culture and way of life'. An English speaking church might become fully Spanish speaking, those making regular church goers left out.

  9. Increased risk of terrorists coming through our border

There are, of course, great benefits to the influx of Hispanic immigrants, but in reality, these things are harder to see.

  1. The fabric of America is growing stronger with the influx of people who risk all to get here to better themselves. But this is hard to see…

  2. The Hispanic culture, it's food, it's way of life, has impacted my life in a great way, and continues to do so. A diverse and new culture brings new ideas and an influx of energy into an old culture. This is hard to see, but a definite benefit.

  3. Cheaper Labor - Immigrants from the beginning of time have always provided fundamental growth by working for cheaper wages. This is a fundamental part of our economy, and provides benefits that I just don't see every day while at the grocery buying stuff.

Again, the fears and negative impacts are often more pronounced. In some areas, this is probably ridiculously imbalanced, with the negatives far outweighing the positives. In some areas, it is more of a perceived imbalanced, since the negative impacts are probably relatively minor.

Let us not forget that growth almost always causes pain. As America grows, we will have to sacrifice some things. This is NOTHING NEW. Consider New York when Irish immigrants had to fight tooth and nail just to survive. And yet they came, risking all. Integrating the Irish into America was painful: there was a lot of fear, prejudice and yes, violence. But today, the Irish American segment of our population has proven itself to be a valuable component of the fabric of America. Just as the wave of Hispanic, Russian, Puerto Rican, and other immigrants will do (and are doing).

So what do we do?

There are around 11 million undocumented workers in America today. So the stats say. Here are the nuts and bolts of a new immigration policy:

  1. We provide a 2 year Amnesty Program. Yes… we even call it Amnesty. (Get over the fear of that word!) It works this way: Through the DMVs of America, all Illegal Immigrants, have 2 years… to become documented. They come in, are fingerprinted, given a real SS#, photographed, and given an ID card. They can obtain driver's license, if they pass the tests like anyone else, and so forth. Furthermore, no fees need to be paid. This is another unwieldy concept, and will just keep poor immigrants from becoming documented. In other words, becoming documented is almost in every way, a benefit to the immigrant worker. The only ones it does not benefit are criminals, and those who possibly are making a lot of money illegally and not paying taxes.

    Why Amnesty? That is a good question. Why 'reward' those who came illegally, while those who used the proper channels had to wait? This is really a no brainer folks:

    • Rounding up 11 million people, 99% of whom are working right now, is NOT a good idea. Not only is it not good, it's not practical.

    • These people didn't come for the wrong reasons, they came to WORK and better their lives, and they came the only way they know how. Well, great, we'll give them Amnesty, but we'll fix the back end so it works this time.

  2. Crime - After 2 years, if you are caught as an illegal, you are sent home. Period. We welcome you, but you need to get documented. That's just too important for our national safety. Further, if as a documented immigrant, you commit certain crimes, such as felonies, you are deported and not allowed to return. Yep, your standards for staying are tougher than citizens.

  3. Citizenship - The path to citizenship for all documented immigrants is normal. Everyone who wants to gets in line. First come first serve. It's ridiculous and unwieldy to suggest the concept where those who were here longer have to wait longer. How do we really think we are going to accurately determine how long someone has been here anyway? And those who have been here longer, have been working longer, so why punish them? The process is the process, you have to go through it normally, and now all documented immigrants can apply for citizenship through normal channels.

  4. Numbers and Quotas - We greatly, and I mean GREATLY, increase the number of immigrants allowed into the USA while removing the absurd and racists quotas that A) Limit the number of people who actually want to come here, and B) Provide easy access for people from nations where hardly anybody wants to come here. (If you are German, it's a piece of cake. If you are Mexian, the line is twenty years long. There are countries where a person would probably die waiting for a visa to enter the U.S. And YES… we need to cap this number at something reasonable. Some people WILL have to be turned away, at least initially. The truth is sad, but we cannot take in the entire world's population right now and help everyone. We would collapse, and the American way of life, including that opportunity for future immigrants, would disappear. The number needs to be increased greatly, and the process needs to be made fair. Once we change our paradigm and see immigrants as they really good and necessary elements of America.

  5. Migrant Worker Status - We also need a law creating a new status: Migrant Worker. Not a permanent resident, you just come here for a season to make money and take them back home.

  6. Increased Border Security - With the documentation of immigrants, the amnesty program for existing immigrants, we can focus on TRUE border security, which means stopping DRUG DEALERS (The TRUE scourge to the American way of life) and TERRORISTS. This will have huge and lasting benefit on the USA.

Copyright © 2008 by Jason F. Smith


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