So there’s still much talk about the “immigration problem” we have in this country.  To be clear, some people think this problem is that there are too many illegal immigrants in the USA.  Some proposed solutions to this “problem” is to increase patrols to deport them back to where they came from, to build a fence, or to stop people on the street and demand their “papers.”

Now there are many angles from which I can address these solutions.  I can argue that trying to populate a 1,933-mile long border with enough guards is a ludicrous idea.  I could point out that building a wall (er, fence) or asking for papers has horrible historical roots in the Soviet Union (Berlin) or Nazi Germany (the SS Gestapo).  Or that the fence isn’t cost effective nor is it necessarily effective in actually keeping people from climbing it.

I could point out that all of these solutions seek to expel or prevent entry rather than welcome or assimilate new citizens into the country.  This is where I see the real disconnect.  Never mind that very few of us don’t have immigrants somewhere in our ancestral lineage (legal or not).  (A great quote from The Forever War comes to mind: “But they weren’t aliens, I had to remind myself–we were.”).  Never mind that many employers love hiring “illegals” because they can pay them less (or not at all) for jobs that “real Americans” won’t “stoop” to doing anyway.

Let’s look at this from purely practical points of view.  First, we have this budget issue going on right now (and probably for a long time). Wouldn’t it be great if we had some untapped source of revenue with which we could infuse our treasury?  Like an 11 million-bodied potential workforce.  Where could we find something like that?  (To be fair, even undocumented immigrants are already paying into our system without reaping the benefits; but if they were able to fully participate, I’d imagine that overall the US federal government would bring in more revenue and adhere to its self-proclaimed moral standards).

Secondly, world-wide birth rates are decreasing.  This, coupled with a longer-lived populace will result in fewer workers to support those who are retired.  The very people we’re trying to keep out or expel might very well become the next hottest commodity able to negotiate higher benefits to come work in a host country.  Why not work toward strengthening that relationship now, rather than striving to exclude people?

In any case, the United States used to be a beacon of hope and welcoming for those who, through an accident of circumstance, were not born in this country.  Now it seems some self-entitled and short-sighted “citizens” want to put out the “No Vacancy” sign which, in the long run, will be to the detriment of us all.  Instead, let’s find a way to bring these immigrants who desire to work for a better future for themselves and their families into the fold with all legal duties and benefits afforded to those of us with the fortune of having been born here naturally.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”