Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Dream and Immigration Revisited

Often when one takes a position that is unpopular, they are accused of being insensitive, or intolerant. Martin Luther King had a dream and I too share his vision of the future. My stance on illegal immigration is well-known to regular readers of my site. Of late I have been accused of outright racism in regards to my position on illegal immigration. Let me lay out some background for you. My wife is Hispanic so my children are 50% Hispanic. I live in Arizona which has become ground zero for illegal immigration. Let that sink in a second for those riding the short bus.

Dr. King spoke of a dream that his children would be judged on the quality of their character and not the color of their skin. I share this dream with that great man. If nothing is done to combat the rampant illegal immigration that plagues this portion of the country, it is conceivable that due to a backlash against illegal immigration, my children will face the same racism that honest, law-abiding, legal immigrates do now.

There are many people of all races and colors that come to this country in the hope of creating a better life. They follow the rules and in many cases, can wait up to years to immigrate to this country. These are the people who we can count on to become productive, law-abiding citizens. Now many will argue that the people who immigrate illegally fit the same category, I beg to differ. Regardless of the reasons for illegal immigration, it is still breaking the law and should not be tolerated. That may seem like a hard line but consider this.

A great deal of illegal immigration is not due to honest people looking to provide for their family, it is due to drug smuggling, human smuggling, and all other sorts of illegal activity. Another fact to think upon is that with the flood of illegal immigration provides excellent cover for terrorists to enter this country undetected. The security of this great country goes hand-in-hand with our immigration polices and until the connection is made by the powers that be in Washington, we are still at great risk for attacks on our soil.

Ronald Reagan spoke of a great shinning city on the hill, and for most who aspire to come to America that is the dream. They come to create a better life for their family and be judged by their character, these are the people that should be rewarded with legal immigration. There is little doubt on both sides of the aisle that immigration needs to be reformed.

This reform needs to take in to account the fact that many of the illegal immigrates have been here for many years and have established roots. Here are a few suggestions from yours truly.

1) Streamline the paperwork to come here legally, reduce the incentive to illegally immigrate. Reward those that follow the rules.
2) Educate potential immigrates on the advantages of legal immigration and ultimately citizenship.
3) Work with local law enforcement to enforce the laws on the books and stop the “catch and release” policy currently in place.
4) Increase federal funding to support new and recent immigrates; don’t leave the burden to the states alone.
5) Educate the American people on the truths of immigration, thus reducing the stigma associated with it. Remember we all came from another country at some point.
6) Pass stiffer penalties for Americans who participate in the business of human smuggling.

Our government needs to respond now before the situation gets out of control. I don’t want my children judged by their darker skin nor the hundreds of thousands of legal immigrates and it be assumed that they are just another illegal. Yes, maybe it’s not so bad now and I don’t have anything to worry about, but if nothing is done to stem the tide, there will be a backlash. People on both sides need to take a step back and recognize that a majority of these illegal immigrates mean us no ill will; they are just breaking the law in pursuit of the American dream.

The real crime in all of this is the look-the-other-way attitude of both the US and Mexican government as well as businesses in this country. Now before you accuse me of going “left”, think about this. The sole purpose of the US government is to secure this nation. By failing to do this, by allowing businesses to skirt immigration laws, and by lack of action encouraging the Mexican to tell its citizens, “go north”, the government is putting us all at risk. I am firmly in the camp of the less government the better, but I think in this case, government control of our borders is a much better option then roving bands of armed citizens riding the border.

Hispanics are now the largest minority in this country; are we taking a step back in civil rights by telling them that their not welcome here in America? If no immigration reform is pursued, I am afraid they will not make it to the “shinning city on the hill” to live out Dr. King’s dream.

Cross-posted at The Wide Awakes

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