There are at least two members of my fairly close family who have either become naturalized U. S. citizens, or are on the way through that process. One of them is my former wife (mother to my two oldest children), who was born in Korea. Another is married to my oldest brother, and is from the United Kingdom.
There may be one more, I’m just not sure she’s on the path to naturalization, so until I know, I’ll leave her out of this discussion.
As such, it could be argued that I have somewhat of a vested interest in the process of people immigrating, and ultimately becoming residents, or citizens, of the United States.
Based on my experience, it’s pretty clear to me, that the system as it currently stands is badly broken.
The problem? Without major work being done in other realms, I don’t see it being fixed.
There are a couple of processes through which people come to live in the country, by such means that they’re not in any way, held accountable for being here.
The first of these, is crossing borders into the nation illegally. This issue—I think most folks are willing to admit—occurs primarily on the southern border, which sadly to this point, is massively porous.
This particular problem has a variety of horrible issues all its own that tend to make it of significant importance that it be solved, inasmuch as we’re able to create a solution.
Between young women being raped, people being killed or dying of various causes on their way here, and human trafficking, we can easily come up with enough reasons to work to make the practice of illegal border crossings as much a relic of history as possible. The sad thing is, where we won’t get into them here, there’re many more issues than the ones mentioned. That makes it a paramount concern when discussing immigration policy.
The other common issue, is people coming to America on temporary visas, then just staying when they run out.
Whatever you may believe, the best we can say about the folks doing this, is that they make it less possible that others wishing to enter the country will be allowed to do so.
Like it or not, overstaying a visa is mostly at best a selfish act.
That’s not by any means an indication I don’t understand it.
I said in a recent piece titled “A Great Place To Live,” that people still flood into this country from all around the world on the basis that it’s seen as being exactly what the title indicates it is.
Between people continuing to enter the U. S. or stay here through one or another illegal mechanism, we’ve had an absolute deluge or humanity, primarily from Central and South America, but really from all around the World.
One doesn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes, to deduce that any system can take just so much such activity, before the country implementing it must consider finding ways to limit access to its shores.
Frankly too, accepting people who are willing to make their way here from the countries out of which they escape (not using the term literally, but more figuratively), isn’t typically helpful to those places whence they came.
We’re working on some of the problems discussed, but I’m pretty much of a mind that others aren’t even really being looked at.
Our southern border is a major problem. That said, I believe at present, we’re at least trying to help to remedy it, by adding physical security there. Is that all that will be required to fix things? Probably not, but at least it’s a place to start.
The visa overstays are a matter I feel we haven’t really begun to tackle in a meaningful way.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that at present, there are a great many people in the political class, fighting against either problem being dealt with in any serious manner.
This to me is sad for a couple of reasons.
To begin with, it means that people who’ve waited a very long time to try to enter the United States to live, to work, and for myriad other causes, having done all the things required and requested, are likely being denied access because of the formerly mentioned issues.
Additionally, when you drive 75 miles an hour, down a roadway marked for 35 miles an hour, you’re in obvious breach of law. That’s just as true for people coming into the country illegally, or overstaying their welcome. You can argue against it all you want, but those people have questionable character on the basis that they’re willing to come into, or stay in, the country illegally.
To those who argue that their going “home” would cause them some sort of hardship along the lines of retribution for having left, or persecution in their home countries, I say, “That’s what the ability to request asylum was designed for.”
Truth is though, I would bet the worst thing most folks are running from is poverty and lack of opportunity.
This brings us to a quick discussion of a segment of U. S. foreign policy. One thing I believe the nation ought to be doing, is finding ways to help both its neighbors and countries around the world improve their standard of living, such that fewer people feel the need to come here in order to have a better life.
One unfortunate reality is, many countries have leadership that will refuse to accept that the way they’re doing business won’t allow for such. As much as we’d like to see that leadership change, trying to force such differences is far from the best possible solution.
In the end, it comes down to this. I don’t believe true immigration reform can be had in this country until and unless we deal with the problem of illegal immigration via border crossings and visa overstays; and I don’t think we can deal humanely and effectively with those problems, at least in some measure, until and unless we can help to bring other parts of the World up to a standard of living that makes coming here far less enticing.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.