The following is commentary intended for discussion. Add your comments.
As I cover border issues over the years, I try to see things from various viewpoints.
After many trips to the Southern Border talking to federal and local law enforcement, ranchers and other residents, border city officials, illegal immigrants, advocates, humanitarian workers and others, it's hard even for them to find a silver lining to unsecured borders.
Obviously, criminal cartels are moving massive amounts of drugs into the US into pipelines to Chicago and other distribution points.
But even when it's simply good people looking for a better life make it here, it can come at a heartbreaking cost. Some of them and their children are traded and trafficked, exploited and attacked, even forced to transport drugs. Some die along the way.
Once they arrive, they aren't allowed to work, legally, so if they do get a job, they have to break the law to do it. Maybe they get a fake social security number and pay taxes; maybe they are paid under the table. Often, they are not paid according to U.S. law. They work overtime for no overtime pay. They don't receive minimum wage. They cannot complain because they are breaking the law in the first place. They are exploited in a way that would never be allowed if they were legal workers.
There have been cases where illegal immigrant children and adults were held captive on work sites, forced to act as what amounts to slave labor.
There have been cases where illegal immigrant children have been trafficked and traded for sex.
For some reason, this doesn't seem to bother some people-- at least they are able to look the other way. They advocate for the illegal immigrants to come here and ignore what happens to them.
Nearly all of them pay sums of money to the cartels that control the border, so the trade that we incentivize makes the cartels richer and stronger.
But if, as a nation, we are to decide we're willing to accept all of those costs, and the taxpayer cost, of inviting people in who need a better life, I wonder why those who happen to be closest in proximity to our Southern border should be favored over the downtrodden in China, Russia, Africa and other places.
If we really wanted to be fair in our humanitarian efforts, we would allow equal numbers in-- in fact, we would transport them-- from other needy parts of the world.
But accepting that we cannot accept the hundreds of millions of people overnight who would wish to build a better life here (we have no infrastructure prepared in terms of schools, free housing, and other necessities), there would have to be a system, or a sense of order in who we take when, and how we do it.
That probably would look something like the immigration system we currently have. So we're back at square one.
And if we do decide to accept the hundreds of millions, how do we reasonably try to keep out the criminals? A study done by the Obama administration found at least 1 in 5 federal prisoners is an illegal alien, a number that's far disproportionate to their numbers in the U.S. Over a five year period, they were charged with more than a million drug crimes and tens of thousands of rapes, murders, assaults, DUIs, terrorist crimes and more.
What's the answer? What do you think?
Leave your comments below.
John Donohue says
Everything you say is true, or at least extremely possible. Adding to your list is the inevitability of illegal votes. The solutions I see are voting the sympathetic Democrats out of office and finishing the border wall.
Norma Brown says
I worked my first diplomatic tour adjudicating visa applications in Jamaica, one of the places first-tour officers were sent to test their mettle. It was a "visa mill." I spent a few months in each consular spot learning the ropes, and what I learned is that fraud and lies are rampant and most of the applicants were going to stay and work, no matter what they claimed. And most of them going in under immigrant visa applications were unskilled, illiterate, never held a job. And heading into middle age. Those were the good old days. Look at what is flooding the border, and illegally! today.
California case: Open borders are bad for our public education system. 1982 SCOTUS ruling mandated free K-12 for all illegals. California teachers unions support open borders and sanctuary cities which directly impact state public education costs.
Currently, K-12 classes are now 60-90% "english learners" due to open borders. State ranking for student outcomes now #45. Yet by law 50% of all state generals revenues must go to public education. Huge cash incentives to grow the teachers unions but there is no accountability for these funds for lack of outcomes.
One local school district is now shifting to all "bi-lingual" instruction because they gave up teaching "english learners" english - so they cover this up claiming knowing two languages helps ward off Alzheimer disease. (This is not a joke, this is how it was presented to the very willing teacher union dominated school board.
Open borders have destroyed public education for legal residents in this state. They have grown the teachers unions to become the most powerful political force in the state.
The California Voting Rights Act expanded "protected" status to "Spanish speaking population groups" so they now have special electoral privileges legal residents are never afforded, including creation of privileged electoral districts regardless of numbers of legal registered voters..
Illegals maybe pay $3 billion in taxes (various local retail, gas taxes etc) but they take out $28 billion in benefits, goods and services., the largest being free public education which supports the political power of the teachers unions in this state.
There are immigration reform solutions for the ag industry, the service sector, but there is no solution to the political impact of illegal immigration driving the growth and power of the teachers unions in this stat who now almost wholly depend on keeping borders open and destroying any educational outcome standards for this mega-billion dollar tax dollar windfall now going almost exclusively to illegal residents.
This does not even touch the mega-billion dollar loss to the state caused by illegals sending remittences to their home country, while enjoying these billions of dollars of free tax payer funded benefits. while residing here illegally.
When you hear any howls of protest about closing the borders or immigration reform, make sure you follow the money back to the teachers unions and the government social services unions.
Mark Chambers says
Let me start by saying I along with everyone I know supports smart legal immigration. The covid disaster should have settled this issue. A nation has to have a controlled,orderly, limited immigration system. Limited to what is in the best interest of our citizens, the nation as a whole. As they say, "Charity starts at home". We have major issues as a country needing addressed before we can take in worlds poor. We can help people effectively by urging them to stay in their country. Working with their governments,agencies people to address the issues they are fleeing from. What the open borders advocates fail to come to terms with is those policies hurt everyone involved from countries, citizens, illegal immigrants, legal immigrants. It devastates communities, wages,adds to education burden/costs, taxpayers, law enforcement, social services,ect. It also fosters resentment between groups. We have to have tough,fair immigration system with strong enforcement and borders.
If other countries took care of their business and worked to help their people thrive and keep them safe by enforcing the rule of law and encouraging free enterprise there would be fewer problems.
Unfortunately America is heading toward the same conditions from which illegal immigrants are supposedly fleeing. Corruption, extortion, propaganda, censorship, central control, all while allowing criminal and subversive activity for certain groups to spread is now here.
What a dilemma!
Mark Novotny says
I am second generation immigrant, meaning my grandparents (both sides) came over from the Czech republic. They wanted to make a better life for their families to come. What they also did was to learn English, become a citizen , and work hard so they never had to depend on the government to take care of their families. Although this is true for some migrants, it seems like a high proportion are not following that way of thinking.
The longer version of the borders being open: https://jaffo911.wordpress.com/2021/03/10/open-border-immigration-is-a-plane-wreck-2/
a) open borders
b) welfare state
President Trump had the answers. His way worked. You don't have a country without secure borders. There is no way to keep criminals out with people pouring across the border. Criminals are bringing them.
The Democrats have for years been trying to confuse the populace by mixing legal immigration with illegal immigration, and with the willful hands of many in the mainstream media, have successfully brainwashed a large percentage of the population to believe the immigration system is broken.
It is not.
The current immigration system is working, more or less. Can it be improved? Yes. One part that can certainly improve is to emphasize less on family reunifications and more on bringing in skilled labors. We should also focus on bringing in people that believe in our core values of freedom and democracy. It is ironic that many immigrants from Communist China, for example, are more loyal to the Communist regime than the US. If they love their home country so much, there is no reason to let them in. We should welcome people that want to live the American dream, not those that want to live the "Chinese dream" in America.
I'm a legal immigrant myself, and nothing infuriates more than the Democrats openly embracing illegal immigration. It's outright patronizing for them to claim they are for immigrants like us, as they are certainly not, at least not the legal kind. No country can function without controlling and managing the inflow of immigrants. Most essential services need forward planning based on population projection. You can't simply throw money at it, not to mention we don't have money to begin with. Illegal immigration makes that impossible. Take healthcare for example. Hospitals need to be built to take care of more people, and those take time, in addition to money. Once built, hospitals need to be staffed, and those take time too. Welcoming trained medical professionals from other countries to move here would certainly help, but that circles right back to controlling and managing the inflow of immigrants.
To solve this problem, the voters need to realize the con job the Democrats are doing, and unless the MSM have a change of heart and stop being Democrat propagandists and back being journalists, I'm not hopeful. We need more journalists like you.
Big difference between compassion and chaos. Big difference between forced to sit at home so as not to overwhelm the health care system (which many can't afford even insured with Obamacare) and providing free care by overextended health care workers during a pandemic. In reading a comment above, I live in a very diverse area and have heard the same sentiment from those who came in using the appropriate means. They say no to open borders. I defer to their knowledge, as recent immigrants themselves.
You can have open borders if & only if every social welfare program including social security & Medicare is eliminated. You can’t have both. The programs weren’t set up for millions of ppl who haven’t contributed a cent to the programs
Makes no sense for legal tax payers to spend $15,000 to educate illegal residents from other counties.
Send $10K back to their home country every year for every illegal student SCOTUS forces us to now educate for 13 years. if they stay home. And call it a $5K tax savings.
Stopping open borders would decimate the teachers unions. How can it get any better than that?
Paul Miller says
America First, But it has never been America Only. Without foreign involvement we wouldn't exist as a nation. But also without a systematic enforced process there is chaos, much like what we are now seeing occur in our immigration policy. Human beings seek opportunity, some seek criminality off of those seeking an honest opportunity. An open border would be much like a constant open house, for awhile it would provide protection and maybe even sustenance, but over time the ability to sustain itself would implode, leaving those who needs its protection the most vulnerable.
There are bonds in all societies that are built over time and cultures, simply because they work for the society as a whole. When a society bonds and stands together, only then can they be strong enough to reach out to others. It is the same with family, I always gave elsewhere even when I couldn’t necessarily afford it. My guideline, as long as there was a roof over our heads and food on the table (sometimes that was a considerable stretched) we were good. As I’ve aged and became a little more secure, I’ve added more to my own table. My love of family is unconditional and any help is also unconditional, but I do have expectations and limits. I look for others to do what they can for themselves and refuse to stay a victim even when others place them in that position. The symbol for a foundation we created "That Others May Rise" depicts those expectations visually as it illustrates an individual pulling themselves upward seeking opportunity, reaching out a hand while looking forward and not backwards as their foot is firmly planted on their faith and courage, while another individual is reaching down to grasp their hand to provide that opportunity to rise out of poverty (social and esteem). Opportunity is only opportunity if able to take advantage of the situation. As you write in your article, many illegals are unable to take advantage as they never started with a good foundation, open borders would erode and ultimately eliminate that underpinning. From That Others May Live to That Others May Rise. Life is more then a biological process, it is a spiritual progression.