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Sunday, July 3, 2022

Columns

Politicians need to directly deal with illegal immigration


The U.S. does not need to hide behind a wall or under a blanket. We need to face immigration head on.

One of the country’s strongest characteristics, which is also a part of our identity, is that it’s a cultural melting pot. With illegal immigration, the U.S. is facing an identity crisis if we do not accept some of the blame. Politicians need to figure out a way to solve the illegal immigration problem with real policy instead of distractions and hope.

11.1 million illegal immigrants are believed to be in the U.S. If a person is unlawfully in the country then there wouldn’t be a lot of incentive to self-report that fact — meaning we can reasonably assume that this number is a low-ball estimate.

We haven’t mentioned the fact that Americans are becoming more agitated with anything that is different from the norm.

Reliving a fault

In 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott publicly refused to accept Syrian refugees legally immigrating to the U.S. because of terrorism fears.  I hope the governor understands that his declaration was nothing more than grandstanding because Texas borders are open to neighboring states and there is no way to stop a legal resident from living in your state.

Immigration is what makes the U.S. fantastic. People like Google co-founder Sergey Brin come to the U.S., achieve their American Dream and contribute to society.

Illegal immigration is a drain on the U.S. economy, resources and jobs.  The country’s fear over a shaky economy is warranted.

The U.S. began to recover from a recession (some say depression) in 2009, but in 2016, our economy is still weak. Politicians are using immigrants as a scapegoat to deflect our attention from a poorly managed economy.

I grew up in Brownsville, a city that borders Matamoros, México. Seeing that the current fence does little to deter illegal immigrants, why would the next president remake the mistake of their predecessor?

The Republican candidate is not the only one following in the failed footsteps of former presidents.  The Democratic candidate backs the extreme alternate to a wall fondly known as blanket amnesty.

In 2014, President Barack Obama proposed amnesty to our rising immigrant population. In 2016, the Supreme Court blocked the effort.

It’s humorous that former President George W. Bush, Obama and the current presidential nominees agree that our immigration system is broken, but none of them have bothered to fix it without going to extremes.

Discussion time

I think we can all agree that telling people they can’t do something doesn’t actually stop them (think abstinence in high school).

On the other hand, teaching sexual education like “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life” is not effective either for discouraging teenage sex.

A nice thing about a wall and a blanket is that political parties do not have to do the hard work to figure out where the system is broken.  It currently takes eight to 10 years and an average of $10,000 to gain citizenship — if you legally enter the country and have an employer sponsor your visa.

The two alternatives are to petition a judge to grant you political asylum or marry a U.S. citizen.

If we go back to the narrative that Latinos from south of the border are the main illegal immigrants (I am not buying that, but let’s go with it just for the sake of argument) and they are migrating to the U.S. because their countries are filled with drug cartels and corrupt governments, how do they fit into the paths to citizenship?

They don’t.

I am not saying I know what the solution is and I do not expect politicians running for office to as well, but I do expect them to ask the questions and see the hole in the system.

Right now, no one is asking the question.  Let’s start the conversation.

Opinion columnist Cari Netemeyer is a creative writing senior and can be reached at [email protected] 

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