I BELIEVE THE IMMIGRATION PROBLEM CAN BE SOLVED.
I optimistically believe that our “immigration problem” is one that could be solved by some clear thinking analysis and creative policy making. The realist in me is convinced it can’t be solved as long as partisan ideologies and demagoguery control not only the debate, but the votes, in our legislature and government.
It doesn’t seem to matter if someone has a “good” idea about how to move forward since “good” is solely defined along party and ideological lines. This prevents common sense, wisdom, justice, compassion, and even pragmatic solutions being initiated.
I want to introduce some ideas into the immigration discussion not all of which deal or arise from the immigration issue directly. Along the way I hope to reveal some principles that should impact our immigration policies in general, and make some suggestions in particular.
IMMIGRATION AND ABORTION
I have been thinking of how the subject of immigration is tied to the issue of abortion. Along with that seeming irrelevant thought I wonder how the issue of immigration is tied to the reality of the aging of the American population, and the inability of the white population to reproduce itself? I would like to see the debate about immigration brought into a broader discussion of the future of our nation, its demographics, its economy, and its security rather than to be isolated into a rather narrow discussion about legality versus illegality, racism, fear, and job competition.
Let me disclose some of my opinions and presuppositions but I do hope they will not detract the reader from thinking through the logic of my conclusions.
- I think abortion is the killing of a human being.
- I think all human beings have inherent dignity before God
- I think more people are a blessing to a nation (Proverbs 14:28) and give it potential and are not simply a drain on its resources. I believe people have the ability to create wealth, use technology to increase and preserve resources, and provide for the broader common wealth.
- I think all human beings should have the freedom of movement and the right to ask other nations for asylum and safety when coming from desperate situations.
- I think nations have the right to control their borders, establish criteria for entry, asylum, and avenues to citizenship which should be known, just, reasonable and understandable, and in compliance with bilateral or international treaties.
- I think that governments cannot be the sole solution to the issues of poverty or human need and need the willing and active cooperation of non-government institutions, faith based agencies and organizations, and individuals to sponsor and help integrate people when attempting to assimilate into new communities and nations.
- I think that most immigrants have a value system that pushes them to take risks for a better life and that value system results in people who work hard for themselves and their families. This is a value system totally in line with American economic values.
One populist view of immigration sees the current state of mass migration, especially that of those who cross the border, or stay across our border, illegally as a threat to our culture, our jobs, our safety, and the fair distribution of our tax dollars for such things as health and education. The populist solution to this problem is fairly simple and straightforward, don’t let them in, and if they get in find them and send them back.
Simple however doesn’t mean easy, and carries with it some costs. There is the cost of strict border control, walls and fences included. There is the cost of apprehension and removal. Then there is the emotional, psychological, and reputational cost of being a nation that is selfish, mean, anti-family, and oppressive to children. This also creates a national cost of divisiveness, and of course partisans rush to exploit that division for their own purposes.
SHOULD WE FEAR MIGRANTS OR THE DEMOGRAPHIC REALITY OF NOT ENOUGH YOUNG WORKERS?
Leaving the populist agenda and point of view it seems wise to me to bring the discussion into a broader and wider concern. There is fear here as well, and I think one that is justified based on demographic projections. Is our population aging, is it reproducing, how many workers do we have, how many do we need? How many young people to fill our military do we need each year? How many educated people do we need to grow our economy? How many working people do we need to support the social security support of our aging population?
The answers to these questions reveal that America needs a steady supply of people. Where are they and why don’t we have them? The horrible and quick answer of course is that we have killed them. How many babies have been aborted since Roe versus Wade? If it is true that as of 2018 sixty (60) million babies have been aborted, and that if they had lived and come to maturity, then we would have about 40 million more people working and earning a living and paying taxes today. But they are not here, and we do not have their talents, their energy, their strength, their brilliance, their giftedness, their vitality, their ideas, their leadership; and we do not have their money.
NBC News cites the Center for Disease Control as saying we need a birthrate of 2,100 births per 1,000 women over the course of their lifetime to reproduce ourselves here in the U.S.A. Our rate is now 1,765.5, and has been getting lower over the last several years. Our work force is aging, and in retirement our population is living longer with fewer younger workers to pay into the retirement system.
So, can we get along without these children we have aborted? Not really, but it seems like we can to some extent; but to what extent, and to what decline, and to what void has yet to be realized. Does their absence hurt us? My contention is yes it does, as to demographic projections especially, and it will become more and more evident in the future.
We are in fact missing almost 60 million people who could have been here, legally. We have estimates that there are 12 million people here illegally. Logically therefore there should be no problem with their presence or in how many of them there are since we would have made room for the 60 million anyway, if we had not killed them. In fact immigrants are in some sense a solution to our self-made problem.
THE PROBLEM OF “ILLEGALITY” AND A WAY OUT OF IT.
Yet, their “illegality” is a problem, and one that we should move quickly to solve. We need to find a “just” way to make them legal, we need to find an orderly and fair way to help this mass migration of people from troubled countries enter our country, as we discern which ones should not be allowed in, and we need to find ways to make it easier for people to come and work, and then go home so they don’t seek to make end runs around the system.
If we can transfer the fear we have of a bum rush across our borders by mostly people of color and low education into a greater fear of America going into a decline because we simply don’t have enough young people we might have the incentive to work toward better solutions. Instead of thinking we need more border policemen we actually need to think in terms of a lot more border and immigration judges, faster adjudication, better processing and holding centers, and progressive assimilation programming. We need better ways and more people to do oversight of visa overstays and cheating.
THIS IS A CRISIS THAT NEEDS A FAST SOLUTION BUT NOT THE ONE WE ARE BEING SOLD
If we had previously invested in a greater infrastructure for adjudication we would have much faster processing of such cases and relieved ourselves of a lot of anger about how long people seem to get away with beating the system. The emergency and crisis of the present influx of migrants has not been solved by the strident tones of President Trump, or the investment he has made on walls or enforcement. The conditions in Central America are driving migration today and things have gotten worse. We need an emergency response that increases our capacity of processing, adjudication, assimilation, and repatriation.
Instead of a deadheaded demagoguery of resistance we need to change the law, quickly, to give some room for amnesty for those who have paid taxes, obeyed non-immigration laws once they were here, and worked hard to earn their way, and especially for their children who are to all other aspects Americans as to culture, language, and education. Certainly the crime of coming and staying illegally can better be solved by creating a formal system of penalty with a path to becoming legal rather than simply apprehension and removal. There are indeed times for that, and we have always had a certain percentage of our budget spent on the identification of (migrant) criminals and their removal. That part of border and immigration control will always be needed.
If there is a faster path to citizenship through public or military service that is an even greater mutual benefit to the individual and the nation. Those who have committed fraud, who have broken non-immigrant related criminal laws, and who are in any way a terrorist danger to our safety should of course be expelled. We could concentrate on those a lot faster if the whole system was more about adjudication than apprehension. Here is one idea: Call on the illegals to come out in the open by making them help pay the cost of the system through fines assessed due to their violation by giving them a work visa, and 5 years to pay $10,000.00 , prior to any steps toward citizenship. This puts them in the back of the line for citizenship, but gives them, and us, a way out.
It is a political conviction and passion which refuses to create a more efficient, and thus compassionate, infrastructure and replaces it with a fortress and police mentality as a way out of this mess. It is not a lack of money, but a lack of will, and that lack is created by a lack of wisdom and long range thinking.
The same problem that created mass amounts of aborted children creates the anti-immigrant problem. It is a materialistic selfishness. Abortion has never been about the health of the mother, not in the numbers we have cited. It is primarily about having sex without consequence, about human beings who think babies can be discarded so the “parents” circumstances are not complicated or disrupted. As traumatic and emotionally devastating as an unwanted pregnancy might be, unless it actually threatens the physical survival of the mother, abortion is a materialistic choice that results in the killing of another human being.
The fear mongering about mass illegal immigration is about materialistic protectionism. We have the ability to change, and decrease, the illegal part of migration and immigration if we will create systems based on making more room for those we need (and we do need them), and quicker adjudication of those who should not be allowed.