A Crisis at the Border

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A Crisis at the Border

Kevin Johnson, an SNC junior international studies major, supports border security, but also is concerned for those fleeing from crime and poverty.

Kevin Johnson, an SNC junior international studies major, supports border security, but also is concerned for those fleeing from crime and poverty.

Photo credit: Nick Kearney

Kevin Johnson, an SNC junior international studies major, supports border security, but also is concerned for those fleeing from crime and poverty.

Photo credit: Nick Kearney

Photo credit: Nick Kearney

Kevin Johnson, an SNC junior international studies major, supports border security, but also is concerned for those fleeing from crime and poverty.

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On Sunday, November 25, U.S border agents fired tear gas on hundreds of migrants attempting to enter the country illegally from Tijuana, Mexico.  American authorities shut down the nation’s busiest border crossing from the city where thousands are waiting to apply for asylum.

In an interview with Time Magazine, Mexico’s Interior Ministry said around 500 migrants tried to “storm” the U.S. border.  In a statement, the ministry said that it would immediately deport those people and reinforce security at the border.

In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said, “DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness, and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons.” U.S. authorities will continue to have a “robust” presence along the Southwest border and that they will prosecute anyone who damages federal property or violates U.S. sovereignty.

In recent weeks more than 5,000 migrants have been camped in and around a sports complex in Tijuana after making their way through Mexico via caravan. Many hope to apply for asylum in the U.S., but agents at the San Ysidro entry point are “processing” fewer than 100 asylum petitions a day.  Additional caravans are in route from Central America where thousands more migrants will be seeking asylum at the Southern border.

Kevin Johnson, an SNC junior international studies major, supports border security, but also is concerned for those fleeing from crime and poverty.

“People need to come into the country legally, just rushing the border is not OK,“ he said. “I think we do however, have a responsibility to help those in desperate need of help.”

Kacey Carolan, an SNC senior economics and finance major, believes we have a duty to both Americans and the migrants.

“Securing the border is essential, because the safety of our citizens is very important,” she said.  “However, we do have a responsibility to assist the migrants as well. I see rushing the border as a desperate action by desperate people.”

Photo credit: Nick Kearney
Kacey Carolan, an SNC senior economics and finance major, believes we have a duty to both Americans and the migrants.

For the caring and generous American people witnessing the hardships the migrants have encountered while traveling from Central America to our Southern border is difficult to watch. However, we also understand that America cannot absorb everyone in the world who would like to move here.  The United Nations estimates there are 7.6 billion people in the world.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau the U.S. population is about 328 million, and; on average, the U.S. permits 1 million legal immigrants to enter the country each year.

The mass migration we are seeing from Central America is never going to be solved by inviting them into the U.S. The social and economic climate the migrants are fleeing from must be resolved in their home countries.

Efforts must be made by the U.S. and Mexico to stabilize the economic and political conditions in Central America.  Corporate investment should be encouraged in these countries to improve infrastructure. Sanitation and medical care are ambitious objectives, but necessary to improve the quality of life for these people.

Most importantly, the U.S. must reform its antiquated immigration laws to prevent abuse and enhance the economic goals of our nation.  Unfortunately, the U.S. Congress has repeatedly failed to get this done.

In addition, the New York Times reported that the Pew Research Center placed the number of undocumented immigrants in our country at 10.7 million.  The U.S. must develop a mechanism to integrate these undocumented immigrants into the country.

Granting amnesty to people who have illegally entered the country would encourage others to do the same, and the idea of deporting millions of people is not the solution.

David Inseria of The Heritage Foundation proposed three changes to our immigration laws that, in his opinion, would dramatically improve our immigration system.

First, he would modify the provisions of “family reunification” to only allow immediate family members to be sponsored by an immigrant legally entering the country.  Presently, the law allows all family members to enter the country. This limitation would reduce the economic impact for services such as schools and medical care. Taking this action would permit equal opportunity to other family units.

Second, he believes immigration status should be based on employability and merit, using the free market to determine how many, and what skill sets are in the best interest of the U.S., permanent residency would mostly be conditional. It would be based on employment history, and how they are contributing to society. Australia and Canada approach immigration similarly.

Third, Inseria believes we should eliminate the Diversity Visa Program and the 7% per country cap.   This program prioritizes an applicant’s national origin over merit and education. It discriminates flow from high immigrant countries such as china and India, where many applicants have college degrees.  For example, 71% of applicants from India have a bachelor’s degree or higher, whereas 53% of China’s applicants have college degrees. Bringing migrants into the country, with the education and skill to handle jobs in the technological work place, is in the best interest of the U.S.

Implementing these three changes to our immigration laws will dramatically improve our immigration system, provided we secure our border and enforce the immigration laws to mitigate the number of undocumented immigrants entering our country illegally.

Officer Ray Poole of the South Lake Tahoe Police Department was injured by an illegal immigrant. He believes the border must be secured and our laws enforced.

“A secure border is necessary to keep American citizens safe from the criminal element now illegally entering our country,” he said.  “It is imperative that the laws be enforced to remove from the country those breaking our laws and harming our citizens.”

Lastly, the millions of undocumented workers in our country must be addressed. They need to be brought out of the “shadows,” welcomed, and assimilated into our country in an orderly and just manner. They should not have to live in fear of being deported for making a living.

The USA Today presented a compassionate idea for dealing with the undocumented workers in the country. For years, businesses, learning institutions, and families have all relied on a form of sponsorship. This was done to help integrate their workforce, to help students achieve, to encourage law-abiding behavior, and to help organizations grow.

Under a sponsorship plan, current law-abiding U.S. citizens would agree to sponsor undocumented individuals currently living in the country with a clean criminal record.  Sponsorship could be an effective solution because it would be a local, community building approach, to integrating immigrants into society.

This concept treats the undocumented with dignity, involves U.S citizens in becoming part of the solution, and helps build bridges within the communities where immigrants already live, work, shop, and send their children to school.

Instead of the federal government issuing a blanket decree on the status of all undocumented individuals, the sponsorship proposal would empower Americans to solve one of the most perplexing and historic dilemmas of our time. Such a program would strengthen our communities and enhance our culture.

This proposal could be a win/win for both the undocumented workers, and the country that relies on the fabric of America, her people, rather than the bureaucracy of government.

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