Here’s what I think about the current immigration debate, not that anyone cares, but in order to avoid giving a false impression based on recent posts: I don’t know what I think.
I do believe that illegal immigration is a problem. I think that porous borders are a homeland defense nightmare. I think that turning a blind eye to illegal immigration creates an underclass of easily exploited people, those who are at risk of being trafficked and turned into slaves in this country. I think that an unwritten policy of turning a blind eye toward the law inspires contempt for the law. And I worry that immigrants, legal or illegal, are not assimilating, that more than any previous wave of immigrants—because of the advance of global communications and transportation—they maintain primary loyalties to their countries of origin and see the US as a temporary job, not a new home.
I also believe that immigration is a good thing. Without immigration our population rate would be abysmal and probably close to that of most of Europe. I believe in extending the American dream to as many people as possible and that, on the whole, immigrants bring new vitality and a strong work ethic to our nation. (Yes, some people show up and immediately go on the dole, but is that not a majority.) I think that the strains on our public institutions caused by illegal immigrants taking out of the system, but not paying in could be solved if we had a way of getting people into the system legally.
I also believe that it is important to give aid to the needy, legal or illegal, but in such a way that it doesn’t exacerbate the situation we’re in. I also think that the high-flying rhetoric and passion from certain bishops would be welcome if they addressed other important issues of the moment, like abortion or gay marriage on which they have been strangely muted.
In other words, I know that the immigration system is in need of reform, but I don’t know the best way to go about it. None of the solutions offered so far seem to offer a realistic chance for making things better, mostly because all sides seem to be pandering to one special interest group or another.
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