February 06, 2019Note: This is the first in a two part series sharing thoughts on 'We the People' and 'E Pluribus Unum.' I welcome any and all comments and feedback.
What a tizzy the country seems to be in about the "crisis" at our southern border. We're told that thousands of people are streaming or sneaking across the border illegally. I've had friends tell me directly that they are concerned that these people are going to come and "take our jobs, our guns and our very way of life. If they want to come let's them get in line and come legally like my ancestors did."
Frankly, many of our ancestors like mine came here before there were any real rules or quotas. Basically, if you could get here and were healthy you could stay. Most of them worked hard, applied for citizenship and became Americans.
I agree that immigrants should come legally so I did a little research on how the people from south of the border can come here legally today. It's not that easy. There really isn't just a line to get in and wait one's turn.
For the most part they have to apply for one of several types of visas at the American Embassy which is no easy task in some countries, have the necessary skills and education or be able to pay the fees and complete the forms to get a visa. Not every application is approved (11.3 % denial). And if it's approved the wait is anywhere from one to 20 years before the visa is granted and can be used. You can Google all of this.
The other way is to present oneself at the border and apply for asylum. Thousands are doing just that. It's perfectly legal by U.S. law. Conditions in some of their home countries are so bad—drugs, gangs, cartels, sex trafficking, mass killings, etc.— that people will gather the family, including small kids, and walk up to a thousand miles to get here. Most of the people in the "caravans" are these, not undesirables trying to storm the border.
They are trying to get here for the same reasons our ancestors did, a safer and better life. And most are willing to work hard and play by the rules. They just want a chance. Who among us wouldn't?
I don't think that anybody reading this wouldn't, under the same circumstances, do everything they could to survive and protect their families including walking many miles to do it if necessary. The number one instinct in all living creatures is survival.
The criteria for being granted asylum are pretty stringent. (You can Google this, too.) Only about 20% are granted asylum. Most have their dreams dashed and are sent home.
No one, not Democrat, Republican, Independent, conservative or progressive, argues that we don't need strong border security. Northern and Southern. Remember, the 9/11 terrorists (and lots of contraband) came through Canada.
But what does border security entail? Barriers (OK, call them "walls" if you want) are certainly part of the mix. There are walls in many of the strategic places already. If it makes strategic sense to build more we should.
But we also need modern technology, lights, drones, x-rays, cameras, better sensors, and most of all, more humans to do what's necessary to protect the country.
Let's concentrate more resources, human and technical, at established ports of entry. We're told that most of the illegal contraband comes though these.
We need more people and methods to screen people. The wait times and living conditions for people are ridiculous. And under no circumstance should children be separated from their families. That's counterproductive, just plain inhumane and costs the government more. We are better than that. None of us would allow our children to be separated from us under any circumstances.
I sent the following suggestion to numerous Senators and Members of the House:
Congress should offer $3 billion for Border Security now. How it must be spent is NOT stipulated. Let Department of Homeland Security decide.
Then Congress appoints a Blue Ribbon Commission to report back to both Houses in 90 days. Commission shall be made up of people directly affected: Governors of CA, AZ, NM, TX; mayors of border towns Winterhaven, CA, Yuma, Lukeville, Nogales, AZ, El Paso, Del Rio, Laredo, McAllen, Brownsville, TX; Counties Hidalgo, Luna, Dona Ana, NM; Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement; 1 border landowner from each state–
23 total members.
There should be no members of Congress or administration other than the two above. Congress adopts the findings and funds accordingly. Win-Win.
Not much response yet. Mostly boilerplate replies. But I'll keep trying. You should let your representatives know what you think they should do, too.
Another thing we must do is help the other countries become better places to live. Most people, frankly, would prefer to stay home.
Your thoughts and comments are welcome.
Email Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org.