A Conservative View on Illegal Immigration
This article is an attempt to explain where I am with the immigration debate. There seems to be a lot of misconceptions about conservatives and their objection to illegal immigration. I want to set the record straight.
- Sept. 2017
First Thing First
Conservatives are not against all immigration. We believe that legal immigration, following our immigration laws are the proper way to come here. Every year, we have over one million legal immigrants that come here and stay and work and assimilate and raise a family. That is wonderful and we welcome them with open arms.
Illegal Immigration or Undocumented Immigrants
The debate over illegal immigrants is what the issue is at hand. Some on the left believes that we should have a lenient approach to people who wants to come here, especially from our southern border. If they make it here on our soil, regardless whether they went through official channel or process, they should be able to stay and work... This approach is more "humane" and we are a generous nation which should allow some to be here illegal or not. After all, they are mostly hard working people willing to take jobs that are hard and low paying, which Americans will not do. That is the claim. Over the many decades, more and more of these illegals have come and brought their children and now are a significant part of our community especially in some large cities. In some cities in California and Arizona and Texas, they are a large majority and in some cases the cities are Spanish speaking and cannot function without their language. This applies to our courts and schools and other civil agencies.
We conservatives do not adopt this stance. We do not believe in a two tier population where one is legal and one illegal and lives in the shadows and are succeptible to exploitation and abuse.
It is common sense for any nation to protect and control its borders. Every other nation on earth have a strict immigration policy. This is necessary to control possible health issues, epidemics, and labor requirements. A nation is defined by its borders, language and culture. A common nation consists of citizens who speaks a common language and who has a basic understanding of our civics. People who are born here, attend schools and are taught all this from birth. Immigrants from another country, learn our language and our culture and civils and eventually assimilate over time.
It is true in our past history, we've had waves of immigrants from all parts of the world come here and contribute to our development as a vibrant nation. However, we are a matured nation. There is no new territory to explore or develop or conquer. Our labor needs are limited and in fact, in recent years, we have a shortage of jobs. This imbalance adds to the pressure to reduce illegal immigrants who come here and keep the price of labor low, especially in the unskilled labor arena.
What is the Problem Now?
One can argue that these illegal immigrants are a benefit for us as a whole. They provide unskilled labor that our own citizens do not want to do. They are hard working and support their families both here and back home across the border.
The problem is one of numbers. If the illegals are for example only 1 or 2 percent of our population, there is very small effect on our economy and our resources. However, once that number gets larger and now are estimated to be close to 10 percent of our population, then it is no longer insignificant. Our schools and hospitals and roads are impacted negatively with a growing illegsl population who are living in the shadows.
How Did We Get Here?
This problem is not all the fault of the illegal immigrants. They were assisted by our own government and businesses who for one reason or another turned a blind eye and allow them to come here. By not protecting our borders with a wall or other measures, we facilitated these people to come and live and work among us.
For example, our farms in California are dependent on migrant pickers. Without them, our fruits and vegetables will rot on the vine. The same goes for a slew of low paying unskilled jobs including restaurant workers, landscapers and housekeepers...
Our Social Welfare System
This problem was exasperated by our increasing social welfare system. When we, as a society, provide income and housing, food and healthcare to certain members of our population in the form of welfare, we discourage some from work. The notion that these illegals are doing the job Americans won't do is directly related to the fact that we provide free services to a part of our population such that they don't need to find work to survive.
How Do We Begin to Solve This?
Let's start by setting some common ground principles. If we can't agree on these basic ideas, then there can be no solution.
- legal immigration is the way forward
- Everyone should be treated equally, no two tier system to our population
- Our country has the right to dictate who and how many can immigrate based on our needs
- A solution must include a fair treatment of the current undocumented population in US
- we have a right and duty to make sure everyone is identified and documented
No Comprehensive Solution Necessary
In past debates on this issue, I hear many politicians say and repeat that we need a comprehensive solution...
That is false. There is no reason why a comprehensive solution is needed or desired.
What is needed is an incremental approach to solving this complex issue. We can deal with various parts separately and at different stages.
We can address the simple case first where we have common grounds with both parties. For example, we can begin by deporting illegals with a criminal record that are violent in nature. Who can oppose that? Please stand up and explain if you can.
Here is a Sequence of Possible Solutions...
- deport criminals
- build a wall to stop the incoming people
- track visitors so that their visa is up to date
- stop sactuary cities from protecting undocumented immigrants
- penalize employers severely who break or subvert eVerify rules.
- work on new legislation to deal with dreamers
- All undocumented must register with INS so that they are "documented"
- A path to citizenship should be implemented to deal with the 30 million already here
- Congress needs to re-write the current immigration laws to streamline and make it easier and faster for legal immigration to occur.
Where Are We Heading?
If nothing is done on this issue, the future of our nation is in jeopardy. That statement may sounds extreme but is it?
What defines a nation?
Take a good close look around many of our cities across the nation. Can you identify with these cities? Do they reflect the demographics and culture and language we associated with America?
There are some cities in California that looks like downtown Beijing. There are places in the 5 Boroughs of NYC that looks like Bombay, India. I have nothing against any ethnic group. I love Chinatown and Little Italy...that is not what I am complaining about. We have whole cities that are of one ethnic group to the almost exclusion of all others. That is when the nation's identity begins to loose shape. There is a town near where I live where Spanish is the only language acceptible. Another town has a Spanish translator on the local court's payroll. Every case conducted in that court is translated live to Spanish regardless whether the defendent is of Spanish descent. How crazy is that?
Let's take this to a logical conclusion. Suppose any nation decide to open its borders to allow anyone who wishes to come in. Can you imagine what would happen in a few short years? Do you see Japan or Switzerland or even Mexico doing this? Why not?
Once we take the emotions out of this issue, it should be clear to all that a solution is within reach and can be achieved. It can be done slowly in piecemeal and incrementally. The benefits will be felt by all including the undocumented. They can finally get out of the shadows and live with pride. The rule of law applies equally to all.
© 2017 Jack Lee