Immigration Makes Economy Sense, Democracy, Justice, Family Sense
Immigration is the fresh air America thrives on. You deprive America of immigration and you are depriving oxygen. Immigration is fundamental to America's identity in a way that might not be true of any other country. Immigration is what makes America America.
The debate can not be if you are for or against immigration. The debate has to be as to how best to manage immigration. The past generations have been hostile to new immigrants. That does not mean this generation has to do it all over again.
If you are against illegal immigration, instead of trying to stench the flow, expand the legality.
Match willing workers with willing employers. And tax them both. And it is no taxation without representation. Give them voting rights. Then pave way for permanent residency, and then citizenship.
As to those who get cross-cultural jitters, let them eat cake, let them learn Spanish as a second language.
These immigrants spread democracy and wealth and economic reform in their countries of origin. They in the process save the US tens of billions of dollars that might have been otherwise spent on old fashioned defense and diplomacy work. These immigrants spread optimism and vitality. They exude work ethic working for peanuts. Don't demonize them. They are more American than the Americans. They believe in America more. Look at all the hardships they put up with just to be in America.
And for the positive effect they have in their countries of origin, they are going to help change those countries such that the pressure for immigration is going to weaken over time. Those countries themselves are going to start offering opportunities that people come to America for. Immigration is not about opening up the floodgates, but rather about spreading the American ideal of democracy far and wide in the best way possible. This is not about inviting in three billion people who live on $2 a day or less. This is about inviting in a few million, the cream of the crop, who will have beneficial effects on those three billion in ways the formal US government machinery is simply incapable of. You open up the gates, they come in, they work, they pay taxes, they create wealth that did not exist before, and they spread that wealth creation back to their home countries.
To his credit, President Bush has been singing many of the right tunes on the topic. I guess he has Hispanics in his family. Jeb Bush' wife is Hispanic, I think. And there are a lot of them in Texas, his home state. And he is president because of the Hispanic vote. And he speaks broken Spanish.
And John McCain has been a hero on this issue. Kudos.
Make immigration legal, make it humane, make it well managed and productive. Get creative about it. The Global South wave of immigrants should not have to go through the rough treatment the earlier East Europeans might have gone through, the Irish might have gone through. Lessons have to be learned from history.
Immigration is an emotionally charged issue, and that is why there has to be plentiful debate. All sides have to be heard and heard well, even those who are opposed to the idea, for in expressing their unwarranted fears they will have taken one step closer to becoming more understanding. Let the healing and growth take place through a robust, wide dialogue.
The unions that are opposed to the guest worker program should instead work to get these guest workers voting rights so as to expand their ranks and in the process get greater collective national power.
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