By Graham Glover –
What shall we do with our immigrants? Keep them? Deport them? Assimilate them? Ghettoize them? Embrace them? Ignore them?
If you have the answer to these questions, I know 435 Representatives, 100 Senators, and 1 President who need your counsel, because none of them can seem to figure out what to do.
Some think America has an immigrant problem. Others say it’s not a problem at all. Like so much of our modern political debate, the issue(s) at hand are seldom addressed, with sound-bites and inflamed rhetoric directing much of the discourse.
This is not to suggest that The Emperor’s Chair has a solution. I don’t. There are way too many intricacies to come up with some all-encompassing answer. But what I do have is a wish to abandon the distinction between those we call “legal” and “illegal” immigrants. An immigrant is an immigrant. Period. Our nation’s outstanding question is what to do with them. That’s it.
To categorize these individuals in any other way does nothing to address a way forward with America’s immigration policy. In fact, it only hinders it by taking our attention away from debating the merits of sound public policy and focusing it instead on derogatory labeling, which in turn only exacerbates the already inflamed rhetoric dividing our nation on this issue.
You might think my call is merely one of semantics, that removing labels is petty and will do nothing to get at the heart of the issue. We must distinguish the illegal immigrants from the legal ones, many claim. On the whole, Americans want the later and aren’t sure what to do about the former. But we cannot separate these two groups, the pundits exclaim.
I couldn’t disagree more. I think such distinctions are frivolous and another example of our dysfunctional political system preventing us from addressing the real question: Does America want to shut down the borders or keep them open? That’s it. That’s the only question the immigration debate should concern itself with, and it’s time we answer it with an all or nothing resolution. There should be no more middle ground – no middle of the road solution to this one. We either welcome anyone into this great land of opportunity or turn away everyone who is not already a citizen.
No more legals. No more illegals. Only immigrants – who will either be welcomed or stopped at the border.
Why make the debate so black and white? Because trying to play both sides of the aisle doesn’t work. If we value immigrants then all who meet the legal requirements should be allowed to seek citizenship. If we think immigrants pose a security or financial risk to our nation then we should turn them all away. If we want America to continue to be a melting pot of different races, creeds, and languages, then we open the borders even wider than they are now. If we want America to somehow become more homogeneous or keep its current make-up, then why would we allow any more immigrants to make their home among us? Immigration either works or it doesn’t. Immigrants are a value-added asset to our populous or they are a drain on our resources who need no place among us.
This is the question. I’m curious, what’s your answer?