Finally, after years of stagnation and sound bites, the government has begun to propose tangible action regarding immigration reform in the United States of America, and not just the patchwork jobs of previous years.
Immigration, one of the many divisive issues facing the country at face value seems impossible to fix. Currently, there are over 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, and in addition to the many Latino immigrants that are swiftly shifting the majority of the population, there are Arabs, Irish, refugees, professors, students and families and all different kinds of people in the category as well.
We as a nation need to drop the foolish and dangerous idea that the colossal puzzle of immigration reform relates solely to Latinos. Granted, Latinos make up a large chunk of that population, but in order for real change to come, it must be malleable for all demographics.
But first and foremost, let’s be real. When President Obama says, “the time for immigration reform has come,” it means that the issue is so far-gone, there is no choice but to act—and therein is the most frustrating aspect of our nation’s government.
There is no action unless the fire alarm has gone off or the water in the pot has boiled over, as we recently saw with the fiscal cliff negotiations. And the byproduct of a lackadaisical government is haphazard deals that must be revisited months and years later to the misfortune of the American people.
Similar to the knee-jerk reactions by the nation in the aftermath of the horrible shootings at Sandy Hook, the nation cannot afford to be on its heels at every corner in an exclusively reactive state. Thousands of innocent civilians live in fear due to the gun violence in many of our urban communities, yet no one seems to be surprised when a young black boy is gunned down in the street.
I use this example to say that the government has a chance to end this nagging bug once and for all. The country cannot afford another Band-Aid solution.
And just like the families and individuals who are living in fear of being gunned-down, there are many illegal immigrants who are afraid to even walk around outside or say the wrong thing in the fear of being reported.
Am I giving a pass to illegal immigrants? Not in the slightest. But I deeply believe that we as a nation must change our attitudes when it comes to immigrants, as they have much more to offer this nation than they have to take away. Unfortunately, this country makes obtaining legal status harder than robbing a bank.
The DREAM Act, put into legislation back in 2009, has tumultuous requirements outside of the seemingly simple process that states you must be between 12 and 35 at the tie of enactment, you must have proof of five years of residence on American soil, proof of entering the United States before 16 years of age, a high school diploma or GED, registration for selective service and the ultra-ambiguous prerequisite of good moral character.
Sure it’s a step in the right direction, but most folks don’t know about the steep costs of achieving this joke of a path to citizenship. Plus, if you’re denied, you’re screwed.
Why must we look at illegals as taking away when they can offer so much more? If these individuals were so driven to come to America in the first place, to find work for themselves and their families, why doesn’t it make sense to make a way for them to become legal citizens? It is beyond obvious that these hard-working individuals could bolster our economy instead of drain it. However, there will be a drain if we continue to do nothing and try to police them around and spend tax-payer dollars to put them in prison or deport them.
Even more absurd, there are thousands of international students studying at American universities, and we don’t make it a simple process for those who wish to remain here and work after their education.
Illegal immigrants are here and there are a plethora of them indeed and they are not going anywhere. Does it make sense to exhaust all of the energy to make it harder and harder for them to make sustainable lives here?
Again, I don’t want immigrants here illegally any more than the next guy, but these people are here for a reason. Whether they took a shortcut to get here or not, immigrants want to be Americans.
If I had the solution, I probably wouldn’t be enrolled here anymore, but I do know that the status quo of makeshift initiatives and intolerant attitudes is not going to solve the problem.