Immigration

First and foremost, I support treating people with dignity, respect, and human decency.  I support people having a place to go that is safe and away from anyone with the intention to do harm.  While I do support these things, I also believe in following the rules and doing what is required to become a legal citizen.  But how can one do that if nobody seems to know what the actual process entails?


What is the problem?

I don’t think anyone truly knows what the actual problem is.  I think that our politics on both sides have used this as part of their platform, but nobody is doing anything to find a solution.  The longer we wait, the bigger the problem becomes.  With all the talk about it, you would think something would have been done by now, but nothing has been done.  It’s all talk.  If you think the border wall is a solution, it’s not.  Walls can be climbed, tunneled under, or walked around.  Anyone who has built a retaining wall in their yard knows that a wall like that is very expensive and typically STARTS around $10,000.  So if a little decorative wall costs that much - to build a solid wall that is strong, hundreds of miles long, and tall enough to keep people out is going to be insanely expensive.  How upsetting it would be to finish that wall and lose all that money for it to not even work.  It is better to find an actual solution to the problem than to waste any more money on a temporary Band-Aid.  What’s worse is that Republicans diverted money from our military to pay for that wall.  Then they want to complain about how homeless veterans are treated poorly and cry about how little they get paid.  We need to come together and find a real solution.  To do that, we need to truly understand why people choose to risk everything by crossing illegally instead of just following the process. 

Personally, I have heard and witnessed so many different scenario’s and I don’t know what is true when it comes to becoming a US citizen.  I have many friends who have obtained visas and legal citizenship over the years and I do know that it is an intense process, but doable.  My guess is that this issue has been politicized to extremes by both sides and there is no telling what is true when it comes to obtaining citizenship.  If our own citizens don’t know the process or what is factual, how can we fix the problem?  Clearly there is a problem, but we need to know what the problem actually is in order to fix it.  WHY are people crossing the border instead of following the process that many others have been able to?  Some may say the problem is solely people crossing the border.  Okay – but we need to go deeper than that and find out why exactly they are crossing the border and how we can stop it.  A wall isn’t a fix – it’s a Band-Aid.  I would imagine that if the process were straightforward, people would opt to follow the rules vs risking everything by coming here illegally.  Where there’s a will - there’s a way.  Anyone determined to get away from something or get somewhere else, they will find a way to do it no matter what they must do.

 

What do we do with the people who are here illegally right now?

The ONLY way to fix this problem is to offer a safe way for people here illegally to come forward.   If this process isn’t safe and guaranteed safe, they won’t come forward.   Once they do come forward, they need to get documented and start following the process.  The more we scare these people into hiding, the less likely we will ever truly know how many undocumented immigrants are in this country.  Lack of action has gotten us into this mess and both parties are to blame for it.  We can build walls and keep scaring them into hiding, but it will never help fix the problem.  It is better to give them a path to legally follow while they are here and find a solution to keep others from crossing illegally.  I do think they should have to wait a little longer to obtain full citizenship than someone starting the process from their home country - as it isn’t fair to those that do follow the actual process.  They would only have one shot to come forward, otherwise they would have to follow the process from their home country.  It is also worth noting how much these individuals are likely contributing to our economy.  Getting rid of them can hurt us in more ways than we think.  Not to mention all the jobs available that employers are having trouble filling; this could be a beneficial solution in more ways than one.  We clearly have many positions that employers are eager to fill.  This could very well be a solution to our success as a nation.  Going any other route could be detrimental and have repercussions.

The Military and the Border Wall

The border wall is useless and isn’t going to stop anyone.  Anyone can climb, tunnel under, or walk around a wall.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  Someone determined will find a way to get around the wall.  Undocumented individuals are proof as they had a WILL to be in this country and found a WAY to do it.  Would you let a wall stop you from having a better life or being safe from anyone trying to do you harm? 

The worst part of this wall is that Republicans literally took money from our military to fund it.  Despite Republican claims that they support our military, they really don’t.  We all watched Donald Trump defund them as he left office.  It took an override from congress to ensure they weren’t defunded.  Even with this direct knowledge, half the country still strongly supports Donald Trump.  Additionally, we have watched many, not all, Republicans vote against anything that would actually benefit our military.  This wall is now a constant reminder to all of us as to what Republicans will do to take from our military and support their own agenda.  We could have used that money to actually help homeless veterans or give out well deserved raises.  Just like with this immigration issue, I feel that both parties use our military for political gain, but nothing has been done to fix these issues.   Our military deserves better from both parties.   

 

My View

I am the grandson of 3 immigrants and a Native American.  Even though I have Native American heritage, I know that I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for sacrifices my immigrant grandparents made.  I also recognize that my native ancestors also made many sacrifices.  I put myself in each of their shoes and recognize that I could be growing up in any of their native countries and I wouldn’t have the same freedoms I do today.  For example, I saw the dangers of the Afghanistan withdrawal and realized that had my grandfather not come to America, I could have been one of those people trying to escape the Taliban.  I never take my citizenship for granted and I am grateful that I didn’t have to face the struggles of obtaining citizenship in this great country of ours.  

I think it is important for EVERY American to realize that most of us didn’t have to work for our citizenship.  It was freely handed to us.  Again, we are literally living off sacrifices many of our ancestors made.  This includes the abuse African and Native American people went through in this very country.  Many of us were born with a silver spoon and act like our citizenship was owed to us.  We don’t stop to think about what people had to go through for our freedom and safety.  Not everyone wins the lottery of being born American and I am very grateful I made the cut.  Every decision I make is based on how I can honor my ancestors and show them my gratitude for their sacrifices.  The way I see it, they did the hard work and gave me a gift before I was even born.  How I use my citizenship is a direct reflection of how I honor them and their sacrifices for me to be here. 

I believe in karma.  I believe in doing the right thing and treating others with kindness.   I feel that I am very fortunate to be in this country and I will do whatever is necessary to help people find safety and freedom.  With that said, I do my part to help others and be a good person.  Also being a believer in reincarnation, I feel that how I conduct myself on earth this time around can dictate where I end up in my next life.   I don't want to be the one living in unsafe conditions and being treated inhumanly in my next life.  I believe that our decisions and actions have consequences, and I will do what is necessary to ensure that I hit the American jackpot in the next life as well.  I will be kind to others and ensure that ALL HUMAN BEINGS are safe and have the same rights and freedoms as I do.  What if your next life forces you to experience the things you watched others go through?  What if you become the one on the other side of the wall?  What if you have to make the tough decision to leave your child behind so they have a better life?  Regardless of what you think happens after we die, do you really want to risk ending up in this situation if you can help it?

Our decisions have consequences and karma always works its way around.  Make your decisions wisely.

 

Immigrant Children

The saddest part of all this is the children who are impacted in these situations.  For a parent to abandon their child at the border tells us all we need to know about how bad things really are.  Most parents I know would go above and beyond for their children.  Nobody just abandons their kid unless they are desperate and truly believe it is the best thing for them.  If they wanted to hurt their kid, they wouldn’t even bother bringing them to the border.  We should be doing all we can to not only protect these children, but we should be trying to keep these families together.  The trauma these kids are going through now only sets the tone for what we can look forward to in the future.  If you read my sections on both mental health and the foster care system, I can guarantee what is next for many of these children.  The foster care system is bad, but the problems these kids are going through is like the current foster care system on steroids.  The statistics for foster kids aren’t pretty and these immigrant children are likely to turn out even worse than the kids who leave the system.  We need to do something to change this outcome and we need to do it NOW. 

Acceptance

We all want to be accepted for who we are and hope others are kind to us and respect our differences.  Coming to a new country is not an easy task and trying to assimilate can feel nearly impossible.  Yes, there may be many who don’t speak English, but many of our ancestors probably didn’t either.  I know my great-grandparents could only read and write in French and Portuguese when they first came to America - according to census records.  My grandparents came as babies and never passed their native languages down.  We owe it to our ancestors to be good people and do for others what they may have wished others would have done for them.  Compassion and understanding is something that America has sadly lost along the way.  What happened to us?  Just think about how scary it would be to escape your home, leave everything behind, and move to a foreign place just to feel safe and have freedom.  Only for people to be mean because you don’t speak their language or just because you weren’t born American.  It is really sad to think about because a lot of immigrants are some of the kindest people I have ever met and they are extremely grateful to be here.  Whereas many of us take our citizenship for granted and don’t even think about how our ancestors felt when they first set foot on American soil.  They too were likely kind and grateful.  There were people before us who left everything behind to escape from whatever it was they were running from.  It’s time to work together and have some compassion for these people.  All they are looking for is a chance to have what was freely given to most of us. 

America is better than where we are heading.  We all need to return to being the good people our ancestors were when they set foot on this land.  Or some of us need to fix the damage our ancestors did by becoming a good person on their behalf.  The power is in each of our hands.