Green Room

Re-Framing the Immigration Debate

posted at 10:06 am on July 17, 2012 by

In high school, I attended classes with teenagers from all over the world. As a student at an international boarding school, I rubbed shoulders with classmates from China, South Korea, Russia, Mexico, and several other nations. I tried different foods, learned words in Chinese and Korean, and made friends who grew up half way across the world. I loved it. I enjoyed seeing people from different nations taking advantage of the blessings of freedom. Whether they stayed after graduation or went back to their home nation, we welcomed them with open arms in the small town of Atchison, Kansas. I learned quickly that in the United States, we love taking in immigrants and visitors to our nation who aim to create a better life for themselves and for their families. It’s the American Dream after all. Today, I am personally offended when I hear liberals call conservatives anti-immigration or against people of different skin colors. I learned to embrace my classmates in high school and enjoy interacting with immigrants to this day. I discovered long ago that “anti-immigrant” labels are far from the truth when it comes to conservatives.

Liberals often labels conservatives “anti-immigrant,” or worse, “racist” because we take a hard-line stance on illegal immigration. However, the fallacy in this type of statement is that liberals rarely separate “legal” and “illegal” immigration. Most Americans, conservatives and liberals alike, are strongly in favor of the former. Opinions on the latter category, however, produce divisiveness. Conservatives often preach the dangers of poorly-guarded borders and the economic damage illegal immigration creates. Liberals weave stories of hard-luck illegal immigrants who “live in the shadows” and work low paying jobs at dangerous locales. My answer to this type of commentary: It’s time for a little personal responsibility. Who is really to blame for their predicament? If you don’t respect the rule of law and enter this country the right way, there are consequences. Unfortunately, those consequences extend far beyond individual illegal immigrants.

Illegal immigration has a broad negative impact on both our economy and our security. The American-Mexican border is a war zone. An estimated 35,000 people have died as a result of the Mexican cartel wars on the border. As our illegal immigration laws become more lax, that danger is seeping over the border at a startling rate. And don’t forget about the fiscal impact. The estimated federal, state and local costs of illegal immigration total $113 billion. We currently have the “worst economy since the great depression,” don’t we?  The last thing taxpayers need is a larger federal deficit.

Most importantly, we need to ensure that America is still a nation where freedom thrives. We must provide incentives for immigrants and ensure that immigration is streamlined and simple. Right now, legal immigration is too cumbersome and waits are too long. If people want to take advantage of the America dream, our immigration system should not halt their progress. Additionally, once immigrants make it to the U.S., we must ensure that they are rewarded with all of the blessings of freedom. This includes making sure our economy is strong and our laws are respected. While the former might be more pressing, the latter is also important. Many people come to the U.S. in order to flee from corruption in their own nation. What will they think of our government if we don’t enforce our own laws? No immigrant wants to escape a corrupt nation by running into the arms of another crooked legal system.

What if I told you that conservatives are in favor of a path to citizenship? Of course we are. It’s called legal immigration. The “pathway to citizenship” conservatives support is not simply a euphemism for “amnesty.” We are “pro-immigration” rather than solely “anti-illegal immigration.” While I reject the notion that “illegal immigrant” is an offensive and/or racist title, let’s throw it out, true as it may be, and stick to “pro-immigration.” We’ll make it much further in the debate if we are “for” something rather than “against” something.

Conservatives truly understand the plight of those “yearning to breathe free” in America. However, that doesn’t authorize breaking the law. Liberals, it’s important not to mistake feelings for facts and let your desires for “social justice” get in the way of rationality. We need to make the wise choice, not the expedient one. So please don’t tell me I’m anti-immigrant or against people of different races. I’m against illegal immigration because I value this nation and its ability to serve as a sanctuary for the poor and oppressed all over the world. Illegal immigration destroys both our security and economy. In the words of Ronald Reagan, “If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.” Let’s make sure people all around the world are able to escape to America in the future and take advantage of the many blessings of freedom.

Originally Posted on The College Conservative

 

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Soon enough of the illegal-aliens who Obama decided to give work permits will be fired by employers who objects to employing someone who entered the country illegally that a discrimination lawsuit will be filed. The fallout when the Obama administration tries to treat illegal-aliens as a protected class will be fun to watch.

agmartin on July 17, 2012 at 12:47 PM

We need to use the proper term. We can be pro-immigration, but anti-illegal immigration. We choose the rule of law, or we are sunk anyway.

If you think the libtards will let you get away with simply a change in terms, you are sadly mistaken. Call the Libtards what they are – pro-criminal and say it loud and long, because that’s exactly what they are.

Quartermaster on July 17, 2012 at 1:18 PM

While I agree with much of Amy’s post, I can’t say I agree that we should provide refuge for all the people who wish to come to this nation. WE CANNOT ACCOMMODATE THEM ALL.

There are 7 Billion people in the world and we can’t possible accommodate all those among them who would like to live in the US. The best we can do is promote freedom and democracy abroad.

As to reforming our immigration system, I’m all for it. I’d like to peg immigration to a 5% unemployment rate. We have 23 million people in the US who are either unemployed or underemployed. They come first. This nation already accepts over 1 million legal immigrants per year. On average, about 100,000 per month. Of this number, about 750,000 are deemed legal immigrants and about 250,000 are asylum seekers. We can’t offer these people gainful employment without displacing citizens and legal immigrants who are already here.

I’d like to see the quota system, which was introduced in the 60′s, done away with completely. In its place we should institute the same requirements of other developed nation which provide for accepting only those immigrant with skills that are in demand in the US which cannot be supplied by citizens or legal immigrants already here. We have far too many low skilled and unskilled workers.

I am NOT in favor of making it easier to come to this nation. Potential immigrants must submit to background checks, physical examinations, be skilled, be able to show means of supporting themselves so that they are not a burden to the taxpayer or a tax on our resources, learn our language and familiarize themselves with our laws and customs as well as meeting other exiting criteria. What one earns through merit is valued. Immigrants who meet these criteria will readily and gladly assimilate into our culture and our society and value the opportunity to do so.

There is nothing wrong with being against breaking the law. Courageous, law abiding people must take a stand for the rule of law. If we do not, it will not stand and society, and our nation will be destroyed.In this respect the battle over illegal immigration is larger than itself. It is the battle for the rule of law, and with it rests the future of our society and our nation.

thatsafactjack on July 17, 2012 at 4:46 PM

In high school, I attended classes with teenagers from all over the world…we welcomed them with open arms in the small town of Atchison, Kansas.

.
You sound like quite the multicultural expert with your high school and its approximately 45 international students and your 88% white town of Atchison. You should mosey on over here to California and stay a spell to get a feel for how immigration can impact cultures and communities over a large span of time.
.

thatsafactjack on July 17, 2012 at 4:46 PM

.
Outstatnding post Sir. I am so tired of hearing people say “It’s only illegal immigration we’re opposed to.” No, we need to stop the ongoing damage from that suicidal 60′s immigration law. One million legal immigrants a year. That’s the size of the North Korean Army. And most of those million are not the brightest and best the World has to offer, but the relatives of other immigrants who have become naturalized citizens. And as a final little factoid, that one million we take in is larger than the next top four Countries combined.

weathermen on July 18, 2012 at 2:12 AM