The 1,954 mile border with Mexico has turned into a defacto “Open Border.” Be it land or the Rio Grande river, illegal immigrants are crossing our borders in record numbers and the consequences of this action will take years and many dollars to fix, if it is ever fixed.
The history our country is one of immigrants, who made our country what it is today. They came from all over the world to build this great country, and what were they offered? A chance at unlimited success by their own sweat and hard work, to succeed in a country of equal opportunity. The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France, is a symbol of the opportunities afforded to legal immigrants as they arrive.
When America was founded, it was indeed a country of open borders. We had lots of land and few people to settle it. However, by the end of the Civil War (1865), a patch work of immigration laws started to appear. Basically, our country still had open borders, but that would soon disappear.
America still welcomes legal immigrants. For example, our country has the H-1B visa for professionals, such as engineers, computer scientists, and other technical persons, and requires the holder to have at least a bachelors degree. The limit for this visa is 65,000 people per year, and allows an additional 20,000 people with masters degrees. These people are in high demand and easily fit into our society, yet often wait years for visa approval.
Unfortunately, many people who desire to come here do not qualify for the H-1B visa, are not willing to wait in line, and are willing to take the risks involved in illegal border crossing.
Mexico has had a very strong policy against allowing illegal immigrants to cross their southern border. Now, however, Mexico has signed an agreement with Guatamala and Belize, the two countries that connect with Mexico’s southern border. This allows illegals a free unencumbered 72 hour pass to travel through Mexico. In other words, Mexico is enabling illegal immigrants to pass through their country along the way to America.
Its important to remember that Mexican citizens are treated differently than other border crossers. Mexicans can be sent back to Mexico without a hearing. However, other than Mexicans are allowed to have a hearing in front of an immigration judge, with the government paying for a lawyer to represent the individual. In the meantime, they are allowed to stay here in this country, to await their hearing. This is turning into a major problem.
Estimates for the cost of housing and taking care of these people range anywhere from $250 to about $1,000 per person per day. Many of the people crossing the border are juveniles and without adult supervision. When they cross the border they are immediately turning themselves into the Border Patrol because they know they will not be immediately deported. Instead, they will be given meals, housed, and their medical problems taken care of while they await that elusive immigration hearing, which may be months or even years away. Many will never show up for their immigration hearing.
Over the years, America has turned from an agrarian society to a technical society. Unfortunately, many of the illegal immigrants that are crossing our southern border do not have a technical background, instead they have an agrarian background, creating a real problem. With their education and command of the English language limited, they usually wind up as day laborers or domestic workers.
Our immigration laws give more credence to family reunification than to people who can help our country grow, such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) graduates. This perpetuates a steady stream of low skilled immigrants who increasingly have difficulty in fitting into our society, and then wind up partaking of our generous social programs, rather than contributing to them. Many of these recent border crossers have no documentation on who they really are.
The reasons for the immigration are varied and there is no consistent agreement. Some believe the immigrants are driven north by the drug gangs which populate Mexico and countries further south, which supply the growing U.S. drug habit. Others believe it is our generous social and welfare programs. Still others believe it is the relaxed border policy of the current administration in open defiance of existing law, by allowing illegal immigrants to stay without fear of deportation.
Whatever the reason, our country cannot long survive if we do not protect our borders. The cost of feeding and housing the thousands who are crossing our southern border is not sustainable, and daily adds to our already burdening national debt. Our unemployment is still high and there are many Americans who are out of work.
Whatever the source of the problem, the strong social safety net is definitely part of the equation. Even the very liberal Nobel prize winning economist, Paul Krugman, recognized a problem with our generous social programs when he said, “…open immigration can’t exist with a strong social safety net; if you’re going to assure healthcare and a decent income to everyone, you can’t make that offer global….”
Open borders anyone ???
- Bob Hancock