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Immigration: Convoluted Thinking

US Statue of Liberty

All Americans are immigrants, even the so-called native Americans who migrated from Siberia. In my case, I am an immigrant of color. Every since the President cracked down on illegal immigrants, it seems every day we have multiple op-eds in the media saying we are betraying our values. The arguments made do not pass the logic test. 

ICE Agent

(a) We are a nation of immigrants, so we should not stop immigration. No one has called for zero-immigration. The government is seeking only to enforce existing laws against illegal immigration. In 2016, the US welcomed  1.5-million legal immigrants . 

(b) We are violating the promise of the poem engraved on the Statute of Liberty. Look people, it’s an inspirational sonnet written by a patriotic American. Its not a legal contract or a constitutional imperative. Surely, we can agree that there was a time any reasonably healthy person was welcome because the US needed more people. Does that still hold in a world approaching 8-billion people? In 1800, there were less than 1-billion. 

Food line in Venezuela

(c) The very recent refusal to grant asylum for victims of domestic violence and gang warfare has aroused a passion of “We’re denying these folks their last hope”. Since when, however, is the US responsible for the world’s victims? Let’s reverse that for a moment. Suppose a resident of the United States asks for asylum in Canada because he lives in an area of the US afflicted by gangs and fears for his life. Will the Canadians accept that as a legitimate ground for asylum? Are we giving Venezuelans asylum because they are living on starvation diets, experiencing a collapse of medical care, subject to rising levels of criminal violence, denied legal rights, even be murdered by Maduro’s security forces?

Israeli Border Wall

 (d) A wall can never work. Really? If by “cannot work” people mean an unpoliced wall that just sits there, obviously it can and will be breached. A wall, however, is only one essential part of a multi-layered protection system. Despite our police, thousands of crimes a day are committed. Should we then dispense with the police?

One of the strangest arguments in favor of uncontrolled immigration is on the lines of “my grandmother was an illegal immigrant, but she won a Nobel Prize.” That’s great, and that’s why Mr. Trump has broached the idea of immigration on merit, such as Australia and Canada require.

Australia severely restricts immigration.

There can be no argument that President Trump has, for no good reason, made himself look heartless on immigration. By separating families, he attempted to create a deterrent. But for emotional reasons, this is not workable. That President Obama did the same thing is no argument. Surely, we of the center and the right don’t want to use Mr. Obama as any kind of example against which we judge President Trump! Similarly, President Trump has raised an excellent point: why does anyone who breaches the border have an automatic right to due process? But he cannot issue an executive order requiring people be pushed back across the border. The law of the land gives illegals due process. The law has first to be changed. 

Ultimately, a country of 325-million that is only 12th richest in the world cannot take responsibility for 6-billion people who are less fortunate. Immigration should be tailored to the country’s net benefit, and it should take place legally. 





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Ravi Rikhye
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