Sunday, July 15, 2007

Liberty for All

It's fairly likely that you recently participated in Fourth of July celebrations. It is also likely that there were fireworks, patriotic music and ice cream. If you attended one of the bigger ones, you may have been treated to fighter jets zooming more closely overhead than you were comfortable with and making all the babies cry.

We take pride in being American, some of us do anyway. Being American is about independence, personal liberty, international power. For some, it's about being white and speaking English. That's why we want to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out, and insist upon passports in the hands of every Canadian at the border to the North (they are a bit more civilized than the Mexicans, after all; and might find a wall insulting). Whether the literal and/or figurative walls actually get built, there is no denying that Americans exhibit an overwhelming sentiment against letting large groups of outsiders in easily.

[Here's an interesting immigration antecdote. Stories like this one suggest rather strongly that immigration policy is in need of reform.]

With this in mind, here are some questions for consideration:

  • Should the US adopt a policy of amnesty for current illegal immigrants?
  • Should the US be responsible for opening her doors to particular oppressed groups (i.e. Iraqis)?
  • What other policies might help fix the immigration problem (trade, labor, etc.)?
  • Is the government responsible for making the citizenship/immigration process accessible/comprehensible/reasonably efficient?


whatyoudream said...

This is a topic on which I'm anxious to hear from others. I don't know where to start researching this issue and hope that I can start to have at least a slightly informed opinion about it.

I do have to admit, though it may be extremely disgusting to some of you, that I am a pretty patriotic American. I love this place and think we do a lot more right than we do wrong. (I am very aware of the long list of things anyone could say we do wrong.) Immigration policy plays a serious part in where our country is headed socially, culturally, politically, religiously and economically, so while I recognize its importance, I just am not informed enough on the issue to know how best to manage it.

Can't wait to hear your opinions.

Sammee said...

I am so uninformed and confused about the immigrant issue. I think we should research how other smaller countries that have a high intake of immigrants navigate the issue and work against over-crowding and over-use of national resources. For instance, the UK is much, much smaller than the USA and also has a history of immigration, although illegal immigration is more difficult because of the country being an island.

I honestly never know what to say about the immigrant issue. What exactly are the GOP's issues? They are concerned about national resources, right? Do they really think that's a problem?

thecrazydreamer said...

I am sorry I haven't posted sooner, but I've been really busy lately. I do want to throw in some opinion and try to stir the pot a little for conversation.

My proposal is that we simply open the flood gates. Make a couple simple rules: 1. If you can get a legal job, and 2. If you can get a legal residence, you're welcome and you're a citizen.

I hear a lot of complaints against immigration, like immigrants taking our jobs (dey took arrr jobs). I wonder if a Texan who had this complaint would be just as upset about a boy from Chicago moving down to Texas and taking a job, or if its simply racially/nationalistically motivated. Regardless, anytime there's a large number of people in a free market, it's going to create jobs not just fill them.

I've heard overpopulation as an excuse. I don't buy it. I live in a city with 3 million people, and I get along just fine. What I'm saying is, cities can support lots of people. And there are about a million cities in the U.S. with fewer people than that. Sure, it's going to take work to get a city's infrastructure established to handle more citizens... but if the immigrants are paying taxes, then you've got the resources to do it.

It may initially be a strain on the economy to provide education and health care for a large number of immigrants, but if they're legal, they'll be sharing the burden and eventually carrying the burden for the rest of us.

All that to simply suggest that the problem is illegal immigration, the solution is legal immigration.

whatyoudream said...

That argument makes a lot of sense to me, tcd, but I feel like it must be missing something. People feel so passionately about this issue on both sides, so I feel like there must be a sentiment on the opposing side that makes sense also.