So with all the stuff going on about immigration and the horrible stuff with families at the border, here are some of my thoughts on it, given that my parents and most of the rest of my family here in the US were immigrants (who happened to do all the appropriate legal paperwork to immigrate here, but that’s besides the point). First, I’m going to make these two assumptions:
- Proper border security is good and necessary for preventing the smuggling of contraband as well as keeping legitimate criminals (the aforementioned smugglers, known/confirmed gang/cartel members, war criminals, etc.) out of the country, or at least apprehending them so they can be subject to appropriate due process when they do try to enter the country.
- Reasonable, but fair, immigration limits are an unfortunate necessity as, lacking a post-scarcity economy, unlimited immigration is probably not economically viable. I’m not going to discuss what constitutes “reasonable” as there are all sorts of subtleties involved there, but fair at the very least means no restrictions or preferences based on religion, national origin, etc.
Now, my own family was only able to immigrate here due to changes in the law during the Kennedy administration that removed the per-nation immigration cap in favor of more of a “first come, first serve” yearly cap without preference for national origin. This, combined with so-called “chain migration” is why my family, and now me, is here in the US today. Of course, some of the paperwork and other processes were a pain for them (my mom, who came here before my dad, had to basically get married twice to sponsor my dad to come over – once by a justice of the peace in Portugal before having her “proper” church wedding here in the States) and definitely could use reform, but overall they seem to feel that the system as it was for them wasn’t too ridiculous.
That said, they are fully in favor of making the system easier, and I can’t disagree with them. Essentially, the only discriminatory restriction my mom (sadly my dad is no longer with us) thinks is reasonable is a criminal background check of some sort. As far as those already here illegally, my mom is fully in favor of legalizing their status provided that they’ve been here long enough to establish a life (i.e. if you were caught 24 hours after illegally crossing the border, you can be deported, but if you’ve been here for several years, started a family, etc., you should have a chance to stay), haven’t committed any felonies (illegal border jumping is merely a misdemeanor), and pay any back taxes plus perhaps some sort of not ridiculously huge penalty fine as you did break the law. All reasonable given my previous assumptions.
Going back to what’s going on at the border, both of us are dead-set against it. I haven’t talked to her about what should be done with the families, but I’m thinking something along the lines of halfway houses or something else humane to keep the families together in a non-prison environment and just long enough to either validate their asylum claims (which, if legitimate, should be accepted no matter the reason for them) or send them back over the border together if something doesn’t check out and assuming the families aren’t doing anything shady like smuggling. Again, ideally I’d like for even those not seeking asylum but who otherwise have clean histories to stay legally, but assumption #2 above states that they can’t, so we can at least send them back as humanely as possible.
Of course, if someone with more economic knowledge than me can give a reason why assumption #2 is invalid, I’d love to hear it. Also, while I feel a limit is a necessary evil, it’s also entirely possible that the current limit can be greatly increased without damaging the economy.