Immigration is good for our nation!

Democrats need to stop buying into the idea that immigration in and of itself is “bad”. We have a broken immigration system, but immigration into the United States is not a bad thing. In fact, immigration is a GOOD thing for our nation. Unfortunately, the media and even elected officials on the Democratic side of the aisle accept the GOP premise that immigration is “bad.” We must reject this premise and call upon our elected leaders to do the same.

Contrary to what you may have heard we need immigrants. We have a declining birth rate in the US and we need more people coming into this country as a result. We have a job shortage of both low level and high-level jobs. We have a doctor shortage particularly among internists and family practice doctors and certain sub specialists like neurologists. We have a lack of low skilled workers, jobs that many Americans do not want, from farm workers to other low-level jobs. Immigrants could fill these much-needed positions. Immigrants once here work hard and are productive. Immigrants are twice as likely to start a business than are nonimmigrants and thus can spur economic growth.

Immigrants do not create crime. They have one of the lowest crime rates in the nation of any group. Why? They want to stay here! They are motivated not to commit crime. The lie that immigrants are criminals was spread by Trump but sadly, it has been a long time GOP talking point.

Did you know if you apply through legal routes to come to the US, the wait time is on average a decade or more. According to a Cato Institute study from June 2019, more than 100,000 people waited a decade or more before they were permitted to apply for a green card as of 2018, so that they could enter our county legally. According to Cato if a Mexican American, for example, files a petition to bring over a sibling that lives in Mexico, the process to get an interview for a green card could take more than 20 years. The Philippines has the most extended wait times to reunite siblings, which is about 23 years for a chance to apply for a green card. Currently, the State Department is processing applications for siblings from Mexico that were filed in September 1998. Once approved, it would allow the sibling to move to the U.S., but it takes another three to five years before the green card holder could become a U.S. citizen

People are fleeing repressive governments, drug lords, sex traffickers and starvation. They cannot wait a decade or more. If your child was going to be forced into prostitution or drug crimes or you had no food to eat you would flee as well. One does what one must do to protect one’s children and family. We as Jews know this all too well. When our grandparents or great grandparents came, they simply got on a ship and all they needed was a ticket and a sponsor. That was it. Nothing more. Today the process is long and arduous and frequently quite dangerous. Additionally, our Immigration laws today are very complex. According to the Carnegie Foundation, immigration law is second only to the income tax code in legal complexity.

We need to improve economic and political conditions in many South and Central American countries to improve the lives of those who live there, but GOP will not do that with their America First mentality. Most people want to live where they were born but when conditions in their home counties become untenable, they flee.  The United States, if it wants to stem the tide of immigration, needs to support the economies of the Global South and, as well, support democracy in these regions.  Unfortunately, the GOP’s response to this solution is “why should we spend money there when we have poor people here.” They are blind to the connection between foreign aid and immigration.

We need COPMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM. We need more judges at the border as a start, and more social workers and lawyers. Again, this takes money and you know how the GOP feels about spending unless it is on corporations or tax cuts for the rich. As part of this immigration reform, we need to speed up the time it takes to process applications from more than a decade to one year. Again, this means hiring more people to process applications.

For those already here we need a pathway to citizenship. That should include having a clean criminal record, paying a fee of some sort and other reasonable conditions. Dreamers should be given legal status and allowed to apply for citizenship. The GOP however, does not want a solution to this problem because it takes a way a political talking point.

The US has a very poor history with immigration despite what it says on the statue of liberty. As the Irish and Jewish populations grew, our government made it harder and harder to enter this nation. The same is true of Asians. What we are doing today to limit immigration is no different, but we should be wiser than we were a hundred years ago and hopefully going forward we can achieve real immigration reform.

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