Immigration and the 800 pound gorilla.
Imagine you were born in a small village on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico. Your family lives in a home constructed from old wood pallets and discarded garage doors. In your community, when it rains the streets become impassable. Electrical wires lay directly on the ground like a spilled bowl of spaghetti. There are no telephones, public water or sewer system. No sidewalks, streetlights, paved roads, curbs or storm drain system. The nearest source of electricity comes from a streetlight pole over a mile away and clean drinking water must be purchased at a local store.
Your father works a 6 day week at a local factory and earns about $80.00. Your mother is working very hard to make this hovel a home. With very limited resources, she will have to work hard to keep you safe, warm, fed, clothed and clean. You will grow up, mal-nourished, limited schooling, playing only outdoors in the dirt with packs of wild, mangy dogs and filth blowing around.
Now that you’re school aged, the nearest public school is 10 miles away. There are no school buses from your village. A private church school requires uniforms your family can’t afford. You join your friends and others a community school setup by a few of the local mothers. Your school has one or two text books and a hit-and-miss curriculum. You manage to learn to read and write a little as you move headlong into adulthood. High School is a distant hope and college is out of the question.
Now that you’re a little older (14-15) you must start working in the factories to help out the family. There, you hear rumors of a country where the streets are paved in gold and that if you just get there, you could be rich in a just few years of work. You decide to break the chains of poverty and make plans to go to this Promised Land.
Your hopes and dreams are the same as the many generations of immigrants from around the world leaving their starving countries to make a new life in America. I often wondered what I would do given the same situation. I am very lucky my parents were lucky enough to have had grandparents that decided to go to America!
Illegal immigration is the 800 pound gorilla in the room. President Trump is demanding that we build a wall and lock down the borders. Enter the gorilla. The US has 7612 miles of land border and has 12,383 of coastline for a total of 19,995 miles of potential entry points. How could our government possibly manage this? More wall, fences, lasers or maybe the Starship Enterprise? Realizing that watching every car, truck, beach, cove, bay, private boat, 1000’s of miles of desert, mountain ranges, rivers, lakes and all of the airplanes, gliders, hot air balloons is an impossible task for any government. The ones that scream “close our borders” do not have any clue on what it would actually cost if it were even possible.
Both parties realize that it is impossible to lock-down this country and one way of putting a lid on illegal immigration is to make it legal. Again, enter the gorilla. Most people think that in the past, worker and amnesty programs were setup to assist the worker. Nonsense, they were setup to benefit to US companies that employ them. However, it has become too politically incorrect to support any idea or issue that benefits corporate America or immigration.
Yes, we need border security. We need it to protect us from those who enter, bent on doing us harm. We don’t need it to stop a family that only wants to escape the horrors of real poverty. Both parties have an 800 pound problem.
Regardless of the rhetoric, politics, chest pounding and the outright racism by some extremists and given the economic situation in Mexico, Central and South America, the people that want a better life for themselves and their families will continue to find their way into the USA, the only way to stem the immigration tide is to help them make their countries better and institute a reasonable guest worker program.
Helping them helps everyone.