The US and Immigration

There are many different things, many different moving parts, that make up the United States of America. Some of them are not the most positive things in the world- the fact that the US has more people in jail more than any other country in the world is one thing that comes to mind about why this country isn’t always the shining light that many people make it out to be. That being said, there are still many things to be proud of about the US, and one of the things that I am the most proud of in this country is the amazing diversity that it has. There are tons of different cultures, and thousands of different viewpoints, that come from the many different people that live in the US. Here at Babson, I’ve met people from Mexico, Canada, Turkey, South Korea, Egypt, China, Switzerland, South Africa, and, I’m sure, people from other countries that I’ve been too nervous to talk to.

Most, if not all, people in the US, are either immigrants or descendants of them. That includes the people that just came to this country yesterday, but also includes me- my great-great grandparents on my dad’s side came to America for a better life in the after the Irish potato famine. While the immigration rate is far lower than it was in its heyday, which saw hundreds of thousands of people enter the country while making Ellis Island into a national landmark, the American Dream is very much alive today. However, many conservatives, with Donald Trump among the most vocal, believe that the number of immigrants, particularly illegal ones (and, in Trump’s case, the number of immigrants, illegal or not, from Mexico), need to be reduced drastically, and that a wall might need to be built along the US-Mexico border to make that happen. I believe that Trump, and those that wholeheartedly believe in his policies, are terrible people for their blatant racism towards the Mexican people. However, I do believe that our immigration policy needs to be revised to cut down on the number of immigrants let into the country, illegal or not, Mexican or otherwise, as soon as possible.

Now, you may think me racist, or may think me in line with the extremely conservative view on immigration. But I beg to differ on that. I don’t feel that the illegals that are already here should be deported; nor do I feel that their children should be denied American citizenship due to their parents’ status as illegal immigrants. I’m also extremely grateful for many of the immigrants, for what they do to keep our economy working by taking jobs that many white, “traditional” Americans refuse to take due to the hard work required, or due to the idea that the job is “below them.” As such, we need to consider WHY so many immigrants, particularly Mexican ones, are so willing to take such low class jobs, and risk deportation, to come to live here in America. And, the sad fact is that the quality of life for many immigrants, illegal or not, is very poor, far poorer than would it would be even in the slums of the American towns and cities that they end up in. Mexican immigrants, for example, have to live with a government corrupted by the vicious drug traders that threaten the lives of many thousands of people. Middle and eastern Europeans face both economic (Greece) and political (Ukraine) instability, and the ever-looming threat of the all-powerful Russia. Asians come over due to overpopulation and a lack of resources in the region. All of these things are very valid gripes, and while the US certainly has its problems, its current status as a beacon of capitalism makes it a desirable place to move for all of the immigrants.

Here’s the problem: immigrating to the United States, or a western European country, in the face of trouble has become the status quo. Or, if immigration isn’t the status quo, then having a multinational company go into an unstable, impoverished area to employ the disadvantaged people to make products for low wages is the status quo. The point is, we, as a country, are fostering the wrong idea of what people should do when faced with a problem. We shouldn’t just run from our problems, and nor should we put on a big show (in this case, the show would be a multinational corporation) to cover up the problem.

We should, instead, enable people, and encourage people, to buck the status quo of fleeing from their poor environments. Obviously, there are many immigrants for whom it is almost necessary that they flee their homeland and move to another country- Syria comes to mind for me- but if every person in a situation that might warrant moving to another country decided to pack up their bags and move to a developed country, then many countries’ caring capacities will become stretched thin. Resources will be stretched to their absolute limits, and the rate at which our planet’s environment is deteriorating will increase beyond anyone’s ability to control it. And, on top of that, the economy would be so concentrated into certain areas of the world that the idea of a local economy would no longer exist. Big multinational corporations would be able to function with little to no resistance, and would easily be able to take advantage of people in the way I described earlier. Massing people into more developed countries may mean a good short term outcome for displaced people, but would mean long term disaster economically and environmentally.

What we should be doing, instead, is to get in to disadvantaged people, enable them to do or to get what they need, and get out. Obviously, doing that is easier said than done, with many people that are the most desperate for help- particularly Africans, who are at a huge disadvantage due to their lack of resources (particularly money) in relation to the rest of the world- but if we were to make ENABLING people the status quo, instead of encouraging people to immigrate and work for a better life, it is obvious what the benefits would be. Not having people flooding into Western countries will allow them to somewhat maintain their caring capacities, and not have to dive in and ruin other countries’ landscapes in search of resources. Enabled peoples will be more enlightened on how to use the resources that they have in order to live productive lives in local economies, which, in turn, deemphasizes people’s needs for a lot of money and a larger, more “connected” (that is, closer to more of society) lifestyle that is so prized by the Western way of life. Enable peoples also would be able to know how to make their lives continue on, as normal as possible, in the face of adversity, similar to how Native Americans have been resilient, despite their constant removal from their tribal homes by the US government.

Again, as I stated earlier, I do not believe that every immigrant, illegal or otherwise, coming into this country should stay in their homeland. It makes a lot of sense for a good chunk of people to come to the United States, or another Western country, and work hard to make a living the best that they can- it’s very admirable that they do so, and it makes our country a better place. But, if we could cut down on the number of immigrants coming to the US and enable people to, in essence, live productive lives with what they have been given, either by nature or through limited assistance from our enabling, and not to conform to the gluttony and materialism that permeates modern capitalism, then every country in the world would be much better off, economically, environmentally, and emotionally.


1 Comment

  1. Pingback: I’m a Conservative and I’m Voting for Hillary Clinton. Here’s Why. | Kevin J. Gaffney

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