Monday, May 15, 2006

Immigration

With the President’s address to the nation this evening I figured I would write the blog I had wanted to write back when this whole “protect the border” and “deport” issue became a big deal about a month ago.

And while I did pretty much watched the address made by Mr. Bush this evening (though I seemed more interested in the pictures in the frames he had behind him in the picture), I do not necessarily want to address what is being planned to be carried out, or what has already begun, because honestly, I have not followed it enough to really know enough to talk about that. I am admitting my ignorance on the topic.

However, I want to share some thoughts on the idea of immigrants who are illegally in a country. And please note, I am not specifying what country, nor am I denoting where the immigrants have come from, because honestly, this is my thoughts on anyone immigrating to any country to live permanently.

I am fully aware that some countries offer better lifestyles and better opportunities for individuals, especially families. With this being the case, I have no problem with an individual or a family trying to better their situation. I give my blessing to individuals who are trying to better their selves and make life better for their loved ones. But what I know is that change does not necessarily come easy, nor does it come without consequences. And please realize that consequences can be both good and bad.

Why wouldn’t someone want to leave a country where humans are not treated as humans, or where the monthly wage is less than the hourly wage in another country? Why wouldn’t someone want to be where they have the right to education? Some countries have so much more to offer than other countries. And while this is a sad thing, it is how it is…

So, in hopes of a better life, people do what they feel is necessary to reach their goals. I can understand this.

I think my issue comes when people are not willing to pay the price for betterment.

If you want to go live in a country that is “better off” than the country you are from, then I feel you should be willing to get everything that comes with being a part of that country, which does include the rights and freedoms that country offers, but it also includes the rules and laws, which make these rights and freedoms available.

If the laws require you to get a green card, or a visa, or whatever it might be, then that should be the steps taken as part of reaching the goal for “betterment.” If you want to take up a permanent residency in the new country, take the steps to become a citizen.

In a recent conversation I had about this topic with a friend of mine who is an international student in America working on her education, she was in total agreement that illegal immigrants should be required to pay the price or be deported. She mentioned all the money she has had to pay to be a part of this country for the time being and she is right, it is not fair for immigrants who do pay the price and do the work required to be in America legally to have to do that while others are choosing to sneak in and be here illegally and get the same freedoms and rights. Yes, there are things about her visa that she wishes weren’t the case. It does limit some things for her, but it allows her to be here and utilize the resources, such as the education system that she has come to take part in.

Freedoms and rights are a wonderful thing, and everyone should have them, but they do not come for free. With that being the case, pay the “price” to get the reward. Nothing is free…

I think laws in reference to immigration are important. If countries were open to anyone and everyone issues would arise.

I think of it like a game of monopoly. There are only so many player pieces in the game set. Once the pieces are all used, no more players can be added.

Sure, you can add your own token to the game, with say a penny, and try to play too, but when more player pieces are added then are “allowed” to play, resources run low. There are only so many properties to be bought up, and once they are all used, extra Boardwalks can not be added. What about with the colorful monopoly money? Sure, when the 100’s run out you can substitute five 20’s for a hundred instead, but what do you do when you are out of 100’s, 50’s, 20’s, 10’s and 5’s?

The rules say, “for up to 8 players,” so that is what the resources are allowing for…

When people enter countries illegally and they are not being accounted for, resources run the risk of being used up. When people are accounted for, resources can be adjusted and taken into consideration.

Freedoms and rights are definitely worth immigrating for, but the resources that come with those freedoms and rights must be there in order for the freedoms and rights to be worth anything. With that being the case, shouldn’t one make sure their presence is known so they will have the resources needed for them to exercise their freedoms and rights?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes excellent speech. Now lets hope the new presidential candidate in Mexico understands what is going on and improves conditions over there. I heard a new party called Accion Por La Justicia is soon to be launched.

Mark E. Lopez said...

It's all well and good to say "Do it legally" and whatnot - but what do you say to the fact that for these people looking for a better life, the legal route for immigration is next to impossible. We severely limit the amount of people we legally allow to come from some countries, like Mexico. And if the people come and work the crappiest jobs and live in horrible conditions, they're really probably not going to have the time or money to work their way through the system. It has nothing to do with even becomming a citizen - that's relatively easy - but to merely come and stay in our country for a period of time - that's a troublesome thing to do.

The fact that your friend can pay for student visas and whatnot show how much 'more' they're getting out of their time in this country than the people not working through the system.

And, to me, your Monopoly/resource concept is more a concern of overpopulation than immigration.

And on freedoms and rights - there's this interesting thing. I've done really nothing to pay for my freedoms and rights. I've just been given them because I happened to be born within the right arbitrarily drawn lines. They are free.

I don't mean to sound argumentative - but Americans 'do' get their rights copletely freely. And saying 'do it legally' is all well and good, but it's oversimplification of the situations. It's never that easy.

FeedingYourMind said...

Oh Mr. Lopez--how I love your always debating comments! ;) And I can say that since I know you! ;)

You made several good points and I want to take some time to address them, since you took the time to point them out. Actually all of them I have given thought too previously in reference to this topic, I simply chose to leave those considerations out of this blog entry, but upon your depiction of the points, I will address them in a brief manner here…

You are correct, having to “do it legally” is a process that takes a lot. I do not want to be heard as saying it is easy, as I do not believe I ever said. However, in bettering one’s self, most processes are difficult.

Look at the higher education system for “betterment.” That’s something you and I can both relate too, since neither of us has had to go through the immigration process. Getting into college and paying to go to college, as well as actually going to college is quite a process. Application processes, acceptance letters, tuition and fees, etc. Each of these things are VERY similar to the types of steps necessary for an immigrant. Unfortunately, all immigrants might not pass the application process, meaning they “were not accepted,” but how different is that from me being turned down to “better my life” by going to Harvard?

Unfortunately, all schools can not accept everyone, just as every nation can not accept everyone. And like you referenced with those who do come and then they “work the crappiest jobs and live in horrible conditions, they’re really probably not going to have the time or money to work their way through the system”—this is very similar to the lower class individuals who CAN make the cut and get accepted into certain schools, but still can’t afford to pay the tuition, so they can't go.

Yes, there are sources such as the FAFSA, but there are also sources for LEGAL immigrants.

And just as a side note, but from what I understand, the test required to be passed for an immigrant to become an American citizen takes some definite studying. From my understanding, most American-born citizens probably would have a very difficult time passing it. So I would probably argue your point of “becoming a citizen – that’s relatively easy.”

As for this: “The fact that your friend can pay for student visas and whatnot show how much 'more' they're getting out of their time in this country than the people not working through the system.” I am confused, sorry. I’m not sure exactly what you are saying there.

As for the Monopoly analogy, you are correct, it is referencing overpopulation, but at the same time, I believe that can be directly related to immigration. In my original post I said this: “I think laws in reference to immigration are important. If countries were open to anyone and everyone issues would arise.” I apologize now for not going more into detail about what I meant by “issues,” so I will address ONE of those issues right now in reference to this point.

Overpopulation can for sure be an issue for a nation. I am not saying our country has that issue, yet at least, but it is an issue in some other countries. And another issue that overpopulation can bring about is limited resources (tying in the monopoly analogy). Having said that, the more and more immigrants that are allowed into a country, obviously, the more and more the population will raise. This being the case, as I mentioned in my point—“I think laws in reference to immigration are important”—I think laws are crucial to keeping overpopulation issues addressed.

With us both coming from the STL area, we have not been faced with as much of the current Hispanic immigration rates our nation is facing. Yes, in Chicago I have no doubt you saw quite a diverse community, but I can assure you it is less than the rate of Hispanic immigration that I have been accustomed too while spending the last six years in Texas. It is a whole different world for seeing what the President is talking about in his speeches when you are sitting at home in Texas, rather than if I was sitting at home back in the STL.

Having said that, I want to say, I do think the possibility of overpopulation due to immigration is more “real” than one might believe it could be, even when I say that sitting in such a rural state as Texas.

Having said all that, I hope I have tied my “monopoly/overpopulation/lack of resources” analogy in better for you.

Finally, the point you made that I have struggled with myself as I have thought through this topic: “I've done really nothing to pay for my freedoms and rights. I've just been given them because I happened to be born within the right arbitrarily drawn lines.”

Yep, I agree. It is hard to say an immigrant should have to jump through the hoops and crawl under the wires and pay the fees to get what you and I were “given” at birth. But the more I thought about it, and as weird as this is going to sound, I didn’t ask for this life. Am I fortunate that I was born into this situation? No doubt! But still, this was just how it happened for me, as for you. It is a blessing and for sure makes me luckier than a lot of other people, but I had no choice in the matter.

Yes, it is unfortunate that children are born into poor poor families in third world countries. Did they ask for that? No. But did the American-born child that was born into an alcoholic abusive household ask for that either? No. Children are born into poor poor families everyday—and surprisingly enough, in AMERICA too!

Yes, it is difficult to justify making someone else work hard to get the rights and freedoms that you and I were born into and as you say “They are free,” but individuals in our country, AMERICA, are born into not-so-good situations everyday, where they too have the same freedoms and rights, but they have a lot of hard work ahead of them to “better their lives” to get full use of their rights and freedoms too.

I want to end with this. I greatly appreciate your comments, Mark! They are for sure some great points that do need to be addressed. I’m sorry I didn’t address them originally, but I was hoping for a short(er) blog entry, and now look at the length of this comment…HA!

The topic of immigration is a difficult topic. This mere blog entry can’t really do it much justice, as it does make for, as you said, an “oversimplification of the situation,” but having said that, I just wanted to address “some thoughts on the idea.”

Please, let me know if my “addendum” points here do not address your points.

Holly said...

Kim,

I, too, was very interested in the pictures behind President Bush that evening.

I am in agreeance about the aspect of resource allotment/conservation. It is imperative that we know who is here for several reasons, which include, but are not limited to, financial, resources, disease control, the "war on terror," etc.

I am not going to hold my breath, however, on the new proposals.

Mark E. Lopez said...

Another long response.

"You are correct, having to “do it legally” is a process that takes a lot. I do not want to be heard as saying it is easy, as I do not believe I ever said. However, in bettering one’s self, most processes are difficult."

But - there's 'difficult' and there's 'impossible.'

Comparing it to higher education is a bit off, as well. Colleges generally 'want' to accept you - the immigration services generally don't. Also, generally, you can apply to more than one school with the very validated hope of getting into 'one' of them. For many of these Mexicans, if they 'kept' trying, they'd still have a next to nil hope of ever being accepted - regardless of the amount of years they can find the time and money to put into the process.

Once you're in the country, becoming a citizen is relatively easy. It takes time and studying, but that's nothing compared to trying to work through the beaurocratic jungle of fees and paperwork to even merely get a visa.

I was comparing your friend with their student visa under the idea that I never understand how those who've gone through the system and achieved their visa and whatever feel hurt by illegal immigration. Because they've come legally, they have a MUCH easier time doing 'anything' - getting 'anywhere' in our system. Their situation gives them many more opportunities and abilities that illegal immigratns don't have.

Overpopulation can be tied into immigration, both legal and illegal, but also can be tied merely to high birthrates. I don't think India and China's overpopulation problems have anything to do with immigration :-P

I don't see this 'lack of resources' happening. I'm not sure where that big threat is coming from at the present time. The current estimates of 'illegal immigrants' in America is 15-20 million. And our country has a bit under 300 million total residents. The population of texas is around 20 million or so (I saw estimates of the 'hispanic' both citizenry and immigrant populations of Texas being in the 30% range). And so, I wonder if you're seeing the results of 'immigration' or merely the results of a particularly hispanic sector of the population. Also, considering the agricultural industry of America needs subsidies because they produce 'too much' food - I still wonder where the fear of a 'lack of resources' comes from.

And regarding the achieving of free freedoms - I have to think back to where any/most of our ancestors came from. They just walked into the country. Through Ellis Isle, or way back on the Mayflower, etc. It's exactly what Mexicans are wanting to do. English people fled their country for 'greener pastures' from religious persecution and later from Industrialization and that's what Mexicans are doing now. I seriously cannot blame them for doing it. And I find the idea of making it a felony to have done it a joke.

Also, I find it hard to blame many of them after the American farming economy has CRIPPLED sectors of the Mexican farming economy through NAFTA. Machine'd wheat suddenly on the market against their own grown wheat - they go out of business. India at least was able to put tarrifs against us - but Mexicans can't, all because of NAFTA.