American Institutions Current Issues in Immigration and Naturalization

Immigration and naturalization issues are often discussed from the perspectives of the law of the land, the sentiments of the population and the political movements of the moment.

In the case of the law of the land, the legislators, adjudicators and enforcement agencies have to operate within a minefield of social and political and personal sentiment that is far from unified.

An extreme point of view is that “everyone is an immigrant, therefore every immigrant should be welcomed”; how no one but the Native Americans is truly a native; and therefore how everyone has a right to come here for opportunity and enrichment rather than asylum. But anyone who is born on American soil is a native American. Better yet, no one who has been here for three, four or even ten generations should be called an “immigrant” for any reason.

Second, the continental United States may be a vast land, but it is not an unlimited land that can sustain unlimited population growth without permanent and irrevocable damage to the environment. While it may work for a while to let the urban centers become more condensed, high rise and environmentally efficient, the semi-arid and arid Western half of the United States is an obvious reminder that much of the land is neither fertile and temperate enough, nor is it furnished with the necessary water to support unlimited population growth.

The next issue in immigration, whether considered from a legal, political or sentimental perspective is that one immigrant population does not necessarily care about the well being of another immigrant population or of America in general. Opportunity for self enrichment has increasingly replaced asylum as the major reason for immigration to America. 

Currently, the idea that immigrants are taking jobs that Americans do not want is proving to be a monumental myth in technical and many other fields. Guest workers are falsely described as only farm, household and manual laborers when the reality is that everything from high level government officials to computer technicians have been recruited from abroad.  

The next major issue involves immigrant contributions that are in conflict with the burdens and damage that rapidly growing immigrant populations cause. This is a major social and political problem, especially in light of the massive drug, organized crime and poverty dimensions of life in the world. No single race, national origin or ethnicity can be held responsible for immigrant crime and wrongdoing and no single race, national origin or ethnicity can take claims of contributing the most to society.

The racial issues of immigration, a top issue causes non white and impoverished immigrants to be the most vulnerable to automatic association with dependency, failure to contribute and crime. The truth is, that while the media focuses on the border with Mexico, major former Soviet Union and Eastern bloc, Middle Eastern, Asian, Indo Asian and European drug, terrorist, immigrant trafficking and organized crime cartels are thriving in America.

There has always been crime, violence and poverty as the first generations of massive immigrant populations struggled to find a place in American society, and today’s immigration is nothing but past experience on steroids.  

In relation to law, there is an overwhelming workload to determine the cases of true asylum seekers. Many have fled from countries where it is difficult to prove their cases, identity or previous activities. There are very good candidates who simply are no longer able to show that they have or can get employment, attend school or remain here under their original reasons for long term residency. Others have lied on one issue or another, making their cases difficult to judge in fairness to others who also lied on one issue or another. For immigrants who have gone through the correct steps, there are interminable overloads and delays in getting permanent legal standing to remain.

In the sentiment issue arena, many have been here illegally, but have lived and done well for so long that it would be tragic to break up families or remove people from their long term homes and communities. In opposition, Native Americans and African Americans, especially the descendants of slaves, have never realized full opportunity as citizens, having been supplanted by immigrant wave after immigrant wave that either took or were given higher positions in American society. As a result, neither group should not be expected to support any more immigration.

At the same time, conservative political and social groups as well as those who live in border states are being overwhelmed, not with what is considered to be immigration, but with a massive migration from one country: Mexico. Mexico is in a state of turmoil and is engaged in a losing war with gangs, drug cartels and political groups that are ending any hopes of stability outside of the major resort and retirement areas of our neighbor to the south.

To summarize sentimental approaches to immigration: there is extreme polarization of opinion about who should be allowed in, who should leave and who should stay. Those who live in border and coastal states have vastly different opinions from those who live with far less immigration and migration. Some states are calling for draconian and discriminatory anti immigration measures that would prevent the same levels of immigration as border states.

Some states have so many Americans who migrate internally and who come as tourists that more additions to the mix have been taken in stride until now, when there is simply too much population turmoil and increase to handle.

Finally, the most critical issue of immigration lies in the lack of unity of public opinion. Whether the focus is strictly from a legal perspective, a social perspective, a political perspective or a personal or sentimental perspective, there is no unity of opinion or of public desire for a singular policy of immigration management or reform in the United States. The question remains with no prognosis for an answer: has there ever been a unity of public opinion and will there ever be one?