What if your house was turned into an asylum? No, I’m not talking about my humble abode that can sometimes be confused for a mental institution. Instead, I’m pondering the question of immigration, which seems to have captured the minds of so many of our readers despite the fact that we live so far away from our nation’s borders.
There seem to be quite a few people that are upset about the conditions of the detention centers at the border, where people who are illegally trying to enter this country are being housed and fed instead of simply being turned away to try to gain entry somewhere else.
Are the conditions great? Nope, I don’t think any of us would volunteer to trade places with them. Unfortunately the system is simply not adequate enough to handle the nearly 700,000 apprehensions that occurred in fiscal year 2019 along our nation’s southwest border with Mexico according to U.S Customs and Border Protection.
That all being said, do any of us really know what the conditions are? Fortunately we do not, but unfortunately we are left to rely on the reports of others. So it boils down to whom we trust? If you trust U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Oscario-Cortez of New York, we are keeping illegal immigrants in concentration camps. If you believe Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and the group of fellow pastors that took the time to visit the detention centers, they simply did not see the deplorable conditions that have become accepted fact in so many current discussions related to immigration.
Do we see the horrific picture of the man and child who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande River trying to gain access to the United States and jump on the impeach Trump bandwagon? Or do we stop and take time to discover that roughly 300 to 400 border deaths are reported each year, and believe it or not, they have been roughly 25% lower under President Trump than they were under President Obama? This isn’t a new problem. According to the United States Border Patrol, the deadliest year on the border was 2005, when 471 fatalities were recorded.
Are images of an overcrowded chain-link holding area, or stories of people being forced to drink toilet water (actually water faucet/sink installed atop the toilet), enough to convince you to throw caution to the wind and just open the borders wide for any and all to enter?
Or are you more of the heartless type, who is pondering how in the world are we going to pay for the newest wave of non-citizens adding to the more than 10 million unauthorized immigrants currently residing in this country, that according to the Federation for American Immigration reform, is costing taxpayers $100 billion a year in government benefits, healthcare, and education.
Regardless of where you standing philosophically, are you willing to put your money where your mouth is?
It is just 700,000 people, and I know I have seen at least 7,000 Facebook posts decrying the atrocities being perpetrated upon these poor refugees. If you do the math, that means each household would simply have to open its doors to 10 refugees. Housing, feeding, clothing, medicating, and educating said asylum seeker would solely be the responsibility of the asylum owner, you. Oh, and by the way, be ready to receive unannounced visits from attorneys, the media and national politicians desperately hoping to catch one misstep that they can turn into their own gain, throwing you under the bus in the process.
Or if you stand on the other side of the fence, are you prepared to man a post on The Fence? While you might believe that immigration reform is needed, and a secure border is a priority, can you live with the moral consequences of knowing that just one of the 300 border crossing fatalities was someone you had turned away?
I don’t know which side of the debate you are on, and I’m not saying either is right or wrong.
What I will say is that I believe we need to have a system that is based on citizenship. Of course this theory ultimately is far more encompassing than simply immigration, as we have lots of folks who are legal residents, yet aren’t truly citizens. Citizenship today seems only to focus on entitlement to rights and benefits but has forgotten that it also comes with duties.
According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as citizens we have the responsibility to support and defend the Constitution; to stay informed of issues affecting our community; to participate in the democratic process; to pay taxes, to serve on jury duty; or even defend the country if the need should arise; and finally to respect the rights, beliefs and opinions of others.
Perhaps if we all start acting like citizens, we can resolve this issue of citizenship.