Well tonight, 3,000 people are expected to descend on Nashville in support of immigration rights. This is one divisive issue in this country right now. Strangely enough, it is like smoking . . . it doesn’t fall along party lines. For example, I have always had the view that most Republicans are strongly in favor of tighter borders. And, clearly, by the prevalence of legislation in Congress right now, the majority of Republicans support this view. However, I spoke with a Republican colleague yesterday. He, in contrast, supported more or less – the “Wal-mart position”. Let them come here and compete. Basically, the fittest will survive. And, free-market forces will thrive. Though this makes sense from a strictly conservative view, I still believe that the vast majority of Republicans are in favor of tighter restrictions on immigration.
I do believe that this issue is dividing our country right now. The bills in Congress echo the many views of the American people. On one hand, you have President Bush’s guest worker program. On the other hand, Senator Frist proposes fines for undocumented workers. Other bills are designed to build a 700-mile fence along the Mexican border. Basically, politicians just don’t know which way to go. And, since, at heart, politicians are most concerned about re-election, they are confused because they are having a difficult time figuring out the political climate.
At this time of making a decision on immigration, my hope is that Congress and the President make decisions – not out of fear – but, out of a long-term vision. The flurry of legislation is just reminiscent of what Congress does . . . Congress fears not reacting . . . and they just do something. Well, running in place on a treadmill will do nothing for your physical fitness. Likewise, an all-bark, no-bite solution to this issue may sound good. But, if it does nothing to fix a long-term problem in this country, it is worthless.
As for what I think, guest workers status seems reasonable. Giving people the opportunity to be here and work for a period seems reasonable to me. But, the opposite extreme is intolerable. It seems to me that many individuals in this country today are advocating the erroding of our border with Mexico. And, this is flat-out wrong. Illegal immigrant is just that – illegal. This country was built by legal immigrants. Congress must do everything in its power to give legal immigrants full access under our system and to control and stop illegal immigration at the borders. Otherwise, we will continue to erode and destroy state health care systems, medicaid programs, and social services organizations. Immigration is one of the MOST important issues in this country right now. Don’t band-aid fix it. It needs a long-term solution.