During recent visits to various parts of the U.S., in casual conversation with people I am asked what I think should be done about the “tidal wave” of illegal immigration allegedly going on. When I point out that the problem is not nearly so bad now as it once was, people literally take a step back and look at me like I am crazy, so thorough is the news propaganda that hypes this issue endlessly.
It is an issue that matters to me, as a child of immigrant grandparents and mother. We ourselves are not that long in this country, and I grew up on stories of what it was like for my mother’s family to sail into New York and to pass by the Statue of Liberty with its famous but now nearly forgotten welcoming words:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Instead we have the quite embarrassing scene of hoards of “patriots” standing at the border protesting the entry of 60,000 – 60,000!! — children and young people who are refugees seeking to escape violence and poverty in their home countries. Americans should be, and used to be, much better than that.
As for the real truth about immigration the recent stats are these…
While the number of unaccompanied youth crossing the border has doubled to nearly 60,000 in the past year, the total number of undocumented immigrants has mostly declined. About 1 million people have been caught crossing the border nearly every year between 1983 until 2006, but that number has dropped to about 400,000 in 2013.
The future will undoubtedly involve people moving around the world. We had better figure out how to deal with it in an intelligent way.