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IMMIGRATION

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."- Statue of Liberty

​The statue of liberty, being one the most recognizable symbols of hope and freedom in the world, etched in literal stone, an invitation to all who seek her refuge. The irony of it all. Our symbol, our infamy, our culture, being the beacon of liberty and freedom for all yet, we are inching our way to federal powers violently imposing state boundaries. Arbitrarily deciding which people are worthy based on their country of origin and perceived value. In the land of opportunity, birth of the “American Dream,” we have forgotten our origins.

 

Freedom of movement is a fundamental right by virtue of being human. 

Immigrants arriving at the Southern border come with the same aspirations and motives as those who came through the Northeastern border on Ellis Island a hundred years ago. Historians and economists agree that immigration benefited the American economy as a whole, leading to faster economic growth rates through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This is mainly due to the fact that most immigrants were of working age. These people have woven their way into the fabric of American life since that time. They have helped create the America we know today. 

Millions of poor immigrants flooded this nation virtually unchecked for nearly a century, so what has changed? Why the hostility towards immigrants at the Southern border? 

During the 19th and 20th centuries, European immigrants were viewed as easily assimilable into American society. Not to dismiss the discrimination many Italian, Irish, Polish and German immigrants faced, they had relatively few obstacles when it came to entering the United States. A lesser known immigration station, Angel Island, which also saw millions of freedom seeking immigrants during the same time period, the vast majority coming from China or other Asian countries, had a very different screening process. The Chinese Exclusion Act, a federal law signed in 1882, prohibited all immigration of Chinese laborers with the exception for merchants, teachers, students, travelers, and diplomats. Motivated by a growing anti-Chinese sentiment, this was the first American law prohibiting immigration solely based on race. Chinese immigrants were at risk for violent raids of their homes, detainment and exhaustive interrogations at Angel Island.

The crux of this argument is essentially concerns over assimilation, perceived worthiness of those coming in and the fear of the America we know changing. Put succinctly, it is a result of successful state propaganda to instill fear and prejudice. As the daughter of an immigrant, I can personally attest to the motivations of the vast majority of Latin American immigrants. That being, employment. Immigrants are more likely to be entrepreneurs than native-born Americans. Evidence has shown that immigrants create more jobs than they “take.” Immigrants make up some 17% of the total civilian labor force. If congress passes permanent pathways to citizenship immigrants are estimated to add a cumulative $1.2 trillion to the U.S. GDP over 10 years, increase the income of all Americans, and create thousands of new jobs per year. A “wall” and the police force needed to maintain, deport and enforce such policies would cost trillions to the American taxpayer. In short, freedom of movement equals a freer economy. 

You cannot support free trade without freedom of movement.

​I support:

1. An “Ellis Island” style immigration system. 

2. Denying entry to those who have a record of violence in their country of origin or have credible plans for violence.

3. Creating a simple, efficient path to citizenship for “unauthorized” immigrants currently residing in the US.

4. Holding asylum seekers and new immigrants to the same standard of conduct as American born citizens. Meaning, no loopholes or special laws absolving crime. You break the law, you are punished.

For those of you as concerned about the expansion of the welfare state as I am - what a fantastic reason to abolish it.

 

 

 

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