Keep It Civil—Solving the Immigration Crisis
I am concerned about immigration both legal and illegal. The
United Nations and our own immigration authorities are bringing people
here for reasons that may not serve the interests of the United States
or, necessarily, the welfare of the immigrants themselves. I
suspect they may serve a dangerous multicultural agenda that, allowed
to continue, will destroy the American way of life as it already
threatens to destroy many of the cultures of Europe. Furthermore,
I wonder at the number of Islamic people coming here at the very time
we are fighting radical Islamic groups, the same forces responsible for
the 9/11 attacks. While England exposes
terrorist plots within their Islamic communities, I doubt the wisdom of
allowing so many Muslim immigrants to come here.
of illegals have crossed our borders, and politicians in both parties
seem to think it is acceptable or even beneficial. Frankly, I don’t understand them. If it’s about votes, then it is the worst sort of self-serving presumption. It
is short-sighted and potentially dangerous; if many of these people
ever vote, it won’t be for most of these politicians but possibly for
those with an anti-American agenda. If
their number were significant, the very character of American life
would profoundly change, and I can’t believe many politicians are that
many of us Americans are Christians or, at least, compassionate people
who are a product of this predominantly Christian culture. We have a desire to help these people. We find it difficult to send them back to the third-world hellholes many have worked so hard to escape. So, what can we do?
I have a few suggestions, but first I have a message to the immigrants themselves. I urge you to read it, too. Then, perhaps, we can figure out how we can share this message with them. After that, I will give you a few of my own thoughts on how to deal with the problem.
A Message to Immigrants, Illegal Aliens, and Minorities
by J. Roger Wilson, ©June, 2006
We’ve watched public protests and
heard plenty of political rhetoric related to the issues of border
security and immigration. As usual, the issue is clouded by intentionally confusing use of terms such as immigrant instead of illegal alien. People
talk about making felons of those who enter the country covertly
instead of recognizing that illegal entry is already an illegal act. Worst,
perhaps, is calling opponents of illegal entry and advocates of law
enforcement racists, intentionally obscuring real issues like national
security and the economic burden of millions of uninvited, unwelcome,
and sometimes dangerous trespassers. The
United States has always welcomed honest, healthy folks, from all
around the world, who could contribute their effort and skills to the
American stew, but some want open borders that would allow terrorists,
criminals, and others, who would take and destroy rather than
contribute to the good that is America.
have discussed this extensively, but I want to speak to those basically
decent, hard-working folks, who are the subject of this debate—legal
and illegal immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, foreign visitors
and students, and many who think of themselves as minorities–and to
their supporters. Even though many of us
favor strong borders and controlled immigration, prosecution of
employers of illegal aliens, and deportation of illegals, especially
those who commit other crimes here, we don’t hate you. Many of us would like to help, but we prefer to enable you help yourself. We
want you to be able to make your own way, as millions of other
immigrants before you, instead of taking from us what we have worked
hard to have. That is the American dream, and it is alive and well, if you know what to do and what not to do. In my opinion, these 5 steps are your best hope for a better life for yourself and those you love.
1) Learn English, and learn it well. Historically, most immigrants have known this was important. Learn to speak with as little accent as possible. Learn
to read and comprehend not just basic, every day English but also the
English of science, history, literature, and the classics. Avoid street slang as much as possible; you will not find legitimate prosperity on the streets. Good English is the key to your success.
English is the main language of international business and diplomacy. Don’t be fooled by the multicultural nonsense promoted by Western activists and educators. They would use you for their own agendas, but most of them don’t really care about you. If
you cannot communicate in the language that most people use, you will
be stuck on the outside and at the bottom of the economy. Already
Americans find it upsetting and frustrating when they cannot understand
their doctor or pharmacist, but that is more than distressing; it can
be dangerous. How can we solve a problem with a service representative in person or on the phone, when we cannot understand them? Everything works better when we speak the same language, and here that is English.
By all means, keep using your native language and speak it where you can. Even
invite your American friends and associates to learn it; you might be
surprised to find how many enjoy learning more about your language and
culture (I especially like foods from other countries!). I am not asking you give up your heritage; I just want you to become a functional part of ours.
By the way, many of us Americans are pretty nice people, but you will never discover that if you can’t talk with us. We can be good neighbors and even friends, once you learn our language. I
have come to care deeply for many of my students as we have come able
to talk with each other, but it couldn’t have happened if I had needed
to learn Dinka, Arabic, Spanish, Farsi, Korean, and Myanmar (Burmese).
2) Become a free, well-informed American citizen. I put this second because you need English to learn American history and government. Once you understand our unique heritage, then you will be ready to become a citizen and really enjoy our free enterprise system. Many people come here from places that have little or no freedom. Often
they are terribly poor, live with terrible corruption, oppression, or
war, and have no jobs, no land, and no chance to change things. This is and has been the normal situation for most of the peoples of the world throughout most of its history. This is why the United States is a beacon of hope for so many people, and perhaps it is why you want to be here.
Not everyone wants you to succeed. They know that illegal aliens in low-paying jobs make more here than they can earn in their poor homelands. Some
employers want you to keep working illegally to avoid having to pay a
citizen a better wage, one you could have if you were legal. Some politicians would like you to depend on them, so you and your friends will vote for them. Some rich people want you to be their servants. You can do better than what they want! Most of them don’t really care about you, at all.
freedom is based on American capitalism, which is a way of life that
allows anyone to find good jobs, start businesses, or even get rich. Here
you can own land, buy a house, and send your kids to college. Well
educated, well informed citizens elect good people to the government,
keep officials honest or kick them out, and have the power to make
things better. Unfortunately, some of our own people don’t really understand this. They scorn education, don’t know their own history, and foolishly waste the money their parents have earned. Those are choices, too. I hope you will make better ones.
Illegals are not free. They must live in hiding from the police and from their neighbors. They do not have access to the protections of American law. Since
many come from countries where police and government officials are
corrupt, illegals often have an extreme fear of the police. In
this country, however, laws protect everyone, even those who may have
committed crimes; police officers are mostly kind, respectful, and
helpful, even when they must arrest a person. Unfortunately, people who come here illegally deny themselves of that protection. The police keep citizens safe, but it’s hard for them to help people who fear them and hide from them.
Citizens are free. Americans have a right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Legal immigrants have equal protection under the law. We have the freedom to speak freely, have a free flow of information and news, and worship freely. We have no secret police, no political persecution, and no imprisonment without a public trial. All of that is the basis for the American way of life, and it’s yours, too, if you become a legal citizen.
3) Don’t become a perpetual victim. Those who always think of themselves as victims corrupt many of the benefits of full citizenship. People become and remain victims for four basic reasons. Some experience an attack or oppression; they are victims of a crime, abuse, or oppression. They never get over the hurt or loss. Others are victims of prejudice, although laws punish those who harm others because of their skin color, religion, race, or sex. The third reason that people feel like victims is perception. Most of us have felt like someone who disliked us has hurt us in some way. Sometimes it was real, and sometimes it was imagined. Fear can be very, very powerful and a huge trap. This brings us to the fourth reason, which is like bait in the trap. Many become and remain victims for money. Politicians
are happy to give money away for votes, which has turned an otherwise
effective civil rights system into a big power game. Many
genuine victims remain victims at the enticement and encouragement of
those who benefit by the power that comes from managing the victim
system. If you are already getting money,
or jobs, or a position through the system, then you may think you may
want to continue being a victim. If you
think you might get something if you support those who offer to get it
for you, then that’s another reason to be a victim.
However, being a victim has no dignity. The loss of dignity is one of the worst parts of being victimized. I felt it when my house robbed, and I was glad to forget that feeling. Perpetual victim-hood is a life without self-respect, feeling less than human, and always being inferior and powerless. If
you stay a victim, then you must always depend on others—the
government, social workers, and politicians—who gain their power and
prestige on your back. People don’t really respect victims. Victims rarely prosper until they stop thinking like victims.
whoever you are, however you come to be here, and whatever you may
believe your legitimate grievance, don’t be a perpetual victim. Instead, find a way to prosper, as many before you have done. In America, it is possible. This
is the land of opportunity, and the results of hard work and
perseverance are far better than any handout or payoff for victims.
4) Just be an American. I
guess, technically, I could call myself a German-American or a
Scottish-American, although my ancestors have been here for generations. My mother was pure German; my father was a mix of Scottish and German. I appreciate my heritage and have tried to learn more about it, but I am really just an American. We used to call the United States a “melting pot,” but it’s more of a stew. Some think we’re a buffet, always separate and distinct, and potentially in conflict. In a stew, you can see the peas, potatoes, carrots, and meat, but it all blends together to make one delicious flavor. That’s what America is and should be. It’s also like a quilt, with different colors and kinds of cloth sewn together to make one warm, comforting whole. Just try to keep warm with all those pieces separated, even if they are on the same bed! Are you willing to be part of the quilt? The stew?
If not, and you prefer your own country and culture, then don’t stay here. Instead, let’s try to find a way to meet your needs, back there in your own country and culture. We Americans have been and are the most generous people in the world. Yes, there are exceptions; there are crooks and creeps everywhere, and no one is perfect. Nevertheless,
American is not only unique as a land of freedom and opportunity, but
we have been generous in our success—sharing foreign aid, food, medical
assistance, and even jobs. Many of our people have died on foreign soil to defeat your enemies as well as our own. At times, our approach has been well intentioned but misguided, even helping our own poor. Yet, we learn from our mistakes and keep trying. We even help enemies we have defeated to rebuild, as in the case of Japan, Germany, and now Afghanistan and Iraq.
It’s never too late to go home. I have tutored a number of Sudanese refugees, and many of them hope to return to their war-torn land. Their goal is to learn, go home some day, and share their skills with their own people. Many of them, in the meantime, send money back to family, which brings me to my last suggestion.
5) Find the best ways to help those you left behind. One old slogan says, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” By the time your fish get there, they will stink. Send a fishing pole. In other words, sending cash is the least helpful and, potentially, most likely to lead to problems. I realize that sometimes it is the only way to provide for those in need, especially children. Yet, agents of crime, drugs, extortion, and corruption may pocket some or all of the money before it gets to your loved ones or they may simply misuse or waste it.
You know your country and culture better than most of us here, so we may need to work together to find better ways to help. You will do that better as an educated, informed citizen, but we can get started as you prepare. To start, almost every country has people and agencies set up to help. It
is always better to send non-perishable food, clothing, shoes, and
other supplies rather than money, and it’s usually preferable to work
through a legitimate, reputable intermediary. Frankly, Christian missionaries are among the best. They
usually have their own support, live modestly themselves, and already
care about your people; they know or are learning the language and have
local contacts, other honest Christian people.
Be suspicious of advocacy and activist groups. Many of them are more interested in your perpetual victim status, as I mentioned earlier. Many are communists, who would replace one kind of oppression with another. Communism has never, ever worked anywhere to make the lives of poor people better. Instead, it has fostered rebellion, death, and oppression, making life miserable for everyone, except the leaders. Be equally suspicious of anyone who promotes violence. Armed rebellion or terrorism may seem to be the only way to displace the powerful, but more peaceful methods have worked, too. Listen carefully to those who want to fight and kill; they are probably not really your friends.
Capitalism is a powerful tool for gaining both freedom and prosperity. How many of your people also want the chance for a good life? They number in the hundreds of millions around the world, and they cannot all come to the United States! Instead, we need to export the key to our freedom to such places, and you can help. Study
the true story of America’s birth, her heroes, and the ideas recorded
in our Declaration of Independence, the U. S. Constitution, and the
Bill of Rights. Find out what capitalists,
conservatives, libertarians, classic liberals, and patriots say and
teach in books, on talk radio, and on the Internet. If you hear someone using bad names instead of thoughtful arguments, find out what the ones they dislike have to say. They call other people names to hide their own weak ideas and refuse to discuss opposing ideas.
Find people who really care about folks like you. They are the ones who actually help—teach English, help you find good jobs, and get their hands dirty as they do it. Some who talk a lot want you to think they care about you. For others, it’s a job; some care enough to do much more than their job requires, but some just do it to get paid. Those who really care get drawn into your life because they just can’t help themselves. They see your need and have to do something. They’re good people, and you can usually trust them.
I have tutored refugees, undocumented teenagers, and foreign students from countries all over the world. I hope my arguments have been persuasive and I want you to know why I made them. At
least 2 or 3 million Sudanese have died, and millions more have been
separated from family, lost their homes, and been enslaved. Drugs and drug gangs make life miserable for many in Central America. War, famine, and disease have devastated Africa and Asia. Modern slavery is a fact of life in many places around the world, more than I had ever imagined. I
have learned about countries, whose names I didn’t even recognize,
where evil men enjoy their power and make life a burden, in the name of
religion or ideology.
People come here to escape, to survive, and perhaps to make a better life. Those I teach are teenagers without their parents, many of whom have died. They are kids, strangers among strangers, and yet often quite amazing. Undoubtedly, they suffer from grief, loneliness, depression, and post-traumatic stress, but I rarely see any of it. Instead, I often see polite, respectful, cheerful, hopeful kids trying to adapt to unbelievable changes. I also see a system that often leaves them wholly unprepared to make a good life here. Schools don’t teach them English very well, if at all. Many end up stuck in the worst kinds of jobs, jobs that many politicians say Americans don’t want. Frankly, they are often jobs that nobody should want as lifetime occupations.
Now you know why I have written this article. I want better for them. I want better for you. I want better for my country. I want better for the peoples of the countries of the world, and I believe my suggestions are the right way to get it done. Learn
English, become a legal citizen, don’t be a victim, just be an
American, and then find the best way to help your people back home.
Dealing with the Immigration Problem
Dealing with the immigration problem isn’t difficult. Convincing the politicians is the real problem. First, secure the borders by whatever means necessary to make them
secure—technology, fences, adequate border guards, and national guard
supplementing them. We need to know who is crossing our borders so we can stop those who threaten our security. Second, deport any illegal who commits a felony, immediately. We don’t need a series of trials to satisfy “due process,” since any illegal without a green card may be deported. Third, punish employers who knowingly hire illegals, thoroughly, consistently, and to the full extent of the law. Without jobs, there will be few illegals. Fourth,
if we indeed need the workers, and we may, then set up a “guest worker
program” to which non-citizens may apply, whether currently in the
country or not. Make it clear that, without proper papers, non-citizens will not have jobs. Determine
at the outset whether “guest workers” have an interest in citizenship,
but provide that option only to those who will make good citizens.
Regarding legitimate immigration, we need to restore the common sense rules that used to apply. First, we must allow a limited number of immigrants, only from friendly nations and cultures. We need to drop all that multicultural nonsense. We
have become an homogenous culture without some sort of intentional
strategy, and there are plenty of prospective new Americans who want to
become citizens without the risk of bringing potential enemies or those
whose goal is changing or destroying our American way of life. Second,
we must stop bringing people here who are sick or otherwise not capable
of becoming self-supporting contributors to the American economy. Immigration is not welfare, and immigrants must not become permanent welfare recipients. Third,
I believe we may bring a modest number of orphans and “unaccompanied
minors,” but we need to be sure we have adequate foster care for them. We
also provide them with a good education and not the dregs of our own
public system that is failing to teach American children adequately. Fourth, we must carefully screen Islamic applicants for immigration. I
suspect such investigation will find relatively few suitable
applicants, during this time of war (Furthermore, I have learned, by
experience, that few American homes are ready or able to house Islamic
children because the culture differences are far greater than most
Americans even begin to understand).
Of course, I believe prospective citizens should be required to follow the 5 steps I have listed. We should require they follow the steps necessary for them to become true Americans. I believe these requirements must be spelled out clearly before we accept them as immigrants. One of my refugee students is from Afghanistan. He is a Shiite Muslim, but he understands everything I have recommended here. He
has a tremendous opinion of the United States, he wants to become a
citizen, and he even accepts that he might have to become a soldier and
possibly fight and kill other Muslims. He has a surprisingly tolerant attitude about other religions, including my Christianity. He
has also given me a clearer glimpse into the confusing world of the
Middle East—Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey, all places where
he has lived. He asks me many difficult
questions, well beyond the scope of ESL, and he has become a
friend. I believe several of my Muslim students will become good
American citizens and part of “one nation under God,” but I have had
others that I feel cross the line of acceptability, even in the name of
compassion. Those who would prefer a strict Islamic rule would
destroy such compassionate efforts, just as they have made them
impossible in many of the countries ruled by Islamic law.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I believe we have to fix the problem without government’s help. I pray that I am wrong, but I seriously doubt they will do what needs to be done. Maybe they will finally listen to those of us saying, “Fix this now!” I believe, however, that we need to create schools for immigrants, private Christian schools that teach what I have suggested. By
doing so, we help those who come here for help, we turn them into
productive citizens capable of functioning here, and, by caring for
them and teaching them, we who them the love Christ, as well as to the
advantages of the American way of thinking We
can address the fears we may have of losing our culture to the invasion
of others by helping them integrate into our way of life. We
prevent them becoming pawns in the socialist, multicultural, and
anti-American strategies of the political and educational elite, and,
frankly, we will rescue them from the failing public schools, which
give them even less of an education than they do our American kids, if
you can believe that. A national network of
Christian schools for immigrants is the key to solving the immigration
problem, one not dependent on politicians. I am explaining my reasons here.