I am a political independent who has concerns with both major presidential candidates.
In addition, I particularly dislike the negative focus on the subject of immigration, a dynamic and vital part of our American heritage.
Except for Native Americans, all of us have immigrant roots. All of us benefitted from the welcoming attitude of the immigrants who preceded us.
In fact, the spirit and energy of immigrants have made America into the greatest nation in history.
Whether it's the potato famine in Ireland, religious persecution in Europe, or more generally seeking a better life, the reasons immigrants come to the U.S. proves they are a class of people who have the courage to pull up stakes, face the unknown, and play any hand they are dealt to fulfill their dreams. They are people on the move!
America thrives on their energy and spirit. Our Statue of Liberty invites all with the statement: Give me your tired and your poor...because the opportunity in America is so powerfully transformational.
One of the wealthiest people I know arrived here at age 13, living alone, penniless, staying alive by shining shoes. All of us know of stories like that.
America desperately needs that immigrant spirit and energy, because the downfall of any country--and every extinct civilization to date--has been a complacency bred by those who achieve success, became seduced by its fruits, want to protect the "status quo," and thus become a blockage to growth and development.
From a practical standpoint, experts would tell us that overly restricting immigration is a stagnant, if not dangerous attitude for a complex dynamic like America, as pointed out in a recent article by David Brooks:
- One study found each new immigrant produced 1.2 new jobs.
- One report found immigrants accounted for 28% of all new small businesses in 2011.
- From 2005-2012, 40+% of tech start-ups in Silicon Valley had at least one foreign-born founder.
- One study found 2-3% of Mexican, Guatemalan, and Salvadorians without high school degrees were incarcerated compared with 11% of their domestic counterparts.
These statistics indicate America grows more solidly by its immigrant than by its domestic population.
So for the welfare of our nation, we need a healthy flow of immigrants to offset those who seek an America for themselves. We of course should seek accountability for undocumented immigrants. But we also should not forget those who pioneered and developed this country sometimes didn't let the rules interfere with their vision. So let's take their desire and progress into account.
Speaking frankly, I'm not moved by fears of terrorism. Since 9-11, I'm proud of the exceptional job our people have done in protecting us from foreign terrorism, and the record clearly shows we should be more concerned with acts of domestic terrorism than what ISIS has been able to incite within our borders.
I further have great confidence that it is only a matter of time our armed forces in working together with other nations will erase the ISIS caliphate.
I'm not qualified to talk about the need for a "wall" along Mexico's border. But at the very least, it is demeaning the American Spirit to have the Statue of Liberty opening up to the world on one side of America, while something is closing America on the other side.