Rethinking Immigration Reform

In the weeks since the Boston bombings, there has been increased talk about the need for immigration reform. Some are advocating for a suspension of student visas, others are asking the feds to prevent anyone from what is deemed a “Muslim country” from being able to immigrate to the United States.

Bob Beckel, the “resident liberal” at Fox News said, “I think we really have to consider given the fact that so many people hate us that we’re going to have to cut off Muslim students from coming to this country for some period of time so that we can at least absorb what we’ve got, look at what we’ve got and decide whether some of the people here should be going — be sent back home or sent back to prison.” Beckel added that the feds should “be very selective in allowing any Muslim or future Chinese students in here. Because Chinese students are brought here, taught computers, go back home and hack us.”

Beckel wants you to be afraid of immigrants. The truth is that if each of us trace our family back far enough, we all immigrated from somewhere. The question is: “Why?” Why did our families immigrate here from wherever they came from? R. Lee Wrights answered that question shortly after his bid for the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination ended, “People come to America — legally or illegally — for the same reasons they’ve been coming here for centuries. Immigrants come here looking for freedom, for economic opportunity and to make a better life for themselves and their children. They will continue to come here legally or illegally so long as America holds that promise.”

Current federal immigration laws are convoluted and give preferential treatment to individuals from certain countries. The current system also relies on quotas, hosts and in some cases an immigration lottery, as well as preferred treatment to athletes and refugees. This must change, and there should be one uniform immigration law. I believe the best model law is the “wet foot, dry foot rule” in place for people fleeing Cuba. Under this rule, anyone from Cuba who makes it safely into the United States, is allowed to stay. The aspect of this rule that I don’t like is that the Coast Guard patrols the waters looking for people with “wet feet” in order to redirect them back to Cuba. The immigration policy of the United States of America should once again resemble the words written on the Statue of Liberty:
          “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-tost to me,
          I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”