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Expanding upon My Position on Immigration and Border Control: Three Major points

Lou Lyras

January 2017

Some people may argue that they hold no ill-will against immigrants generally speaking, but they believe that people entering U.S. borders should do so “the right way.” Such a position ignores the complicated facts on the ground – that there are millions of unauthorized immigrants living in America without legal documents but these people, and their children, have become a part of American life. Life is not cut and dry, so it’s worth expanding on my position on immigration and border control.

1. It is impossible to deport 12 million immigrants

We cannot be the country that opened its arms and took in immigrants and refugees when they sought new opportunities and a second chance, and then after years of becoming a part of our country, tear them away from their families and homes. We cannot do this. I will not do this. These people are here. They are working, and many have lived here and have been working here for decades. They have established roots, bought homes, and have children who are US citizens. Whether immigrants are undocumented, have overstayed their visas, are DACA, TPS, or refugees, Congress has to give them a way to become citizens.

Immigration reform for these people is not amnesty. It is honestly admitting to everyone that we cannot send them back, and they cannot be forcibly removed. They must be given a path toward citizenship and begin working openly in our economy. Those who were not allowed to participate, because they are afraid of deportation, would come out of hiding to the dismay of companies who exploit their status for personal gain. Granting legal status will stop thousands of American companies who only want cheap labor. Instead of punishing the undocumented immigrants for working to feed their families, punish the businesses who hire them.

2. End the demand for cheap labor and drugs

People migrate when they seek new opportunities for themselves that are not available in their country of origin, or when conditions in their home country become intolerable due to war, poverty, starvation, and crime. Why would anyone leave their families and friends, their homes, their country, if they have what they need at home? For the most vulnerable immigrants and refugees to our country, only desperation makes them seek a safe haven here, and that is why giving aid to stabilize their own country will prevent migration. I want to help them stay in their own countries if they can do so safely. This makes much more sense than building a wall. But financial aid must be given to aid the people who are suffering and not to the corrupt governments that suppress their own people.

We need to decriminalize drugs in our country to stop the flow of drugs from gangs that are making billions of dollars at our expense and causing suffering on both sides of our borders. Illegal migration across all our borders border and the criminal activity involving drugs and inhumane human trafficking is the unfortunate consequence of our war on drugs. I would fight to take away their main source of revenue. Drugs must be decriminalized.

Trade agreements between countries, while necessary and important, must take into consideration the labor on both sides of our southern border with Mexico. When we make trade deals that do not help the labor on both sides of the border we only increase the economic disparity that forces migration into our country. It was Henry Ford who believed that paying workers more would enable them to afford the cars they were producing on the factory line. Our trade agreements must include this proposition so that labor on both sides benefit and local economies grow. They too must be able to buy what they make.

3. Yet sadly walls and barriers are needed

Because of the significant economic disparity between some of our southern neighbors , and because of cruelty inflicted on people due to incompetent and criminal governments; and because of crime and devastation from gangs, we need to control access to the border.

Borders and barriers are requisite, but they have to be humane, practical and efficient. We must recognize that our southern border spans 2,000 miles with 12 million people living on each side and millions more crossing legally every year. It’s a fact that we need barriers, fences, control points and holding areas to help people safely return to their country of citizenship. But silly walls in the middle of the desert costing billions of dollars that are 30 feet high will only create a demand for 32 foot ladders and shovels. Historically, our nation beckoned people from all over the world of every color, country and creed. We are the indigenous peoples of the United States, the Africans who were forced to come here on slave ships, the people from war-torn Europe, and the migrants who landed on our shores and crossed our borders who make our country great. I will never forget that.

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