more people the opportunity to become U.S. citizens
a letter to the editor written in response to this column
By Steve Shinney
October 4, 2006 | If Neil Diamond is to be believed
-- and he's never steered us wrong before -- people
are coming to America, today. The question is not whether
or not people will come to America. Everyone who has
ever lived on this continent, even Native Americans
if you go back so far it doesn't matter, has ancestors
who come from somewhere else.
It's also not a question of whether or not people
will come here legally. The last 20 years has shown
us that no natural body of water from the Rio Grande
to the Pacific Ocean will prevent people from coming
here. Does anyone honestly think a chain link fence
is going to change that?
The question then becomes, what will these people
searching for a better life, find when they get here?
Simple economical logistics show the United States
cannot take care of everyone in the world. But we can
take care of more than we are now.
Rather than just closing our countries doors to the
world or flinging them open to the world, America as
a nation should look for something in between the two
Rather than spend millions of dollars trying to catch
illegal immigrants, why not make immigration easier?
Improvements need to be made both in the number of applicants
allowed to legally take up residence each year and in
the ease of the necessary process.
The benefits of such reform are many. If a higher
number of people coming into this country are legal,
the government can keep tabs on them. New Americans
will be able to enjoy the health, educational and other
benefits those of us born here enjoy. Many lives of
people making the treacherous journey to come here through
unofficial channels could be saved. There's a drastically
lower chance for starving in line at an embassy as there
is in the desert.
Being a citizen doesn't guarantee these people will
obtain the American dream, but it does ensure minimum
wage. With a living income, these people could be taxed,
money that could be used in a thousand different places,
even in further efforts to curb illegal immigration.
We could still limit the number of people coming into
our country and help more people make better lives for
The people most benefited by these changes would be
those who would never think to do anything illegal.
Many people who came to American within the system have
found the land of opportunity has become the land of
red tape and long lines. These people aren't helped
by the average American's ignorance. Many people out
there think becoming a citizen requires nothing more
than signing a few papers.
Reality is not so simple. Jay Salmon, a recent USU
graduate, spent almost a year and over $1,000 to merely
apply for -- not necessarily get -- a green card, and
he was married to an American girl and is from freakin'
Canada. That's America, Jr. So, contrary to popular
belief, simply marrying an American does not guarantee
citizenship. Are we really the kind of country that
would force a family to split up because one of the
parents didn't fill out enough forms?
As of right now, we are.
This needs to change. America needs to be more friendly
to people coming here. We can do this, making the lives
of new arrivals easier and safer while still controlling
the number of people who enter our borders.
Also, the general population needs to be more aware
of what's going on. Every American should learn the
immigration laws. Not the entire encyclopedia worth
obviously, but the basics. If you don't care, step outside
your comfort zone and make friends with someone from
another country trying to make it here. That should
change your outlook.