“The culture of poverty has some universal characteristics which transcend regional, rural-urban, and even national differences…..
-Oscar Lewis, “The Culture of Poverty” in Four Horseman
The United States has always been a nation of immigrants. Immigrants like the Irish in the 1840’s who left to escape starvation and would later in the 1860’s welcome the Civil War as a job opportunity with guaranteed meals and a roof over their heads. Whether it is the Italians, Scandinavians, English, Scottish….you name it, let’s face it, they were not “European nobility” upon their arrival by any stretch of the imagination. Immigrants were struggling, often times impoverished. Now, we are faced with what has been labeled our current “immigration crisis”. Numerous immigrants are arriving from our southern borders and they are coming to America for the same reasons Immigrants have always arrived here; opportunity.
A lot of people are motivated by the American dollar. In many Latin American countries the American dollar is one of the main sources of income with remittances accounting for up to 15% of some Latin American countries total G.D.P. (http://www.pewhispanic.org/2013/11/15/remittances-to-latin-america-recover-but-not-to-mexico/ph-remittances-11-2013-1-03/). These immigrants actually provide a weapon against inflation. The value of the dollar has remained strong because of these immigrants coinciding with the fact that American’s wages have decreased as a percentage of our total G.D.P (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/sunday-review/americas-productivity-climbs-but-wages-stagnate.html?_r=0). This pinch on the blue-collar middle class has unfortunately helped restrain inflation and the remittances from immigrants have helped as well. The immigrant contribution is the siphoning of the American dollar outside our borders which serves to help maintain the value of the dollar by making it more scarce within our borders. In addition to their resource as an anti-inflation tool, these siphoned American dollars then also provide an important source of income for countries just south of our border. These countries are often impoverished, in desperate shape. These exported American dollars not only provide a restrain on inflation, but serve as an aid package to countries close to home and their political/economic stability is in the best interest of the United States. Therefore without a doubt, Immigration is good but….
…I do understand the need to document and regulate immigration. What was once the land of opportunity remains as such but unfortunately the bureaucracy and guidelines for immigration are not the same. The process has now become lengthy, clumsy, and inefficient (http://www.cfr.org/immigration/us-immigration-debate/p11149). There is a definite need to streamline the process for those immigrants whose primary reason is to work, while exporting their dollars. Documentation would also provide these immigrants with a level of protection allowing our law enforcement to share information on the identity of these workers (although sharing information seems to be a huge obstacle at all levels of government which is bewildering in and of itself in this day an age of cloud computing and shared data bases).
I also sympathize in part with Arizona, specifically regarding their struggle to identify who is responsible for immigration as our federal government and state responsibilities are not clearly defined. Regardless if you support President Obama and his latest efforts to reform immigration, or if you are a conservative who believes that immigration is the responsibility of congress, or a conservative who is a state’s rights advocate in regards to immigration; one thing remains the same and that is we would all benefit by the clarification of our immigration policy that would ultimately refine the process making it much less cumbersome.
We were all immigrants and at one point the system did work for our ancestors. Our current system needs fixing, so let’s get beyond partisan politics and do something but beware… it will involve compromise.