Goodbye, Hello, Lou Dobbs: Whither this Nation of Immigrators?
[Blogger's Note: With the surrender by Lou Dobbs last Wednesday of his role at CNN as an anti-immigrant advocacy journalist, and his refusal to rule out a run for political office, It's time to reprise my reasons for blogging about our nation's dysfunctional immigration policies, first published on October 24, 2004. Despite the passing years, the message has muscular legs.]
This is the first posting to a new public-policy blog with a name that must be a typo: www.nationofimmigrators.com. Surely this blogger means to write "Nation of Immigrants," not "Immigrators". No; there's no mistake. We are all Immigrators. We, the inhabitants of America, whether citizen or foreigner, are all Immigrators. In the post-9/11 America of 2004, Immigrators include:
The politicians who make hissing sounds about supporting or opposing legal and illegal immigration but just never get around to passing laws that reflect our fundamental values and - once and for all - fix our country's dysfunctional immigration system;
The demagogic media celebrity and modern-day Father Coughlin who each week night on cable TV frightens the public and derides American employers and the federal government for causing or failing to fix our country's "Broken Borders";
The immigration restrictionists who, like the Know Nothing Party of old, foment fear and hatred of foreigners and espouse a closed-border policy; The owners and executives of virtually every U.S.-based business who reap the economic benefits of immigration;
The bureaucrats who administer our immigration laws, denying or granting citizenship and other immigration benefits, while dispensing fairness to some and injustice to many;
The immigration agents, some Dr. Jekylls and others Mr. Hydes, who sometimes succeed but often fail to protect our borders and remove deportable aliens;
The law-abiding foreign citizens who enter the U.S. with proper visas or Green Cards and contribute mightily to our national economy and our cultural heritage;
The immigration lawyers who despite the scorn of an angry public help immigrants and temporary entrants achieve the American Dream;
The public officials, government appointees, and one- and two-career families, who knowingly hire housekeepers, nannies, handymen and gardeners (all without work permits);
The amnesiac, hypocritical, outraged or just plain apathetic American people who:
- forget that they enjoy the blessings of America only because their ancestors came here as immigrants,
- refuse to admit that immigrants are not "illegal" people but mostly honest and hard-working human beings, some of whom may have broken a largely unenforced and very confusing law,
- will not acknowledge that they enjoy low prices and low inflation because of immigrant labor,
- earn lower or higher wages because some immigrants are exploited and others create new and better jobs for American workers; or
- are indifferent and therefore fail to hold federal government leaders accountable for an incompetently administered, outdated and dysfunctional immigration policy; and
Lest we forget, the 8 to 12 million people from foreign lands who are here without benefit of legal status, and are no more or less "illegal" than the wealthy criminals who are granted amnesty even after evading their fair share of taxes through abusive shelters and avoiding jail by 'fessing-up in so-called "voluntary compliance" programs.
Yes, indeed, America is an ever-squabbling and conflicted Nation of Immigrators. We all benefit and we all suffer (more or less) in this land of immigrant opportunity.
Well Immigrators of this country, unite! You have nothing to lose but your misunderstandings. Heed the postings of this blog. Take a close look at America's immigration system. Learn where it works and where it needs fixing.