By Kelsi Peace, Features Editor
You are worried. You are starving. Your family is starving, and you are running out of hope. The new frontier everyone is talking about crosses your mind, but as always, you shove it aside knowing that it could take years to get past the legalities. What if you simply slipped past the system – not to scavenge off another country, but to work for higher wages and a better life. Either way, you worry.
I can’t help wondering if many illegal immigrants experience such internal dilemmas before they decide to come to the United States. Surely few wake up one morning, casually wander across the border and say, “sweet – I’m in America today.”
So why do some Americans hope to discover and deport the estimated 11 million undocumented workers in our country – do people honestly believe it will be as simple as shoving these people out of our country? They are, after all, human beings.
Without U.S. citizenship, yes, but human nonetheless. We can’t simply herd them away and call it a solution.
Rather than pouring $14 million dollars into a wall that dehumanizes immigrants and ought to cause America to hang her head in shame, we should use the money to improve the bureaucracy immigrants are forced to slog through for citizenship.
According to an article in The New York Times on Feb. 1, United States immigration authorities proposed “to raise fees for visas and citizenship documents by an average of 66 percent, promising to use the added money to modernize and speed up an antiquated, overburdened bureaucracy.”
This plan sounds great, but is so costly it doesn’t promise to actually make a difference. Improving the process of gaining citizenship will make it less daunting and more efficient, encouraging would-be-illegals to take the legal route into America instead. But let’s recall why many immigrate in the first place – not because they’re too wealthy in their home countries. And if immigrants can’t pay higher fees, we already know some can find other ways into America.
Don’t expect immigrants to pay to improve our system, and don’t expect people to stop coming into the U.S. Instead, let’s help them to enter legally, to obtain the responsibilities and the freedoms of citizenship and to contribute to our society.
I recognize immigration is a complex issue. Some express concern over legal immigrants, claiming our country is too full and our heritage as a country of immigrants is a thing of the past.
But better to have documentation for all who enter our country than to think building a wall or patrolling a border will stop illegal immigration.
I don’t believe most illegal immigrants arrive in the United States hoping to feed off our public systems; instead, I think they arrive in desperation, striving after something they hope to find in America. Lets help them to do it right, and help ourselves stay informed about everyone who enters our country.
Because honestly, if you were starving and worried enough, wouldn’t you cross an invisible line to better your life?