What is all of the fighting really about?
Despite all of the rhetoric, spin and distractions, we are facing a very simple issue: Are American citizens better off with a physical barrier along our border with Mexico?
This is a simple question. Regardless of your political affiliation, or who your favorite elected officials or preferred thought leaders are, the answer should be a simple yes or no. And, being intelligent citizens, we should be able to fundamentally explain our reasoning and thus defend our answer.
Given many of the actual words from both Republicans and Democrats in the recent past, it is reasonable to conclude that the current fight is not about the wall, it’s not even about illegal immigration.
Lately, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer has expressed vehement opposition to the wall. However, that wasn’t always the case.
In 2009, as the Chairman of the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee, Senator Schumer was a Keynote Speaker at the 6th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, Migration Policy Institute at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.
These are direct quotes from his 24 minute speech:
“… American people are fundamentally pro-legal immigration and anti-illegal immigration.”
“Illegal immigration is wrong, and a primary goal of comprehensive immigration reform must be to dramatically curtail future illegal immigration.”
“Operational control of our borders–through significant additional increases in infrastructure, technology, and border personnel–must be achieved within a year of enactment of legislation.”
“All illegal aliens present in the United States on the date of enactment of our bill must quickly register their presence with the United States Government, and submit to a rigorous process of converting to legal status and earning a path to citizenship, or face imminent deportation.”
“… illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple. When we use phrases like “undocumented workers,” we convey a message to the American people that their Government is not serious about combating illegal immigration, which the American people overwhelmingly oppose.”
“Above all else, the American people want their Government to be serious about protecting the public, enforcing the rule of law, and creating a rational system of legal immigration that will proactively fit our needs rather than reactively responding to future waves of illegal immigration.”
“People who enter the United States without our permission are illegal aliens, and illegal aliens should not be treated the same as people who entered the United States legally.”
“… any immigration solution must recognize that we must do as much as we can to gain operational control of our borders as soon as possible.“
“Between 2005 and 2009, a vast amount of progress has been made on our borders and ports of entry. This progress includes: … construction of 630 miles of border fence that create a significant barrier to illegal immigration on our southern land border;”
“… we must create a mechanism whereby all illegal aliens present in the United States on the date of enactment of comprehensive immigration reform must quickly register their presence or face immediate deportation.“
Considerably different from what he says now. So again, what’s the fight really about?
Perhaps one of the reasons that we citizens, neighbors, brothers and sisters, parents and children, friends, acquaintances, and even complete strangers are increasingly and enthusiastically fighting with each other is this: without clarity or consistency, it is highly unlikely we will ever reach compromise, much less cooperation.
Sadly, that seems to be exactly what too many of our elected officials want.