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All the shouting is taking us nowhere

By Nancy Salvato
web posted June 26, 2006

Sometimes, overwhelmed, I find myself unable to begin any task. After opening and closing the refrigerator several times, pacing the rooms of my house, and generally feeling sorry for myself, I assess the state of affairs. Beginning slowly at first, I organize my environment (vacuum the dog fur out of my carpeting so that I can breathe) and honestly appraise the situation to determine what needs to be addressed next. Upon starting this process, I find myself able to think more clearly and life moves forward. Once again, I can see the forest despite all the trees.

Securing our country from illegal immigrants must pose the same kind of dilemma from people who realize how many holes must be plugged in order to affect the circumstances. All the screaming about the situation must make it that much more difficult to think clearly and form a plan of action. While reading about this problem, in my mind I hear all the arguments in very loud voices and I find it difficult to truly listen to what people are saying because of all the shouting. I want to tell everyone concerned, please just calm down, be quiet, just listen to the silence for a moment so that we can regroup. Now, one at a time, everyone will have a chance to be heard and we shall not jump to any hasty decisions.

There are three major concerns at play: securing our borders so that terrorists cannot enter our country, enforcing the existing laws regarding non citizens residing in our country, and maintaining smooth relations with our neighbors to the north and south. Unfortunately, all three issues become tangled up into a big "quagmire" and therefore the solutions do not adequately deal with what needs to be taken into consideration.

First, in order to address the current illegal aliens living in this country, it must be taken into consideration that there is no feasible way to deport 12 million people. However, if businesses were required to cross check social security numbers and report stolen identities we could deport those in violation of our laws in a more manageable manner. Furthermore, if there was enforcement of the law which requires some sort of visa in order to obtain employment, the wages for unskilled labor would not be so low. This being the case, there would be no more reason to hire an illegal worker over a legal worker. A natural attrition would take place. Finally, there should be a law passed to disallow automatic citizenship for those born in this country.

Next, securing our borders must take priority. Whether building a fence in order to physically construct a blockade against those who would enter our country illegally is the solution, I honestly am not sure. That is not a vote against this method; it is simply a question of whether there is a more viable alternative. While a fence might keep out a number of people, I still don't believe that airports and ports of entry have been secured and those two avenues of egress pose an equally large threat to our population. Yes, we have a missile defense system in case of attack from rockets half way across the globe, but can we track radioactive materials which have another means of entry?

There will soon be elections held in Mexico for a new president, and the PAN party fielding Felipe Calderon and currently represented by Vicente Fox, is trailing behind the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. When Vicente Fox came to our country this past May to discuss an open border policy, many people did not give him any consideration and he was portrayed in the news as the "Mexican Meddler" and "Arrogant Chief Reconquistador" even though he and the PAN party he represents are more inclined toward the United States and our own President Bush than the PRD or any other potential leaders of Mexico. It is much easier to negotiate with friendly neighbors than with those who disagree with our policies. President Fox would like to see a solution that doesn't decimate the Mexican economy and President Bush would like to enact a solution that leaves the U.S. economic situation intact. Certainly, it is in the best interests of both our countries to work together toward a solution. What if Mexico and the U.S. could work together to repel terrorists?

All the yelling and screaming and name-calling is taking us nowhere. Bills should be constructed which deal with each aspect of border control, illegal immigrants, and foreign policy separately. Only then, can this country begin to once again take control of the situation.

Nancy Salvato is the President of The Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (C) (3) research and educational project whose mission is to promote the education of the American public on the basic elements of relevant political, legal and social issues important to our country. She is also a Staff Writer, for the New Media Alliance, Inc., a non-profit (501c3) coalition of writers and grass-roots media outlets, where she contributes on matters of education policy. Copyright (c) Nancy Salvato 2006

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