Immigration is not only a salient issue for the United States but is a salient global issue. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency and UNHCR report there are 43-60 million refugees on the move world-wide including more than ten million Ukrainian refugees displaced by war. We are recognizing a new era of world displacement. Both the British and French governments are alerting other governments of a challenging global immigration crisis. Immigrants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and developing countries across Africa overwhelm UK and European Union countries such as Austria, Hungary, France and Germany. Children of immigrants seeking asylum are at the heart-string of this mass migrant population. Like immigrants to the United States many make the dangerous journey to the shores of Europe seeking a better life in whose eyes Europe's streets are paved with gold. Europe is telegraphing a clear message to those thinking about making the dangerous journey to Europe which is there is no easy way into Europe, our borders are secure and our streets are not paved with gold. Lebanon, Turkey, Jordon, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Australia to name a few deal with thousands seeking asylum. Immigration is an emerging global problem.
We should put in context the following: Although the influx of immigrants to the southern US border who seek entry into the United States is front and center the majority of countries with the highest visa overstay rates are those from the African continent such as Nigeria, the middle east such as Syria, India, south east Asia and East Asia consisting of students, vacationers and professionals with work visas, who over stay their 90 day tourism visas or B1 and B2 work visas. Mexico, Canada, Brazil and Venezuela also have high visa overstay rates. These individuals remain below the radar while working, buying homes and live in such a manner that is difficult to suspect. These individuals arrive legally into the United States with the plan to remain in the United States illegally. An estimated 50 million temporary visa holders enter the United States for work or for tourism and an estimated 2% stay longer. But this is only a DHS estimate. The Center for Migration studies of New York estimates that half of the undocumented immigrants in the United States overstayed their visas and represent India, China, Venezuela and Mexico. Pew Research estimates that unducumented immigrants overstay their visas an average of 15 years.
The new era of world displacement with approximately 60 million refugees on the move has great risks associated with it. Whenever people are moving and scattered around the world away from their homelands taking with them their beliefs and cultures this is by definition a 'diaspora.' Given the scale of forced displacement from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and North Africa, the primary regions of displacement and the belief systems of those being displaced, we can easily include by probability there will be among the 43-60 million refugees on the move world-wide, terror minded refugees classified as 'terror in diaspora.' As refugees fan out around the world inevitably there will be terror minded refugees among them especially given the large estimated numbers of refugees on the move. There is a strong correlation between immigration and national security.
How Does the US handle additional immigrant refugees seeking protection, is it a realistic expectation? Can the US relax it's entrance criteria while mitigating those who engage in terror? We cannot.
To explain the situation regarding the migration crisis and influx from Central America by way of Mexico into the United States we have to look at core attitudes or ask ourselves these questions. Are the expectations of immigrants realistic even reasonable; can America accommodate the dreams of all immigrants who seek refugee status and who dream of a better life? My guess is we can't afford it thus we need to consistently enforce limits per country. I use the acronym R.E.D. to help us frame the conversation.
R - Realistic
E - Expectations and
D - Dreams
Why do many Americans 'see red' or are enormously angry regarding the influx of immigrants crossing our borders and especially crossing by plane, train and bus?
A July 8, 2004 Pew Research survey indicated that a significant number of Americans are not on the same page as many Latino immigrants even when recognizing the extreme societal inequities experienced by Latino immigrants in their home countries. 53% of Americans surveyed when asked 'how should U.S. deal with Recent Influx of Central American Children' responded 'speed up process even if some who are eligible for asylum are deported.' 39% of Americans who sympathize with Latino immigrants responded 'follow current policy though current policy could take a long time.' A significant portion of Americans oppose the inlux of Central American Children. Be careful not to conflate a separate immigration issue 'Path to Legal Status' which is supported by 73% of Americans.
Without realizing it, Latino immigrants have displayed attitudes of unrealistic expectations such as risking their lives and some in desperation crossing the borders. Many immigrants are inordinately hopeful given hope has to have some foundational promise to be viable. We cannot give immigrants false hope by saying "come one and all." We owe the truth to immigrants which is our compassion as a country compels us to care for everyone but unfortunately our pocket books cannot afford it. This conundrum is at the root of our current immigration dialogue.
Inequities intrinsic in domestic policies of many Central American countries, crime, violence, poverty, lack of opportunity and low GDPs have caused immigrants especially those who may be under educated and who are of low socio-economic status to have unrealistic expectations about the United States such as expecting the United States to care for the entire world. This is not realistic and more like a pipe dream! The United States has to work within a budget and carefully choose priorities based on needs, triage arrivals, stabilize them and issue a disposition. Many will have to return home and others may have to request refugee status from other countries. Latinos will have to embrace other alternatives to immigration and seek help from other countries, knock on other doors! I wish we could help everyone and exercise unlimited compassion but this notion is unrealistic.
The primary mistake Americans will make is to adopt an emotional response to the crisis rather than a rational intelligent response. The secondary mistake made by Americans as we argue the benefit of tax revenue from immigrants is to promote financial sustainability at the expense of social sustainability one of three pillars of sustainability the 3rd being environmental sustainability. All three pillars must work together when promoting a viable sustainable plan.
Many Americans' expectations are premised on Federal Immigration Law, 8 U.S.C. § 1325 : US Code - Section 1325: 'Improper Entry by Alien' as well as financial, social, environmental costs and fairness in the implementation of immigration law. Immigrants on the other hand have expectations that are based on their idea of humanitarian aid.
Further more immigrants who have dreams and hopes that are energized by unrealistic expectations are now having a reality check that is hard to handle except for those immigrants who find it difficult to accept reality because hope supercedes reality.
Regarding Americans who 'see red' because of immigration abuse, the truth is if we are reasonable we may be able to help victims who legitimately seek refugee status - H.R. 7311 (110th): William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, Reauthorizations 2005, 2003 and original act of 2000 or children who prove to have extenuating circumstances addressed by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) memorandum of June 15, 2012 but primarily through charities that are already postured to help in any humanitarian crisis. But even these NGOs can be overwhelmed! DAPA - Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents which is a deferred action status to certain undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States since 2010 with children who are American citizens of lawful permanent residents announced November 2014 designed to add an additional layer of protection for immigrants.
The salient issue regarding children of non US citizens may seem untouchable on the surface except after exploring the 14th Amendment, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4, which expressly authorizes the US congress to do the following:
1. Create laws regarding immigration and changing immigration laws
2. Grant citizenship to foreigners
Choosing to use that authority may depend on the persuasion of the national constituency along with a state of emergency.
Finally, the take away is human beings regardless of our ethnicity become disappointed with policy and with others because of unrealistic expectations. Realistic expectations, hopes and dreams must be premised on substantive laws, statutes or amendments to be viable. Unfortunately if and when all expectations bi-laterally become reasonable and realistic, due to the enormous number of Latino immigrants coming at the same time and the enormous comprehensive cost financially, socially and environmentally the majority of immigrants and their supporters will not be satisfied. Latino immigrants must begin looking to other countries for help and not limit themselves to one alternative immigration venue such as the United States!
For Books and Publications by Lemuel Baker, Ph.D see the following: