My father's father was a naturalized US Citizen. An immigrant.
The picture above was taken when my grandfather was working and living as a trapper in the Northwest Territory of Canada, many years before he emigrated to the US and married my grandmother. After becoming a citizen, he built, bought, and sold several businesses. He owned a ranch for a while, until Roosevelt's New Deal made it more profitable for him to not plant wheat or run cattle and sheep. Then, he became a store owner and drilled water wells.
His three sons all went off to war during World War II. They all came back alive. The oldest boy was among the "Battered Bastards of Bastogne" who withstood the German siege of Bastogne, France during The Battle of the Bulge.
My point in telling you this snippet of family history is to let you know that I have very personal knowledge of the contributions immigrants make in this country.
In addition to my personal knowledge of the contributions of immigrants, I lived for nearly two years in Ecuador, South America. Ecuador is a wonderful country, and it is, in many ways, very typical of the third-world countries all over the world. This experience, living in a third-world country, not just passing through as a tourist, gave me intimate, first-hand experience with real poverty, political turmoil of the sort that makes our elections look like family picnics, and the hearts, minds and lives of ordinary people who live in these circumstances.
All of these experiences, as well as what I see in the history of the US shapes my views on immigration. Because of these experiences and study, I have come up with a pretty radical view on immigration which might shock many of those who know how politically, economically, and socially conservative I am in my views.
Before I explain my radical immigration proposal, I want to share a little bit of the history of immigration law in America. We all understand that the first Europeans in America were immigrants. In fact there was no real immigration law in America until the US was founded. Even then, for a long time, the only real immigration law was that the President of the US had to have been born in the US. He or she could not be a naturalized US citizen. Alas, my grandfather's political ambitions were capped. :-)
The Constitution authorized Congress to establish immigration and naturalization laws. They left the open borders policy of the Founding Fathers pretty much in place. However, it is relevant to note that from its very start, the immigration and naturalization laws of the US had a racist bent.
Those who know me well will be surprised to hear me say that something is racist. I believe the term is not only over used, but often misapplied. However, as your read on, you will see why an acknowledgement of racism (or ethnicism, to be more accurate) is applicable in this case.
The Naturalization Act of 1790 prescribed the manner in which "free white persons" of "good moral character," could become US citizens. The wording expressly excluded anyone who was not of European descent. As you will see later, this was narrowed at some points to provide the easiest path to those of Northern European descent (people like me and my family).
In 1868 the 14th Amendment to the Constitution was passed, granting citizenship to children born of parents in the US. In 1870 the law was broadened to include blacks, but explicitly excluded anyone of Asian descent. One step forward, and one step backward on the ethnicism front.
In 1882, Congress got even more explicit against the Asians with The Chinese Exclusion Act (everyone of Asian descent was, of course, considered Chinese). This Act was the true beginning of our current immigration laws. It should resonate with many anti-immigrationists that the term "Yellow Peril" was popular at this time, as a shorthand for describing the threat to the US posed by any permanent settlement of the folks who helped build the transcontinental railroad.
The act was tightened in 1884 and renewed again in 1892. In 1902 it was made permanent, not requiring any further debate to renew it. It wasn't repealed until 1943.
In 1907 we clamped down on Japanese immigration, particularly into Hawaii.
In 1882 immigration law banned folks with poor mental health, physical health, or lack of education. In 1901 they outlawed the immigration of Anarchists, after one of the assassinated President McKinley. The Immigration Act of 1917 (note the timing with the First World War), a literacy requirement was added to the immigration law.
Things really got going on the institutionalized ethnicism in 1921 when Congress enacted the Emergency Quota Act. Immigration quotas were set for pretty much all countries outside of Northern Europe. The quotas were intended to limit the number of "undesirables" coming from the countries of Eastern Europe, since Asia and Africa had already been effectively prohibited. The quotas were revised by Congress in 1952. The UK, Germany, and Ireland were the favored countries for immigration. Everyone else were pretty much personae non grata.
Immigration laws were used to strip Indians of their citizenship and to remove the property rights of Native Americans (not the same folks as Indians, who come from India). Those property rights were later restored, but I think anyone can now see the pattern our immigration laws have followed for a very long time. From the very early on they were aimed at ensuring that the majority of people in this country had Anglo-Saxon ethnic origins. This meant that, as noted before, Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales, and Germany were given preferential immigration treatment, with the countries of Sweden, Norway, and Finland not far behind. In contrast with these favored ethnicities, everyone else was put on a quota system.
The quotas restricted all Eastern and Southern Europeans and they almost excluded African, Asian and Middle Eastern.
Although in 1965, they ostensibly abolished the quota system based on national origins, for the first time, they implemented quotas on immigration from countries in the Western Hemisphere, and it gave preference to immigrants with skills that were desired to fuel our economy.
For those who mistakenly believe this all came about as a result of Republican Racism, alas no less than Senator Edward Kennedy was a primary architect of this bill and is quoted as saying, in defense of this bill, "the bill will not flood our cities with immigrants. It will not upset the ethnic mix of our society. It will not relax the standards of admission. It will not cause American workers to lose their jobs." So, the racist/ethnicist inclinations cross and crisscross the aisle of Congress. The hands of neither major party are clean in this ugly history.
In my view, the quotas on immigration from the Western Hemisphere are a response to the "Brown Peril." Unfortunately, the fear of having whites drowned in a flood of Hispanics is not without some foundation. No less than the President of Mexico has endorsed the "Reconquista", the taking over of the Southwest United States by Hispanics, specifically by Mexicans. The avowed aim of this movement is to return those lands to Mexico, or to turn those states into pro-Mexican puppets within the United States.
The term Reconquista has its origins in Spain as the Christians of Spain worked for about 780 years to retake the peninsula from the Muslim (AKA Moorish) forces which had conquered it. Now, it is about the cultural and political retaking of the US Southwest by pro-Mexicans.
Regardless of the aims of the Mexican Reconquista, the way to combat it is not through overt or covert discrimination in our immigration laws. Rather, it is by doing what Americans do best, leading by example. The reality is, if things in Mexico and other countries in the Western Hemisphere were so great, their people wouldn't be beating a path to get into this country. We have something they want, and it isn't land, it is freedom.
In this country, if the police pick you up off the street, you get a phone call. You don't disappear, as happens in so many other parts of this hemisphere. In this country, you can disagree with the President, or the Government in general without fear that some pro-government para-military forces are going to drag you from your bed in the middle of the night and execute you in front of your family, or kill your family in front of you, and then kill you.
In this country, if you are born into what we here call poverty, you are not automatically condemned to a life at the bottom economic rungs of society. Interestingly, a recent study of the top 1% in the US found that not only are they not the idle rich, they are working hard for their money, but fewer than 10% of them inherited their wealth. That means that 9 out of 10 of the top 1% rose from lower economic positions to attain great wealth.
Immigrants to this country are four times more likely to become millionaires than are native-born citizens. Why? Because those immigrants have lived in societies where their status at birth capped their opportunities for advancement. They were ambitious souls, so they came to America, where no one can utterly block the advancement of their ambitions.
By the way, don't confuse being a millionaire with being in the top 1%. The top 1% are billionaires and hundred millionaires. In this country, more people around you than you might imagine are millionaires. The book, The Millionaire Next Door outs them very well.
|Photo (C) NBC News|
The Road So Far
- Our Immigration Laws Are Ethnically and Socially Discriminatory
- Immigrants Tend to Boost Our Economy
My Radical Immigration Plan
My plan has a few simple (but not easy) points.
- Build a digital wall
- Abolish all quotas and immigration number limits
- Deny immigration requests only on the basis of criminal activity or for national security reasons.
- Make US Citizenship a Desirable Privilege
- Give Aliens Clear Paths to US Citizenship
Let me elaborate on each point.
Build a Digital Wall
We have technology to create a digital, biometric registry of every person coming into the US. Every person seeking entry to the US, including diplomats, should have their fingerprints, retinal scans, facial scans, DNA, and all other biometric information, along with their name and other identifiers loaded into a national registry which is accessible to all law enforcement agencies in the US. Each entrant should receive an Alien ID Card with a unique identifying number. Possession of this card would allow them the legal right to work at any job in the US for which they can get hired, be that picking lettuce, or being a brain surgeon.
Aliens would be required to update their addresses whenever they moved. This could be done with a simple box and bit of info on mail forwarding materials with the USPS.
This registry should be constantly cross referenced to databases of crimes and criminal evidence. Anyone attempting to enter who is found to have been deported due to criminal activity would be denied entry.
Abolish All Quotas and Immigration Number Limits
This is very simple, and means just what it says. We will let as many people into our country as want to come, as long as they are not criminals or national security threats.
Deny immigration requests only on the basis of criminal activity or for national security reasons.The Alien Registry would need to be constantly accessed by our national security forces and intelligence services to screen out known threats to national security and known criminals. Criminals might be known either internationally, within our own borders, or to the security and police forces of their country of origin. Anyone who triggers a flag from this check would either be automatically denied, or require a security review and a waiver before being admitted to the US and issued an Alien ID card.
Make US Citizenship a Desirable Privilege
As controversial as my earlier points are, they probably pale by comparison with this one. The short version of this point is that Aliens should not enjoy all the rights and privileges accorded to US Citizens. Their basic judicial rights, trial by jury, right of appeal, right against unreasonable search and seizure, etc., would be provided. But none of the taxpayer funded financial programs available for US Citizens would be available.
- All government entitlement programs, be they at the municipal, state, or Federal level are reserved solely for US Citizens. This would also include things like unemployment insurance and workmen's compensation.
- Aliens would be able to attend public schools, but would not enjoy resident rates at state funded colleges or universities.
- They would not be eligible for any voucher programs for state funded schools.
- Their wages and earnings would be subject to Social Security and Medicaid Taxes, just like everyone else, but they would be ineligible to participate in those programs as recipients, no matter how many years they had paid in.
- Obviously, they could not vote in any municipal, state, or Federal elections and could not hold any publicly elected office.
- They could not lawfully purchase, sell, or possess firearms or weapons of any kind.
- They could enlist in the US Military, which would provide a fast-track for citizenship.
Are these restrictions unfair? Absolutely. They are deliberately calibrated to deny to Aliens many of the most desirable rights under the US Constitution and the laws of the land. This makes US Citizenship a desirable privilege.
Give Aliens Clear Paths to CitizenshipThe short version of what follows is that Aliens need to keep their noses clean while they are here.
- Anyone desiring US Citizenship should be required to speak, read, and write English at a minimal level. Perhaps 6th or 8th grade level of competency?
- They should be able to pass a basic test, showing that they understand their Constitutional rights and responsibilities as citizens.
- They should be required to sign an oath of allegiance to the support and defend the US Constitution, much like that which is required of those who take public office and those who enlist in the US military.
- They should have resided in the US for at least 5 years with no history of violence or drug crimes.
- Any Alien currently under a felony indictment is ineligible for Citizenship until the indictment is dropped or they are either pardoned or acquitted in a court of law.
- Aliens who enlist in the US Armed Forces can apply for Citizenship after just 2 years of residency. All other requirements apply.
- Any Alien convicted of violent crimes, drug crimes, or any Felony will be deported immediately after their release from prison, regardless of whether that release is due to completion of their sentence or probation, and they will be ineligible for reentry into the US.
- They could immediately proceed to an Alien Registration Port and become Registered Aliens.
- They could return to their country of origin and apply for entrance from there.
All Aliens currently residing in the country would have 12 months to get their Alien Registration ID and become a Registered Alien. After that twelve month period, if they are apprehended and determined to be an illegal alien, they would be deported with no possibility of readmission to the US. Their evasion of the law would be a de facto admission of ill-intent toward the US, its laws, its government, and its citizens.
Unregistered or illegal aliens who have been residing in this country prior to the enactment of these laws, and who subsequently register, would have no shorter path to citizenship than the 5 year requirement. All other restrictions would also apply until they attain their US Citizenship. It would be as though they had arrived in the US on the day they received their Alien Registration ID.
The United States of America is the greatest nation on earth. Our Constitution is a marvel of world history and both an example and bulwark of liberty for people all over the world. Our Constitutional Rights are worth shedding blood to defend. They are also worth protection from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Immigrants have helped make America great. They continually inject new energy into our country and our society. We need to abolish the racist/ethnicist underpinnings of our current immigration laws and replace them with laws which honor the principles which have made this country great. They need to embody the principles and sentiments expressed in the poem New Colossus, which is associated with the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,With conquering limbs astride from land to land;Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall standA mighty woman with a torch, whose flameIs the imprisoned lightning, and her nameMOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-handGlows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes commandThe air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries sheWith silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
I have my doubts that my Radical Immigration ideas will ever get read by President Trump, or anyone in power in the US Government. But, I will put them out there anyway, and go on the record. Perhaps my friend Eric Trump will see this post and show it to his Dad.
|Tom Sheppard and Eric Trump, son of President Donald Trump|
Tom Sheppard is a business consultant and coach to small business owners and individuals. He is a recognized author with dozens of titles in business and fiction to his credit. One of his endeavors is to help those who want to see their own book in print. He does this through his trademarked Book Whispering Process (TM). The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.
The author is not an official spokesperson for any organization or person mentioned herein.
(c) Copyright 2018 A+ Results LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Your comments are welcome... Please observe some ground rules. No profanity, vulgarity, or personal attacks. Profanity, vulgarity and personal attacks not only betray a lack of vocabulary and imagination, they also are the hallmarks of bigotry, and bigotry is the hallmark of someone who is fundamentally insecure in their views. Facts are always welcome.