Immigration has become the Rorschach Test of contemporary American politics. What one thinks about it has become the great divider. It goes something like this...
# If you are pro-immigration, you are said to be for open borders, which makes you a post nation-state globalist.
# If you are anti-immigration, you are a racist, nationalistic xenophobe.
Notice that in both of these scenarios, no distinction is made between legal and illegal immigration. Which means, charitably, that both positions are full of s**t.
For the viva l'immigration set, any nation that shuts off its borders to the free flow of the world's dispossessed is evil. Why, who are we to arbitrarily affix invisible lines on God's Earth, cordon ourselves off from our fellow man and thus shut the door in the faces of our less fortunate brothers and sisters? For these folks, the future is a stateless globe where all people live as one under one government. You know...like heaven, only without the angels. The European Union was and is the first such real world experiment in this sort of thinking. The fact that the British have turned against this future has caused no small amount of exasperation among the world's young, who fear that one of history's most civilized and accomplished nations has been taken over by barbarians.
For the anti-immigration crowd, the issue is too often painted as hordes of swarthy Hispanics seeping through every unguarded inch of our southern border with the active complicit assistance of our own government who refuses to enforce our own laws because the prospect of new Democratic Party voters is too good to pass up. Let them in. Because they have nothing, they will immediately become dependent on government. They are natural ready-made Democratic Party constituents. For many on this side of the debate, the heat of emotion comes from some ill-conceived longing for America as it used to be...Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It To Beaver, white and Protestant.
What's my take? It's actually very simple. I'm an American. As such, I believe in the concept of nations. One of the jobs of a nation is to establish and control its borders. Every nation has a right to decide who and how many people from somewhere else we allow into our country. We have a system of laws drafted by our elected representatives that supposedly control the flow. We have made many changes in those laws over the past hundred years as our needs as a nation have changed. This is right and proper. Yes, the Statue of Liberty stands proudly proclaiming, "Give us your tired, your poor, etc etc." However, it stands on Ellis Island, a tightly controlled entry point for those teaming masses yearning to be free, complete with uniformed customs officials. It's not a free for all.
My position is simple. Enforce the laws of our nation. If we determine that we, in fact, want to open the doors to millions of unskilled laborers...fine. Pass a law. But until that happens, enforce the law.
Back to the fact that I am an American. It's true. I was born here, as were my parents and their parents and their parents before them. Then it gets sketchy. We think that our ancestors came here from either (take your pick) Ireland, Germany, or Britain. One of those at least. What this means is that at some point back in the day, my family were immigrants, and I for one am forever in their debt. One of the great things about being American is that we have so many different types of people here. We have benefitted by the wonderful heritage of so many amazing experiences, of multiple ethnicities being represented here. The foods they brought with them, we all enjoy. The music, the art forms, the color and flair have helped make us great. We weaken ourselves if we say..stop! No more! I want the best and brightest from anywhere in the world to come here with their dreams and talents. But, I want them to come here with the desire to become Americans. I have no desire to turn our country into Yugoslavia. We need less Balkanization, not more. But neither do we need to remove the welcome mat for those who come here...legally. Two members of my family did just that. My sister in law from the Philippines, my niece's husband from Scotland. It was a costly and laborious process, but they did it, and my family is better for their efforts.
What to do with the 10 million or so illegal immigrants already here? I have no idea actually. I wish there weren't 10 million illegal immigrants here. How they got here is a great shame to the rule of law and a black mark on the resumes of those who presume to lead us. But now they are here. The notion of rounding 10 million people up and herding them back to the border has a trail of tears quality to it that no decent human being wants to witness. Any politician who says that this is what they want to do is an idiot and worse...a heartless idiot.
So, to recap. Am I against legal immigration? Certainly not. Am I in favor of an everybody gets in, no questions asked, and here is your democrat party registration form style free for all at the border? Certainly not. We are a nation and as such have a right to control both temporary and permanent entry into our country. We should do so with an eye towards what is in our economic and social interests.