There is a lot of politically created misinformation being spread about immigration in the media today, and unfortunately including some well-meaning citizens unaware of our history on this topic. Yes, we are a nation of immigrants, but immigrants legally accepted that assimilated through a managed process. Our history has demonstrated that we required all coming here to provide information on their background, job skills and specific sponsors, while also screening them for any illnesses that they could spread. It was for the benefit of our country that we accepted immigrants, to make us stronger.
Not until the last few decades has the notion of open borders and accepting any and all peoples who can stealthily sneak across the borders or mothers who can give birth to a child here been considered a part of our “policy” even though it is not part of immigration law. While often portrayed in the media as a totally emotional situation, legal immigration is a policy decision with specific criteria. There were many times in our history when the U.S. totally halted immigration, such as the 1920s to the 1960s, due to a variety of factors, but one being to provide enough time for assimilation.
The situation with the Syrian refugees is sad, but complicated by the fact that we are living in a climate of terror attacks. The U.S. government owes the citizens of this country, first and foremost, protection. We cannot randomly import people who could include terrorists without having the information required to properly screen them. This is information that, unfortunately, our own FBI confirmed does not exist. There are options which would ensure our safety, but also help the refugees in other ways, such as creating “safe zones” in some of the Middle East countries that they can settle in, and we can provide them protection, as well as food and water.
We are a nation of laws, but if we ignore our border laws, then we shall do so at our own peril. In this dangerous time, this president must error on the side of citizen safety first.
Rob Brown, Wellington