It is way past time that the U.S. developed a better approach to immigration that will help our communities thrive and our labor economy become more stable. We need an efficient and modern way of handling immigrants desiring to enter the U.S. for either asylum or economic reasons.
Our history with immigration started badly enough and even after all this time has rarely been done in a good way. The early colonizers regarded themselves above everyone else, including Native Americans, even though they were immigrants too. They brought servants and slaves with them and soon enough racism was born in America. A growing and hungry country would overlook the bigotry and prejudice that greeted each wave of immigrants and keep expanding opportunities for all of them, except for the former slaves.
Nowadays, immigrants are once again seen in a negative manner and the U.S. government is hampered by politics to do anything about it. The Pandemic has made things worse by slowing migration and keeping people stuck at borders. Also, our own foreign policies have caused thousands to escape brutal conditions in their home countries and seek asylum here hoping to restore some dignity in their shattered lives.
Dealing with Reality
We have three groups of immigrants that need to addressed; those who are undocumented living in the U.S., Dreamers and those still waiting to enter the U.S. The immediate concern for lawmakers is to get everyone who is presently in our borders documented as quickly as possible. We should know the number of people who need documents to live and work in the U.S. and for Dreamers to be secure in their future here.
We need to expand our processing centers so they are able to handle unexpected surges in immigration requests and treat all who seek entry with compassion and dignity.
Examining our Foreign Policies
The U.S. must review its foreign policies, especially toward Central America, which contributes to massive waves of immigrants fleeing torture, death and extreme poverty at the hands of their governments.
Promoting human rights and reducing violence wherever we can will help address the root causes of migration such as repression, starvation and war and it will save lives.
Two Approaches with a Single Purpose
The U.S. has a large, potential workforce that couldn’t come at a better time. The Pandemic has left huge gaps in the labor ranks for a number of industries and so it is in the best interests of government and industry to work together to replenish these jobs as soon as possible.
The U.S. could revamp its immigration processing in two ways. First, expand the temporary guest worker program to speed up the number of immigrants who may only want to work in the U.S. for a specified time period without gaining citizenship. Second, create a new pathway to citizenship that is reasonable in its requirements especially when it comes to a waiting period.