The United States is the land of opportunity. Our country’s heritage is a rich tapestry interwoven from Native Americans and immigrants of all colors and cultural backgrounds.
Unfortunately, today’s discussion of immigration is dominated by short-term politics and the immediate results of the federal government’s failure to defend our borders.
It’s time to change the conversation about immigration, refocusing on how best to unleash human potential. Our country’s future depends upon genius born here or drawn here. Our country’s security depends both on securing our borders and on holding true to our motto, e pluribus unum: from diversity, unity.
This does not, of course, mean simply throwing open the doors or throwing up our hands. History counsels that both the rule of law and security are necessary to creating conditions where people and societies flourish.
To solve our immigration policy problem we must recognize and solve the pressing concerns. Our utterly failed immigration process makes the operations of the worst department of motor vehicles look like the most advanced and successfully operating fast-food restaurant.
It takes entirely too long for those who want to work and live in a lawful and productive way to obtain permission. Numerous are the disastrous accounts from immigrants of the years they had to wait to receive permission from the appropriate federal authority; this is unacceptable and should be fixed immediately.
Regarding border security, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to diagnose that the chief problem for the federal government is a lack of prioritization. This problem is bipartisan and can be fixed as soon as all lawmakers realize that the chief responsibility of the federal government is to provide for the common defense. As many failing programs demonstrate, the problem rarely is that government needs more money — it’s that government too often allocates funds to extremely inappropriate functions.
We can no longer let lies like “there is nothing wrong with the border,” “we can’t really secure the border” or “they take our jobs” continue to hold immigration policy in such disarray.
Protesting against women and children is to be on the wrong side of any issue. A free-market approach to immigration policy plainly recognizes the importance both to a successful economy and to our future of continued immigration.
This commentary by Michael C. Carnuccio, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (www.ocpathink.org), is published with permission by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.