The following editorial appeared in the Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pa., on Wed., Sept. 9:
People around the globe are on the move. By the dozens, hundreds, even thousands, they are fleeing war, poverty, flood or drought, or simply seeking a better life. Some traveling in flimsy, overcrowded boats, drown while crossing the Mediterranean Sea or, abandoned by human traffickers, perish in closed trucks. Others make it to a refugee camp only to be denied entrance to the country they seek. Still, they come.
Some European countries are opening their borders to these immigrants. Yet the rhetoric in America focuses on closing the borders and removing those immigrants who are already here. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has referred to Mexican immigrants as “murderers” and “rapists,” despite statistical evidence that the crime rate among first-generation immigrants is lower than that among citizens. Audiences applaud him.
The Statue of Liberty has long stood as a beacon of hope to the oppressed around the world, and America’s political stability and economic prosperity have beckoned millions of newcomers for generations. A century ago they came by the hundreds of thousands from Italy, Germany, England and elsewhere, working in our mines and factories. They faced discrimination and hostility while they were making their way into the fabric of American culture. That hostility has now transferred to Mexicans, Central and South Americans and certainly to Muslims from nearly anywhere.
However American-born citizens feel about immigrants, they should come to terms with the reality that immigration — legal and illegal — is not going to end. If anything, human migration will likely increase as more corporations take over more land once farmed by indigenous people, as water disappears, leaving a parched landscape, as religious zealotry, or the excuse of it, drives militants to bloody clashes over minds and territory.
Thus Americans should look askance at candidates who advocate “rounding them up and shipping them out.” With as many as 11 million undocumented immigrants here, such a measure would be both impractical and terribly expensive. As to closing the borders, the varied web of nationalities and ethnicities in the United States has enriched this robust nation, bringing new minds, new ways, new ways of looking at things. Immigrants have been inventors and entrepreneurs as well as gardeners and housekeepers.
Managing an unending flow of immigrants is a complex task. But coming up with fair and efficient rules is a must for every destination nation in the world today.
(c)2015 the Pocono Record, Stroudsburg, Pa.
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