Leonard Zwelling

I make no bones about it. This issue has me confused.

As far as I can tell, the Dreamers are mostly younger people brought illegally into the US by their parents and who know no other country. They are by all outward appearances Americans. Many only speak English. They go to school here. They have jobs here. They serve in the military and most are model citizens. The only reason they are not illegal aliens (they are “undocumented”) is because President Obama said so and it is not at all what President Trump thinks. It needs to be or he needs to articulate precisely what he wants done with these people who are not American citizens. Either they need a path to citizenship (a reasonable idea) or they may well be deported with their parents and the rest of their families (an unreasonable idea). The four immigration policy pillars outlined by the president in the State of the Union message may or may not ever become a done deal.

I think the truth of the matter is getting lost in the yelling back and forth.

First, these people are not citizens. Most want to be, so why not give them a way to get there while they live, work and serve here? All they want is a chance to contribute to the betterment of the country.

Second, their parents did this, not the Republicans. The parents are illegal and so, technically, are the kids. It would not be breaking up families to send everyone home. Let’s get that straight. It may be compassionate to allow the Dreamers to stay, but it has little to do with what is legal.

Third, for all of those Dreamers without criminal records, which is the vast majority, why not give them a path to citizenship? I don’t get why this is so hard for the GOP to grasp. Is it amnesty? I guess it is, in a way. Is it a logical solution to an otherwise insoluble problem? It is.

As for the other argument, that we have a huge immigration problem that a Wall will fix, I don’t think we do. I thought net immigration to Mexico was going their way. More leaving than entering the US. The drug smuggling issue is a separate one and needs to be dealt with as such. Immigration from predominantly Arab countries is also part of Trump’s argument against immigration. Yes to greater scrutiny. No to a Muslim ban. Just like the mostly Latino Dreamers, most Arab immigrants come to the US to help us become a better country.

America is almost unique among the nations as having been built by immigrants. Australia is like this, too. The rest of Europe and Asia is not as dependent on recent immigration for the political history of the continent as is America.

Furthermore, we need the talent if we are to compete with the more populous states in Asia for economic wealth in the world.

Welcome the Dreamers in, not because we feel sorry for them, not because they came here “through no fault of their own,” but because they would add to the diversity and wealth of America. Intellectually and socially. We need more immigrants not fewer if we are to challenge China and India. They are the threats to our economic superiority. Not Russia and not Mexico.

All the Dreamers want is a chance. All their parents wanted for them was that chance. Now, the federal government and Congress can either fulfill that dream or snuff it out. This really is an easy one.

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