Leonard Zwelling

They’re still coming to America, just as they have for over 200 years. It’s just not as orderly in Juarez as it was on Ellis Island. Thus immigration 2021 is, unlike fraudulent voting, a real problem.

The United States has two main land-based borders with other countries. In the north, it is a lengthy one with Canada. As far as I can tell there are no crises brewing on our northern border. In fact, I suspect that there are few Canadians who wish to immigrate to America. Given the relative state of race relations, health care and poverty in the two countries, Canada’s only down side is its winter weather.

It is not as calm on the southern border with Mexico. As Mr. Trump made clear, he felt that only a wall would do to keep out people trying to get in. He characterized them as rapists and murderers. But I suspect most of those risking life and limb to get into the U.S. from the south are not criminals although some surely are. The real problem is that unlike the country north of us, the countries south of us are not such desirable places to live. This is not just Mexico which seems to be less of the problem right now, but Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The crime and bloodshed in the nations to our south are out of hand and people are naturally fleeing. The problem is that they really have nowhere to go except northward.

Perhaps the U.S. ought to focus on the real problem, life south of the border and not the created problem of life piling up at the border. Do I think the change of administration aided the current crisis? I do. There was a perception throughout Central America that the United States was going to be friendlier to asylum-seekers under a President Biden and, so, of course, they came. By the time the crush of humanity hits the border crossings, it is too late to do anything useful about it. You do everything you can to protect the kids, send the adults back, and deal with the many, many claims of asylum seekers. There is no easy answer, but there are laws and if we need new ones, Congress and the White House need to get on it. Immigration reform has been long overdue.

The U.S. does need people, especially those with valuable job skills, but even those without tech degrees drive the economy and take jobs Americans don’t want. We cannot go on without the influx of foreign help, yet we also cannot make that a blank check.

The time is long since overdue for Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill to get together and propose new immigration laws that serve the needs of farmers in the San Joaquin Valley and the tech giants of Silicon Valley without flooding the welfare rolls. American academic medicine cannot run without foreign talent. America was built by immigrants and must continue to be so constructed, BUT, this has to be orderly and cannot create a humanitarian crisis on the southern border. More aggressive outreach to the countries of Central America is needed to help them solve the problems that create the press northward to start with. If that is the drug cartels, then perhaps we need to meet those criminals on their own turf rather than on ours.

There can be no doubt that though cruel, the Trump policies on the southern border were effective in keeping folks out. That’s not the only problem. Why are they running north and how do we disincentivize that flight? That’s where Mr. Biden needs to concentrate and Congress needs to act. Yesterday!

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