Immigrants and a new America

The tragedy on our southern border represents the worst and the best of America. The Trump administration, in a clumsy attempt to coerce money for the president’s wall, has created a humanitarian crisis that brings us uncomfortably close to the behavior of countries we have long condemned.

The pushback has demonstrated that not all Americans are buying the Trump doctrine regarding immigration and are willing to fight for the constitutional right of asylum for those fleeing violence in their home country.

What has received little attention is the real opportunity that the influx of immigrants presents for the U.S. taxpayers.

Yes, in the short term the families seeking a better life require supports that stretch the resources of local, state and national governments. In the long term the reality is we need these younger, hard-working immigrants to replace the growing number of older “baby boomers” who are leaving the workforce, moving out of single family homes to retirement homes and no longer willing or able to work the full-time jobs that are currently unfilled.

The federal government rather than “locking them up” or sending them back at taxpayer expense should craft a program that places immigrants who seek asylum in job training programs and offers relocation to cities suffering from abandoned properties that sorely need attention.

The city of Detroit is a good example of a place where single family homes in the inner city have been abandoned and allowed to deteriorate. Congress should design a public – private partnership to allow immigrants or migrants who are already here to relocate and invest “sweat equity” in building a life for their families.

What appears to be lacking is the ability to think creatively about problems by seizing the opportunity to grow the country’s pool of productive, younger workers.

Every society historically has periods of change that require leaders who take the “long view” of a nation’s needs. Simply placing immigrants in prison or sending them back to the violence they left serves no one.

Please write or call your representative and demand a forward-thinking, creative approach to immigration policy.

Teresa Porter