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The Immigration Debate We Must Not Lose

The Immigration Debate We Must Not Lose

James Zogby
As I look at the Republicans who are leading the charge against immigration, I see descendants of Germans, Irish, Italians, and Jews—all of whom were once reviled, locked out, and victims of bigotry."

Dr. Zogby is right about this. It boils down to the two short statements highlighted above. In the end it is that simple.

In the words of the late, great Howard Zinn: “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.”


Heart warming read especially since my grands came over on the boats through Ellis Island. Every chance I get to talk with youthful immigrants in this country, I strongly encourage them to become informed and involved since all the rights that ordinary people who have worked so hard for over the decades are insidiously being taken away. The youth of today do not understand how hard other generations worked to have the good life. However the young immigrants of today do understand because they can see that the road ahead of them is long and hard. I feel that it is only the young immigrants of today who can take us where this country could and should be.

Proximity (familiarity?) allows you to see one another as they are. It is curious that Lebanon, despite centuries of multi culture existences, is still deeply sectarian. The contempt for another’s being, despite being more than 98% the same as the one doing the contempt, is palpable, real, and often the only thing being seen during the interaction of the two people.

The call of the US to such ancient ethos (es?) is transcendence of such disagreement to create a culture that allows for freedom beyond sectarianism. These far away worlds have not visited Elkhart Indiana, or seen Jay Leno disparage the planet seducing icon Michael Jackson and the nuances of his form.

Said transcendence is my goal. Not the relentless criticism of others to make myself feel good.

“Tragically, this inclination to forget our history, to succeed in America and then try to close the door and exclude those seeking to take advantage of the same opportunities that benefited our ancestors, is also part of our American story.”

The author reflects the sentiments of Eugene Debs who castigated the xenophobic prejudices even among his own party.


Let those desert us who will because we refuse to shut the international door in the faces of their own brethren; we will be none the weaker but all the stronger for their going, for they evidently have no clear conception of the international solidarity, are wholly lacking in the revolutionary spirit, and have no proper place in the Socialist movement while they entertain such aristocratic notions of their own assumed superiority.

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I’m going to take the contrary view. I have opinions on immigration and population policy that don’t match typical editorials posted here or including this one by James Zogby. I don’t feel that the topic of immigration is as black and white as environmental policy, public health care, income inequality, or reigning back US empire. I agree with what I consider to be reasonable voices that point out that we can have immigration policy that is similar to other countries such as Canada or some in Europe which means we can have a point based system and limit overall flow. Points can go up if you have a relative in the country you want to go to of course and many other aspects (knowledge of the language, job skills, etc.) can be taken into account. I want a solution like this - not amnesty every 20 years and not really making any fixes.

I also want some real discussion on just how many people we think we can handle in this country (I happen to think we’ve already exceeded a comfortable number of 200 million which already involves displacing most wildlife habitat and involves a considerable amount of environmental pressure). I am all for restructuring society to consume and pollute less, but I’m realistic about just what can be achieved. More people can easily swamp what achievements we can make.

Going along with this, I want huge overhauls to our foreign policy to not produce so many people unhappy with where they are. I realize this has and continues to be the case, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to give up on the immigration debate.

Let them die in the desert of heat exhaustion, starvation, and dehydration, or leave them some water bottles in the desert for humanitarian sanity, and you need to get ready for prison.