VOICES FROM THE STREETS: That Immigration Thing

I haven’t said much about the immigration debate, though I’ve been following it since it began. I sometimes tend to stay out of political arguments because they can be divisive. People on either side of the debate want you to pick a side. There’s really not much room for a middle ground. No matter what you say, you’re either a bleeding heart or a racist, so I try to stay out of it all together.

Nevertheless, everyone has an opinion, and I have mine. So here goes: If, for whatever reason, you don’t like it, stop reading it. Simple.

First, I have a question that I’ve always wanted to ask. Why does it take seven years to become a U.S. citizen? I mean, really? Nothing else takes that long in this country, unless you’re waiting on Section 8 housing. You can even quit school and still get a GED in less than a year. So why does it take that long to become a citizen?

You mean to tell me that a college student who takes out student loans and pays an obscene amount of money that will probably keep them in debt for the rest of their lives so he or she can get an education in this country still has to wait an additional two years? No wait, they would have to graduate and then apply for citizenship? So the first four or five years doesn’t even count? How fair is that? It’s not.

Why is it that someone who is bright, works hard and is established has to go to the back of the line to become a citizen of the United States? At the most, it should take a year after graduation. Or at least count the college years. This country can fast track it.

You can bet that if the student’s country threatened us, we could fast track a bombing. As far as rounding up illegal immigrants and sending them back to their countries is concerned, that’s folly. You’re going to round up 11 million people, along with their families, and drop them at the nearest border? Is that everyone or just the ones with brown skin? Seriously, that whole idea is stupid.

If you have a criminal record and haven’t done anything productive since you’ve been here, fine, send them back. But you can’t just uproot entire families, folks who’ve come here and who’ve worked hard. Don’t do that. Create a path to citizenship for these folks and leave them alone.

Yes, we must protect our borders. That’s common sense. But we should do it in a humane way and not by means of a bunch of gun-toting yahoos who wanna shoot brown people for sport.

I’m against letting anyone in. But not for the reason everyone thinks. I’m more worried about getting hit by a car crossing the street than I am about a terrorist attack. The question is: where are we going to put the refugees? There are millions of homeless people in this country, including immigrants. Sorry, but it just doesn’t make any sense to let more in. The system—like all systems in this country—needs to be fixed. Then we can have immigration the right way, the fair way.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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