Trump on the Money on Illegal Immigration
By Manuel Ballagas
As much as Univision and Telemundo would want us to join the party, I fail to see why an American of Latin American origin should feel offended by Donald Trump’s stance against illegal immigration. Are we expected to be so primitive as to support the continuing violation of US law based simply on blood or race? Should a sense of ethnic empathy now become our political compass?
Latino, stand by your kind! Is that it? Personally, I find this more insulting than anything Donald Trump has said about illegal Mexican immigrants.
Truth is, illegal immigration affects all US Americans, no matter their origin. It not only affects US citizens and legal residents, but people around the world who patiently wait for permission to enter our gates. Illegals usurp their place in line, and once here, they take over jobs that are not rightfully theirs. They distort the labor market, and in the process become an abused underclass the likes of which US society has not seen since the days of slavery.
Trump is not at all wrong in decrying the way our politicians have allowed this situation to be perpetuated. In fact, he’s right on the money.
Illegal immigration is, with the rise of global terror, one of the greatest challenges to US security in our time. Murderous Mexican cartels are thriving in this human traffic as well. It’s a matter of time before the corruption and the violence spills over to our side.
Are we to consider Trump a bigot for proposing drastic measures, such as a wall along the southern border, to put an end to this madness? I think not. And that’s precisely why his popularity only keeps rising, even among citizens who were born abroad. He may not win the Republican nomination, he may not even get my vote, yet he has certainly defined the march to the convention so far.
Beyond politics, however, we have to thank Trump for more than bringing illegal immigration to the forefront.
By challenging the likes of Jorge Ramos and the no-borders crowd, he’s about to debunk the myth of “Hispanidad” — the notion that millions of people from nearly 20 countries have seen their own identities magically blurred together in the United States, only to become a part of an amorphous mass of consumers and voters living in the ecstasy of a perennial Cinco de Mayo, and always supporting the same causes.
The Washington bureaucracy calls them “Latinos” or “Hispanics,” but come election time, they will prove they have been Americans all along.
Manuel Ballagas is a Cuban-born author and journalist. He has published books of fiction and a memoir of his immigrant experience. He worked for years as an editor for the Wall Street Journal, the Miami Herald and the Tampa Tribune. Follow @manolito60.
We Are All Immigrants
By Alina Brouwer
EspañolAs long as there are walls, there will be tunnels, and as long as there is hope in the United States, there will be “illegals.”
The presidential election cycle is underway once again in the United States, and the candidates have brought several issues to the surface. One of those issues is the physical presence of people who, at the moment, are living in this country without proper documentation.
What has driven large groups of people to relocate across the globe since ancient times? It’s the constant search for a better tomorrow. There is only one nation on Earth today that kindles that yearning, and it’s the United States.
One can write volumes on what is wrong with this country, but I draw from my own personal story as an immigrant to remind people that this is still the most sought after destination for those in search of a better future.
As for the “illegals” living in the United States, there are currently 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants in the country, according to the PEW Research Center. The number of unauthorized immigrants has stabilized in recent years, and of those already here, 8.1 million are either working or proactively looking for jobs. Furthermore, unauthorized immigrants make up 5.1 percent of the US labor force.
As far as how to solve the illegal immigration problem, we’ve heard all kinds of proposals from aspiring presidential candidates. Some are more realistic than others, but the bottom line is that most are trying to figure out how to get rid of 11.3 million people with the stroke of a pen.
However, this cannot be solved by rounding people up and dumping them somewhere else. Problems must be addressed at their root, and this is why, in the past, we have partnered with and helped other nations to solve their issues.
US Americans should look for a leader who can unite this country with a bold and comprehensive plan, and who can transition this great nation into the 21st century. This plan must consider global realities, and secure a path to prosperity for future generations.
Mass deportations and tracking people like packages, or other “practical” ways to get rid of “illegals,” may appeal to those who are afraid of losing the little they have. However, it must be noted that unauthorized immigrants are not taking jobs away from US citizens. They are, in fact, doing the work no one else wants to do in this country.
The United States can no longer consider itself a “one-man show” in today’s world. We must partner with our neighbors in order to remain a regional power, and act as a bloc to better meet the challenges ahead on a global scale in the coming years.
It must also be noted that almost everyone currently living in the United States is either an immigrant or the descendent of immigrants. Since we don’t presently have a Native American presidential candidate, the same can be said for those looking to deport over 11 million people.
Immigration is, in fact, what has made the United States the greatest country on Earth: a diversity of cultures is necessary for our evolution as a society.
As presidential hopefuls prepare to gather next week at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in the border town of San Diego, we should remind them that Ronald Reagan himself fought to bring down walls that separated people, not build them.
Let’s hope the individuals who aspire to lead us into the 21st century actually have the vision and judgment to do so.
Alina Brouwer is a UNHCR refugee, a political refugee of Spain, and a human and civil rights advocate. She works as a researcher, analyst, and adviser at Continental Democratic Protection Forum. Alina is also a composer and concert pianist with the National School of the Arts (ENA) and the Superior Institute of the Arts (ISA) in Cuba. Follow @AlinaBrouwer.