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AS I SEE IT

Posted 2/14/17 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

How open should America’s borders be to immigrants is a question that the United States has in the past several decades been unsuccessful in dealing with.
The United States has a long history of being a country that welcomes new citizens from foreign countries. After all, with the exception of the Native Americans that called this land their home when the white people first started arriving in this country, America is a land of immigrants. People from across Europe were the first to brave coming to the “new land” to seek a new start. And over the centuries since the United States was formed, millions more people crossed the ocean in search of a better way of life than what they had.
These immigrants had a dreamed and they followed it. And in the process, they became American citizens, they learned the English language, they enrolled their children in our schools, they built businesses and became the very fabric that helped the United States become the most powerful economy in the world.
But times have definitely changed.
Today, millions of people are still trying to come to America - some of whom are following the legal path of entry.
But many more are flowing into the United States each and every day illegally. And it is those illegal aliens that pose serious problems for this country. Not only do they pose social and economic problems for the cities and towns in which they settle, but since they don’t possess the necessary documentation, their path to citizenship is far more difficult.
But the problem facing this country is far bigger than just the illegal immigrants who have risked everything to come to the United States in search of a better life. The real problem is that this country’s open borders and somewhat lax travel policies are also being used by criminals, drug dealers and terrorists to enter this country.
As Americans, we know that more needs to be done to secure our borders to prevent criminals, drug dealers and terrorists from entering this country.
That must be the first priority for President Trump and his new administration.
Does that mean building a wall on the southern border of this country between Mexico and the United States? While it would keep the vast majority of illegal immigrants out, it would be cost-prohibitive to build and maintain.
Does it mean imposing a travel ban on people wanting to enter the United States from countries known to foster and encourage terrorist activity? That only makes sense to most Americans. But apparently the court system has a problem with restricting travel from those terrorist states.
Obviously, the United States has very defined policies that regulate how a citizen from another country can enter this country either to live, work or to attend college. And likewise there is a process by which those immigrants can choose to become a U.S. citizen.
But turning a closed eye to illegal immigrants, criminals and terrorists is not in the best interest of the United States. The United States Congress needs to follow President Trump’s lead and make immigration reform a priority this legislative session.