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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
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The Weekly Debate

There is spa e for everyoneCaleb NelsonBenjamin Franklin shot his mouth off about German and African immigrants beforehe became immortalized as a Founding Father. In 1753 he wrote letters to his friends inEngland elaborating on fears of a French take over of the American midwest, and he explainedhow German sub-colonies in Pennsylvania might undermine a burgeoning English/American nation.”Those who come hither are generally the most ignorant, Stupid Sort of their own Nation,”he elaborated.Because immigrants in the 1700s were willing to work harder and for lower wages thanpeople who were native born, they took jobs that could have benefited English people. Inhis letters, Franklin talks about immigration as a political concept. He speaks about it asa force, the same way he speaks about the poor, and about human nature. His immigrantshave no face, no breath of their own, only traits and tendencies.Notice any similarities?Here is the heart of our debate: immigrants are individuals. They are not a nebulousforce, so we must consider their individual stories, whether they come to America legallyor illegally. The justice in our current immigration laws hinges entirely on the individualexperiences of immigrants.Stories of people crossing the Mexican boarder in order to experience the “AmericanDream” tug on our heartstrings for specific reasons. These people-the poor in their owncountries, the working poor here in America-experience injustice in nearly every aspectof their lives. There is a reason why people decide to enter the US country illegally, riskingtheir lives and endangering their families, only to become a part of the poor in America.It’s often the best choice.Illegal immigration is a direct result of the American system. The hoops people have tojump through are insanely obfuscating, with too many details to list here. I know personallyof an illegal immigrant who registered with the government. He has a tax code andpays taxes, while doing underpaid work no American wants. But he’s also in a relationshipwith an American woman, and they have recently discovered that if he wants to marry her,he has to leave the country for ten years, and then return. That’s a fair punishment, somesay. He has to learn, they say. But what’s the lesson?There’s no reason for us to be international assholes. We need industry here in America.We need entrepreneurs. We need competition for our economy to thrive. It’s time we focusless on keeping people out of this country, and more on our own development.Our economy would collapse without permanent low-wage labor. Why do you think wecan pay 79 cents for Ring Dings? We do not have enough people in college and high schoolcombined to rotate through these low wage jobs. The idea that illegal immigrants “take”jobs is really unfounded, as it implies that there are a limited number of jobs in America.It’s time to reevaluate our priorities, rather than enforce laws conceived in fear and bigotry.As the economy grows, so do the number of jobs. In fact, immigrants often create jobs.Furthermore, as a nation, we should to come to terms with our biases. When we talkabout “illegals” in the US, we’re often talking about Central American and Caribbean immigrants-Haitians, Puerto Ricans, Ecuadorians, Mexicans. It’s rare to hear a complaintabout an illegal Canadian or German immigrant these days working at Dunkin Donutsand going to college. No one seems to care about the Irish immigrants here. We’re focusedon the Mexican border, because that’s where most poor immigrants cross into Americathese days, because they speak a different language, and because most look different thanthe typical “all-American” white person. Racism is at work here, and no one seems to careabout what it says about Americans as a whole.Immigration gives people from all over the world the chance to make a better life. That’sthe most basic idea of the founding of our country. So why can’t we make it easier forpeople to come here?Do you have reservations?Dillon ZhouAdvocates for illegal immigrants have and continue to play with the heartstrings of theaudience by portraying the plight of those who resort to crossing the US border while riskingtheir lives in order to pursue the American Dream and feed their starving families withtheir meager compensation as a menial laborer. This standard argument moves people, butit belies the major issues.First of all, this arrangement hardly seems fair, especially in light of the fact that thereare so many legal immigrants who patiently waited in line for their chance at achievingthe American Dream of building a better future for their families. It makes them wonderwhy they bothered to do things through the proper channels if they could have enteredthe US through illegitimate channels, which involve a lot less paperwork and bureaucraticprocedures.When you enter a classy restaurant, the first thing you’re asked is: do you have a reservation?If the joint is popular, you’ll probably have to wait in a long line if you don’t have areservation and get your meal when a table opens up. Anyone who refuses to adhere to thispremise will likely be refused service and asked to leave.The immigration policy of the US works in a similar fashion with the exception of theconsequences for those who violate the federal laws governing the situation with illegalimmigrants.One of the principle reasons for this is a lack of firm leadership from the federal government.The reason largely owes to the US economy’s need for low cost labor, which haspushed many American companies to promote a relatively loose enforcement of immigrationlaws in Congress.Also, it’s important to note that no one is above the law. Regardless of your intentions,if you break the law, you must be punished accordingly. One cannot pick and choose thelaws they choose to adhere to simply because it’s convenient to their personal interests. It’sthe same way any individual should be treated if they broke the law. If you steal from thepharmacy because you’re unable to pay for it, you should be punished. While it might bemore palatable for some to forgive and forget, the moral dilemma remains in question asthe crime itself remains unresolved.While many US politicians favor a guest worker program, Congress doesn’t seem to wantto reach any sort of consensus on the matter. A good example is the DREAM Act, which wasthoroughly rehashed and debated in Congress before being dropped. With the current stateof affairs in Congress, there doesn’t seem to be any chance for a coherent and supportedpolicy on immigration to come out of Capitol Hill.Regardless of what side you are, I think most observers would agree that a clear and lucidpolicy needs to be put forward so that there is little or no ambiguity about what should bedone about the flow of illegal immigrants coming across the US-Mexico border. Whatevercomes out of Washington should include provisions that punish any and all individuals whoharbor illegal immigrants and those who violate federal immigration laws.The second and perhaps more significant reason is because of the advocacy of those whowish to have immigration laws reformed to allow illegal immigrants to have a largely unfetteredpath to citizenship with a light slap on the wrist for their violation of immigrationlaws.In conclusion, I believe that one should have some reservations about illegal immigrationand the passive attitude that many choose to take on the issue – including the policymakerson Capitol Hill and those involved in this nationwide debate. The rule of law should not beabridged in this matter because the offender’s plight seems moving.Letting some immigrants into America unchecked is not fair to those others who madereservations in the establishment known as the United States of America and waited theirturn to have their slice of the American Dream.

About the Contributors
Dillon Zhou served as opinions editor for The Mass Media the following years: 2010-2011
Caleb Nelson served as the following positions for The Mass Media the following years: Editor-in-Chief: Fall 2010; 2010-2011; Fall 2011 News Editor: Spring 2009; 2009-2010