Seekers Have a Right to Seek

Last time this column opened discussion about the immigrants already here (Congress Has Forgotten How to Say “Yes”, June 13). The other group, those who want to come here, have been in the news a lot in the last few weeks. Let me be clear about some basics because the immigration issue is personal to many. Not I, or any other Democrat that I know, or any Democratic policy, advocates for the open borders of which we are accused of supporting. The people who come to our border and try to cross without permission for nefarious reasons, should be sent away. Criminal crossings cannot be abided. Also, anyone living here who is not law-abiding, cannot stay. Let’s also be clear that this group is small–in the one percent range of people crossing the southern border. Data prove we have historic lows in illegal immigrants over the last dozen years. We are down from a yearly high of 1.6 million in 2000 to about 300,000. The net immigration from Mexico has been negative (fewer coming in–more going out) since 2007.

Yet there are problems. One facet is a group of migrants who are enticed here by U.S. employers for seasonal work that cannot be filled by U.S. workers. Willing workers are hired when they are still in Mexico. It is illegal to do so, but because temporary work visas have become rarer than hens’ teeth, both the farmers and the migrants are willing to take the chance because of the economic boon to both–the fields get picked and the workers earn money. This group has no intention of staying here, they just want the jobs citizens do not. When this works, illegal or not, our economy benefits by billions of dollars. It’s win-win and in the past, border patrols have looked the other way. Yes, some do try to stay illegally because it is easier to stay than to try and come back next summer. Illegal? Yes. But, don’t you think we should do something about that?  Give farmers the visas they need and let them hire from a pool of vetted workers who can be tracked. If the system is abused, the odd migrant, can be arrested, sent back, and blacklisted. We don’t have to be suspicious of a whole group of people simply because they are brown-skinned.

On another front, the clearest sections of our immigration laws are for those fleeing for their safety–refugees seeking asylum. This represents some 80% of the group today jamming the borders, not from Mexico, from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras–all countries currently in great conflict. We have the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) coupled with congressionally sanctioned participation in the United Nations Treaty on the State of Refugees, and the Fourteenth Amendment comes into play with due process regulations.

The large numbers of asylum seekers are making following our procedures problematic, but none-the-less, still required by law. A lot changed on April 6 when Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement that everyone who came to the border would be arrested and treated as if they were a criminal from the onset–abandoning the legal recourse refugees have been granted in the past. The Trump administration is calling these people guilty before a chance to prove their intent and innocence. This is a dramatic change in both U.S. ethos and law. There is administration rhetoric about asylum laws still being followed if seekers enter at ports-of-entry. The problem is that those ports are crowed and officials are turning away seekers, telling them to come back. They do and are turned away again. They have nowhere to go. Walking back to Central America isn’t an option, it’s a death sentence. Waiting on the bridge for weeks or months isn’t an option. So, they cross between ports and peacefully present themselves to border authorities. This is illegal, but a misdemeanor, not action due criminal prosecution or reason for family separation–it calls for a ticket. We should be able to handle the problem without creating national trauma.

What we need to stop doing immediately is treating every walk-up to the border as a criminal. Beyond misrepresenting Democrats as wanting open borders, Republicans have latched on to a talking point that a Democratic sponsored law is what is causing families to be separated­–especially those with children. That simply is not true. Other administrations have detained and even separated families, but never at this rate and never as a mean-spirited deterrent from their right to seek asylum. Only if arrested and treated like the criminals they are not, can families be separated. All this because A.G. Sessions decided on a “zero tolerance” policy he thought would dissuade refugees from trying to gain legal entry into our system–with the added bonus of sucking-up to the ravenous Mr. Trump. Zero tolerance policies have been used as an excuse to abandon rational, thoughtful actions in the past. History books are filled with avoidable disasters caused because every similar issue was treated like every other–no exceptions.

Arrest those who present a real threat; send others back, as a family, who do not qualify; change laws so farmers and other employers can get temporary visas for workers; and do the work necessary to evaluate refugees.

By-the-way, Mr. Trump, you are one hundred percent wrong when you say, “they aren’t sending us their best.” Through their warring, evil treatment El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras are forcing their best, their treasures–mothers and children–to flee for their lives.


  1. All you want is open borders. When my kids were in HS they could always find a summer job. Those jobs are almost non existent now. I see photos of kids behind cage wire in the OBama years. Where was your outrage then. The ordinary patriotic citizen is fed up with people whose children are on Wick Program and parents can’t speak English. It cost over 10,000 a year to educate an illegal immigrant, then you feed them 2 meals a day in school, then special teachers to teach them English. You add ADC payments, medical and a host of other costs. Our country is broke. Where do you think we are getting the money from. The only taxes the majority of them pay is sales tax. We have to wise up and tell those abused mothers to not put their children in harms way and stay home and change the way their country is run. I am a retired combat wounded army officer who was stationed in poverty stricken and worn torn countries and will tell you this, real simply, you can’t help them all.

  2. Kevin Johansen says:

    Thank you Terry. This is an excellent column and I feel like you nailed it. You’ll likely get some push back from the Trump enablers but please keep writing and sharing.

  3. Thomas J Warne says:

    The thing most of us, and I mean most of us worry about is being overrun with immigrants. You and I both know this cannot go on. What about the cost to US taxpayers, who pays for their medical? Your biased comments towards President Trump are incorrect, finally a president who will seriously fix this decades old problem. We have needed the wall for decades, ask the border patrol. I do believe that we do need migrant workers, our economy is booming so much that they are much needed.

  4. Carole L. Rawlings says:

    Terry I will tell you that I grew up in California Where I was Friends with MEXICAN AMERICANS. We need to get back to Controlled Immigration. I have been to ELLIS ISLAND with my friend it is a very moving experience. I also grew up in California when we had Mexicans as Migrant workers for the farm fields. It was called the Brocero Program. During WWII the Mexicans came to do the jobs the Americans could not do because they were called to war in Europe and Asia. They came to the U>S> did their work and had a Pension set up for them in Mexico.During the 1960,s a Liberal Progressive Congresswoman decided to campaign against it and had it abolished. Their was an agenda to get foreigners here illegally. Under the Brocero program the Mexican worker was much better off treated fairly and not abused. The Democratic Liberal Agenda is the Bleeding Heart attitude of caring about the people who can,t help themselves. Well they can they are not Capable They are. But in a country you must have controlled immigration. to assimilate into society. We had a great immigration law that worked. But the Democrats came along in the 60,s and 70,s and changed that all. The republicans Business owners went along with it for cheap labor. They democrats have changed so much in this country with their Mandra of how horrible Americans are to Asylum Seekers Immigrants etc. That is their Leverage. When all it is is a Smoking Mirrior to get Illegal People in here in the Masses for their Socialistic Agenda. That is why we have no Middle Class. In the 1950,s it started with no borders. That what the Democrats want and some of the old Rinos. Now Trump is representing People of the U. S. who want sovereign nation. All Civilations feel the same. This is not natural Assimiliation. Yes their are lots of people who are from 3Rd World countries who are very poor who want to leave and get away from violence. The World is getting closer and closer. And Americans have always accepted Them But not when they come over not to be an American. To Assimilate and take Tax Payer Money. Same With The Social Engineering of the LBJ Times. Wrong instead of Stopping Discrimination it made it worse. It did not work. Welfare To REfugees WRONG and People Who Are Poor they want Jobs Taught Skills and have their own sense of Pride . Then the civilization will prosper and Thrive. Like Trump said These Countries That These People Come from need to take care of their own People Not Other Countries. That is what needs to be dealt with. Our Cities are in Carnage Break down The Government Control Regulations give the Power to the People. Give People Hope for a Job. Pride in themselves. But the Democrats have had this agenda for a long time. Since FDR came on the scene they want Control Government Control and Socialism. Social Security was his Mandra what a Mess. They take more money out of YOUR hard Earned paycheck and give it to someone else a foreigner and then tell you too bad. Same thing with Medicare Yes Medical Care But it is at there rules. They dictate to you what they will pay for. So If you want Freedom it went out with the Moran and the clock. And who started the Politically Correct Telling People How They were going to talk to People Or address people. That was all Democrats. Can,t say Merry Christmas. Speaking Spainish. Now there are jobs where they won,t hire you if you don,t speak Spanish. That is Discrimination. Also Quotas so many Minorities must be hired. Also if you want to start a Business they have a program for Minorities they give them loans and pay for their Leases on the Businesses. Where is that fair to a person who is not a Minority????? So Now the Democrats have come up with the Resistant Movement it is all out of the Communist Manafesto. Where will it end.

    • Terry Donnelly says:

      Ms. Rawlings, Please let me take this moment to apologize for every pebble you’ve ever gotten in your shoe.

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