A Call for a National Referendum on Immigration Reform.
(this article was submitted to the OpEd section of the NYTimes on 1/22/20 but rejected. Then submitted to the Washington Post on 1/27/20 and withdrawn from consideration on 1/30/20)
There is the strong possibility that Trump might get reelected, regardless of the damage the impeachment process may cause.
In 2016, Trump took the immigration issue and whipped his supporters into a frenzy. He painted a picture that immigrants where the reason neglected Americans had not fared better economically. Or socially.
It was the immigrants’ fault. And he would clean house, build a wall, put in restrictions, stir as much hatred as possible so his loyal supporters could march to the polls and put in that ballot for him.
But immigration is not Trump’s issue. It is the nation’s issue. All of us should have a say in the matter.
We need borders not walls.
Borders that are held firm by the consensus of all Americans.
A caravan of would be immigrants forms in Central America and heads for our southern border.
Why should that be unsettling to us if we, as a nation, have taken a position and made it into law? It shouldn’t.
The reason it is unsettling is because we have not had the discussion. We have not had the open discussion of the pros and cons of immigration. We have not put all cards on the table and had a healthy debate on how much change to allow and so we do not stand firm on our beliefs.
Do some Americans feel guilty at the sight of impoverished would be immigrants seeking refuge in our land? Yes. But do we need limits? Yes we do.
Do we leave it to businesses to decide who comes in and when? No. But we should hear what they have to say.
Do immigrants lower wages? Yes they do. Do immigrants take jobs that other Americans don’t want? Yes they do. Are immigrants taken advantage of by businesses? Yes they are.
Should Americans fight to preserve what they have built? Yes we should.
And all the while we have to accept that change enriches us. The lack of it impoverishes us.
Immigration has helped us become the strong nation that we are but the rate at which we allow immigrants has to be managed.
It should be up to all Americans to decide on the numbers to admit.
It should not be up to Trump or his supporters for they do not, let me stress that, they do not represent the will of this nation.
Didn’t Trump lose the popular vote by 2.9 million votes?
Wasn’t his election marred by Russian interference as documented by the Mueller report?
We do need new legislation on immigration for we must be in control of our borders but such control should be based on a consensus reached by all Americans.
Which is why I am proposing that we hold a National Referendum on Immigration.
How many immigrants should be allowed in, with what skills, from which countries, for how long a period? (set periods would allow for revisions)
After discussion on the pros and cons, then all Americans would vote on what to do about it. Then it would go to congress to be made into law.
But the discussion has to be national, not left up to our elected representatives, which is why I am proposing the national referendum where all citizens would vote.
Our democratic presidential candidates have not taken this matter seriously.
Immigration deserves to be front and center in this political campaign, with a sound plan to address it, otherwise Trump will do the same that he did in 2016 and stir more hatred of immigrants in his supporters.
Hatred divides us. Discussion helps us build bridges. And borders we will stand by united.