Your View: Immigrants play important role in daily lives, economy

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    Throughout the history of our beautiful country, our economy has been founded upon the backs of immigrants, those who are willing to do jobs most people would not do, only for the chance to live in a country that boasts the opportunities of freedom and liberty. It was immigration that began our country in the early 1700s, kept it moving throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and is the mainstay of our economic prosperity today.The article published on Thursday titled “Citizenship nonnegotiable; live here legally or leave” is an example of the ignorance of the real facts about immigration. For example, the author would have you believe that high school and college students will pick up where illegal immigrants left off. This is a ridiculous idea. When was the last time you, a college student, had 10 hours a day to spare to work in a factory, build a building, or pick grapes in a field in California? There are 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, and they are the reason we have fresh food in our grocery stores, buildings to live in, roads to drive on and numerous other amenities we take for granted.

    The author also states that a 700-mile border between here and Mexico is a good idea for security. I need not remind readers that the terrorists that have repeatedly attacked the United States were neither Hispanic, nor did they enter from our southern border. Personally, I do not want any more of my tax dollars spent on a wall that is not going to keep out those who really want to get in anyway.

    Economically speaking, yes, we do lose money that many Mexican immigrants send home to their families. But what about the millions of tax dollars that go unclaimed every year by illegal immigrants who, being forced to have fake social security cards to work, pay taxes but cannot claim their returns? These are handouts to the U.S. government, as immigrants are stripped of their rights to social security benefits that should come with their jobs.

    The author asks, if their country is so great, why do they want to be here, no one is forcing them? Wrong again. The hunger of their unfed children, the deaths of their family members, their inability to provide for themselves is forcing them. People do not go through the horrible process of crossing the border – which is a much easier process for our author who is a U.S. citizen – simply because they want to exploit us. They simply cannot survive where they are. Many of them want to return home, but because of the insecurity of getting back into the United States, many choose to stay here.

    The author would have you believe that the United States grants citizenship to any foreign national who is “passionate” enough to want it. Less than 40,000 visas are issued a year to Mexicans. This number does not even come close to the number of people needed to work in industries such as agriculture, construction, etc. that are needed to maintain our economy. It also takes over six months to get an appointment in Mexico to get a visa to even visit the United States. Can we honestly expect people to wait that long when they have lost children or relatives, when they can simply pay a fee to be smuggled across?

    I agree with one thing: Immigrants should be more patriotic toward the United States. But one must not make the fallacy of assuming that all immigrants are not proud of the United States. I know myself and several other TCU students were at the Fort Worth courthouse Saturday with American flags, marching against a law that goes against the ideals this country was founded upon.

    The issue here is the bill. The solution proposed by HR-4437 is a Band-Aid fix to a problem that the United States needs to be responsible in dealing with. The bill being discussed in the Senate Judiciary Committee, however, is a much-needed step to allow guest-worker programs that will help both our economy and Mexico’s. And it is a much-needed step in recognizing the illegal immigrants already here who are expected to do everything a citizen does, pay taxes, follow the laws, etc., but are stripped of the rights a normal citizen is guaranteed and who, under HR-4437, are now felons. This is not the American way. Instead of being ignorant to the fact that the United States is exploiting these people, we should learn what it is that we are arguing for and stand up for what this country was ultimately founded upon.

    “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” Statue of Liberty engraving

    Melissa Gohlke, junior