NAHREP’s Statement on the Immigrant Crisis
NAHREP has been monitoring the government’s activity at the border and communicating with policy makers. On Wednesday, President Trump signed an Executive Order officially changing the Administration’s policy, which now states an emphasis “to maintain family unity”. We reflect on this development with mixed emotion.
The Executive Order gives us reason to hope that this national nightmare for potential immigrants and asylum seekers will soon come to an end. We are nonetheless fearful of the precedent it set, and heartbroken that so many families were harmed. Like many of our members, we have been moved to tears when reading or seeing reports about the cruel and barbaric treatment of families at the southern border. While we recognize the need for secure borders, separating children from their parents and placing them in cages is not moral behavior for the country we love and does not reflect the founding principles of our nation.
Immigration is a complicated issue. As long as there is poverty, violence, anarchy and persecution in other parts of the world, decent people will want to come to the United States and other first world countries. For the most part this is a good problem for the U.S. With an aging population and a diminishing work force, America needs immigrants more than ever. It’s basic math. Immigrants come to this country for a better life, and contrary to what some people believe, are among the most productive members of our society. Immigrant laborers from Latin America are twice as likely than native born to be entrepreneurs and job creators. However, open borders are not the solution either. Even if our government got it right, and we tripled the number of legal immigrants, millions more will want to come. The supply of immigrants wanting to move to the United States will exceed demand for the foreseeable future. Previous administrations, including the Obama Administration, have failed to address this situation adequately.
It is time for serious policy makers to take the lead and arrive at a sustainable, bipartisan solution to the immigration crisis. Opportunistic politicians have made a mess of our immigration system and have played on our worst fears for political gain. Despite what these politicians would have us believe, the data clearly show that immigrants both legal and undocumented are no more likely to engage in criminal activity than native-born people, and in all fairness, people who have reasonable concerns about illegal immigration are not by definition, racists. We simply cannot afford to talk past each other any longer or the tragedy that we are currently seeing on our southern border will only get worse.
A long-term fix to our immigration system must begin with 1) expeditiously reuniting children in detention centers with their families. 2) providing permanent status and a path to citizenship for DACA residents and their families who are currently residing in America 3) providing permanent status for undocumented immigrants who are currently residing in the United States and contributing to our economy.
NAHREP is grateful to all the people, including many NAHREP members, who participated in the collective outcry that exerted pressure on the government to reverse the policy that separated families. These people expressed their feelings by placing calls, sending emails, posting messages, and faxing letters to senators and members of congress. We believe that a similar effort on the part of our members and other reasonable citizens of all political persuasions will lead to a permanent solution to our immigration crisis once and for all. This all-important dialogue must continue immediately.
Co-founder & CEO