We are a nation of immigrants.
Immigrants have long brought new ideas, enthusiasm, a strong work ethic and a desire to contribute to their new country. The present wave of immigrants, most from Mexico and Central America, continue this tradition.
They bring strong family values and a willingness to work hard, often doing jobs that others are unwilling to do. Many of the kindest nurse’s aides who helped my mother in the nursing home were from Mexico and Central America, where the elderly are cherished and usually cared for at home by their families.
Many immigrants make valuable contributions to our food supply, laboring in the fields, orchards and vineyards to bring us affordable, high quality foods, again filling jobs rejected by almost all American workers.
Some open restaurants and businesses, providing employment and strengthening the economy. Newly arrived Mexican children quickly learn English, with many going on to higher education.
Why do they immigrate to the United States? For much the same reasons our ancestors did. Many have lived in poverty and great danger, with non-representative, often repressive, governments. They want a better life for their children.
Why have some come without the proper documentation? The demand for immigrant workers has far outstripped the number of visas available. Sometimes employers have even gone to Mexico in search of workers, recruiting them to come with or without legal work permits. All would prefer to come legally. All immigrants, with or without documentation, pay taxes, including Social Security.
Immigration laws must be revised to allow adequate numbers of workers to fill the jobs that American workers are unable or unwilling to fill. Putting otherwise innocent people in detention centers because of their immigration status is economically a disaster, and causes great anguish by separating families, often with family members not even able to find out where their loved ones are.
Democrats and Republicans are currently working together (refreshing indeed!) to craft a fair immigration bill. It should contain a road to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers already here, keep together and reunite families, provide enough visas to meet the needs of employers and ensure fair wages and treatment of immigrant workers. Border enforcement is already rigorous.
Please write to U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers urging her to vote for a fair immigration law. The bill is being written right now and will possibly be voted on within the next week.