Op-Ed: A Primer on Immigration for 2020 Candidates and Voters

Feeling dizzy from all the spinning in political rhetoric these days? Let’s pause and take a look at what’s what in immigration today and in the 2020 election cycle.

The Line. While some people will admit wanting an end to immigration altogether, most critics of immigration say they just want immigrants to “do it the right way.” “Get in line.” However, unless you qualify through employment (discussed below), or you have an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident (spouse or parent), there is no line to get into. And the wait in line can be over twenty years! If you don’t have a qualifying relative or employer, the only options left to you may be humanitarian visas or asylum. All of these options have caps and require extensive research and knowledge of immigration law. Your chances of success without an immigration attorney (at your own expense) are slim to none, especially if you have any criminal or immigration issues.

2020 candidates should address paths to citizenship for hardworking foreign nationals who come here fleeing violence, poverty and corruption in search of hope. They will come, whether we like it or not. But will they hide in the shadows in constant fear of deportation or walk in the light?

The Wall. Drugs come to this country by air, boat, vehicle (through checkpoints) and mail. Building a wall will not stop them. People come to this country desperate and afraid, escaping extreme poverty, corruption and violence.

They want to give their children opportunities for a decent future. They crossed many miles on foot with no food or water, so a wall won’t stop them. We aren’t made safer by a wall. Immigrant communities have lower crime than communities with low immigrant populations. Places like El Paso, Texas, were safer before the wall. What the wall does do is take land from landowners in the U.S., create an eyesore in some of the most beautiful land in the world, cause the deaths of vulnerable people, and cost U.S. taxpayers over $20 billion that could better be spent on real border security.

By JULIA GUZMAN for WESTWORD

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