(1) Recognition that migrations of disadvantaged workers, refugees and asylum-seekers result from an unjust global economic system that benefits transnational corporations at the expense of common people. Immigration results not only from the â€śpullâ€ť of economic opportunity here but also from the â€śpushâ€ť of economic inequality and exploitation in developing societies. The â€śpushâ€ť must be reduced by regulating the power of corporations and empowering workers and farmers both there and here.
(2) Appreciation for the fact that, according to a recent study by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, in the first decade after the immigration bill is implemented, the net effect of adding 10 million new legal residents/taxpayers would decrease the federal budget deficit by $197 billion, and in the following decade (2024-2033), the cut in the deficit would be a whopping $700 billion â€” a nearly $1 trillion reduction in the federal deficit during the next 20 years!
(3) All who contribute meaningful labor deserve full membership in a democratic society. Immigrant workers cannot fight for rights on the job and against exploitation by employers without having full legal status, political rights, and a pathway to citizenship. Threats of deportation and second-class status in â€śguest workerâ€ť programs restrict the capacity of workers to organize and improve their situation.
(4) Militarization of our borders, indiscriminate detentions and deportations, and the resulting forcible breakup of families â€” so hypocritical for a society professing to be family-friendly â€” must be replaced by policies that reinforce the values of family unity, hard work, fair compensation, compassion, and â€śliberty and justice for all.â€ť
Only such an immigration policy will be worthy of a nation that likes to think of itself as â€śgreat.â€ť Letâ€™s demand that our representatives in Washington recognize the benefits, put aside partisan wrangling, rise to the occasion, and pass such a policy.
(Wingeier is a retired college professor and Methodist minister who lives at Lake Junaluska.)