Citizenship, the border, and the census

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Are you a citizen of the United States of America?

Seems like a fair question. A questions that any country of the world should be able to ask of anyone residing within its borders (Are you a citizen of ___*current location in the world*___?). A country has a right to know whom resides within its borders, right? A country also has a right to know if those who reside within its borders are citizens or not. Otherwise, what’s the point of borders, or even visas for that matter? The citizenship question and whether it can be included on the next census will get answered by SCOTUS here in the near future.

It should be a relatively straight forward answer, especially if you are a citizen or in the country legally. It’s as simple as YES or NO. If you are a citizen, I would venture a guess that nearly everyone would admit that they are. If you are not a citizen, you’re either going to lie or refuse to answer that you’re not a citizen. If you’re in the country illegally and DO admit that you’re not a citizen, you should be afraid of deportation, because you have broken the law.

If I speed, am I afraid to get caught? Sure. I don’t want to pay the fine. If I am caught stealing, do I want to get caught? Nope. I don’t want to go to jail. If I were to murder someone, do I want to get caught? Definitely not. I don’t want the possibility of the death penalty (yes, I know, another debate for another day). So why would illegal immigration be any different? If you are in the country without permission to legally be there, then you have broken the law and there are consequences for breaking the law, or at least there used to be.

It was recently reported that the border of our country is in crisis. The media is working overtime to make people to believe that it isn’t. The Democrats would like Americans to believe that it isn’t. But the numbers for the year don’t lie. The NYT recently reported numbers from the US Border Patrol that most definitely show there is a crisis. It can’t be denied. When you have a record number of people crossing the border per month, at the rate of 19,000 per week (on average) or approximately 633 per day, there really can’t be any other conclusion. To deny that there isn’t a crisis is just plain fantasy…or, it plays into a political agenda.

Why were illegal crossings way down a year to a year and a half ago? Why have things changed so dramatically in the last 6 months? Because we have a segment of the our population who are actively encouraging illegal crossings and actively pushing for law enforcement to turn a blind eye to breaking the law. There isn’t another explanation for this and there can’t be a claim of “humanitarian crisis” if you have sent the message that you aren’t going to enforce the laws. If there is a crisis, it was created in order to serve a political agenda.

I am not talking about a “political crisis” to build a wall. That need has always been there, but our politicians have punted that ball from one Congress to the next hoping that someone will do the hard work and get it done, unless of course it fits your agenda to not get it done. Is it possible to build a physical wall on the entirety of the border? Not even remotely. Is it possible to stem illegal immigration in totality with a wall? Definitely not. But, the effect of a wall would surely act as a deterrent and it would definitely slow it down. That is really the ultimate goal, to get it to slow down and eventually stop.

Why is illegal immigration such a big deal? Because it hurts the country. This isn’t about legal immigration. That helps the country. There are positives and negatives, but the distinction between legal and illegal has to be kept clear. You can’t encourage illegal immigration and you can’t encourage the breaking of laws because there may be an economic gain, but more importantly you can’t encourage it because it will give you political leverage.

Illegal immigration doesn’t just strain the border enforcement resources. It has an impact on resources well inside the border as well. Our doctor’s offices and hospitals are full and illegal immigrants with no insurance strain the resources of those facilities while those who have insurance bear the cost of increased insurance rates to make up the difference. Our schools (in many areas of the country) are bursting at the seams with students who are not in the country legally, but schools are required to educate the students without asking if they’re legal or not. Who bears the cost  of that? Those who pay the local taxes and, maybe in even worse, the students who wouldn’t have normally been in an overcrowded classroom. Illegal immigrants (in many places) can get driver’s licenses. By reasonable extension then, you can deduce that they are likely getting aid when in a car crash and in many cases they aren’t insured, so those drivers who are insured bear the cost of increased rates to make up for uninsured motorists. The list could go on and on.

My family were immigrants when they came to the country a really long time ago. They did it legally. I don’t think it is too much to ask that others follow the law and do it legally too. That is why we have a system that allows for it, and encourages people from all over the world to do it legally. We are stronger if we are a nation that follows its own laws, not if we are a nation that allows for some to break them and not face the consequences for it.

 

 

 

4 comments

  1. Even if you were in the U.S. illegally, there’d be no reason not to answer the question truthfully. Millions upon millions of non-U.S. citizens live in the U.S. legally, and your “no” wouldn’t look any different from their “no.”

      1. Sure, in a law enforcement context, those would be logical follow-up questions. A census taker, though, is just going to ask the questions on the form, check the appropriate boxes, and go on to the next house.

      2. It really depends on what form your census experience takes. There are one of two forms mailed to your house to start with – a long form or a short form. Really, both the citizenship questions could be one both, but more likely on the long form. If the Census Bureau doesn’t get a form from your address, then you are visited by a federal employee as a follow up, where you could be asked the questions from the long form or the short form.

        I was a census taker on the eastern side of my state in 2000, and let me tell you I have some stories! LOL

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