Let’s be rational on immigration

What should we think about immigration? It’s complicated. Are there some who might be criminals? Research shows it’s very few.

Far more likely, the following describes who’s coming. People avoiding extreme violence, persecution, starvation and more.

These are the people at the border. Seeking safety. Seeking life. Seeking asylum. Coming to a border where the law, both U.S. law and international law, guarantees them the right to cross over, to ask for asylum and to stay while their stories are verified.

But it’s not happening. Our young parents, our farmers, are greeted by a high fence and tear gas.

We did not choose where we were born. Nor did they.

Some are seeking asylum. U.S. laws and a treaty we have signed requires the U.S. attorney general to grant asylum if an individual has suffered persecution or has a well-founded fear of future persecution based on “race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

People don’t uproot their lives and set out for distant lands for trivial reasons. Our ancestors did not. We need a comprehensive immigration policy that will protect our borders from criminals, but one that will also grant to those who are fleeing terrible conditions the same privilege that our ancestors were granted, the privilege of contributing to our society by hard work, and by bringing their food, traditional dress and their arts that will further enrich the lives of us who are already here.

Let’s demand that our politicians compromise and settle on a rational and humane policy for immigration.

Virginia Gelineau, Palmview

 

Border walls are obsolete

Contrary to President Trump’s false assertions, no lawmaker opposes border security. A wall is a non-starter because history’s judgment is clear: The time when walls defended people effectively has long passed.

At the dawn of recorded history, humans surrounded their cities with walls to keep out interlopers. Since bricks burned, cities invested in larger and thicker walls to keep their residents safe. Defeating these walls was no easy feat: Outlines of 2,000-year-old Roman camps near the ancient walled city of Masada show how difficult they were to defeat.

The Chinese improved and extended the Great Wall at the same time.

By the Medieval era, the Chinese invention of gunpowder destroyed any effectiveness walls could provide. Mehmet II used cannons to obliterate Constantinople’s walls in 1453. Bucking history, Ming Dynasty leaders in China renovated their Great Wall, despite the fact it had repeatedly failed to keep out the Xiongnu, the Mongols and pretty much anyone else who wanted to scale it.

Cities have torn down their walls or allowed them to decay, though some still exist as tourist attractions (in Córdoba and Ávila in Spain, Carcassone in France, for example). The Nazi Blitz of London revealed a Roman wall that delights diners at The Grange Tower Bridge Hotel.

Trump’s decision to tout the need for a wall by visiting one of the safest cities in the country, El Paso, is a piece of theater more absurd than anything Albert Camus could imagine.

As one aged protestor said outside the U.S. Border Patrol Station on Jan. 10, “I can’t believe we still have to convince people that immigration is good for a nation of immigrants.”

Gilberto Reyes, McAllen

 

Climate makes wall necessary

As angst over global warming diminishes during winter weather and cold-temperature records set, we need to remind ourselves that increasing average annual global temperatures are affecting the jet streams that normally keep the polar vortices in check.

Meanwhile, conservatives willfully ignore global warming and liberals condone illegal immigration.

Consequently, in later years, as climate change forces more and more people to flee equatorial zones, we will all wish that we’d built the wall sooner and had been overwhelmingly much more aggressive in reducing carbon emissions.

Roaney Giles, Austin

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