The biggest challenge our society faces in the new century is refugees. Call them whatever you choose: pilgrims, settlers, homesteaders, political exiles, or illegal immigrants, squatters, and homeless nomads. All countries face the unsettling problem of “processing” refugees.
No politician nor religious leader in America today wants to admit that throughout the world we are propagating too many bipedal homo sapiens. Concerned citizens argue vehemently over birth control and abortion, but we are shocked by China’s limitation of one child per family unit, and we could never civilly discuss any sterilization program. Living in a country that exports food, we rarely see starvation up close, insect plagues that wipe out food sources, inefficient food relief distribution, and the consequences of malnutrition due to an unbalanced diet and insufficient calories. Epidemics are under control here, and any serious health scare is widely publicized. When we read about such problems in other countries, we send money, food stuffs, medicine, and volunteers abroad to help us forget.
The oceans prevent all but a few political refugees from arriving on our shores. Forget all those “tired, etc.,etc.,…masses” invited by the mute Statue of Liberty. She is just a nineteenth century political anachronism! In the U.S. today we must deal with the invasion of Latino immigrants who see the promise of jobs for unskilled laborers, a leaky legal system that permits them to get a foothold on our soil, and more generous government programs for deserving people than there are in their “country of origin.” They are welcomed here by millions of their predecessors who went through the same learning curve and are now established citizens or non-citizens working without a great risk of repatriation even if they are criminals. (These delinquent felons, whether rehabilitated or not, are not welcome home. But as Thomas Wolfe wrote, you can’t go home again, anyway!)
The only scary difficulty for newcomers is crossing the border. Rules governing visas and work permits are just a nuisance that are enforced at INS offices where immigrants seeking legal entry are vigorously and scrupulously screened by a lethargic, foot dragging bureaucracy. Who knows what they do with all the paperwork they insist in receiving, and where all of it is diligently filed and stored? Don’t ask, don’t tell. That’s our government’s solution to all controversial issues!
A transient working population of Latino nomads shifts from harvest to harvest. Many crops would never come to market without the back-breaking labor of these exploited and underpaid farm hands. Who ends up buying all those broken-down used cars and pick-ups? Who tends all those lawns of the rich? Who collects the garbage and recycled rubbish? Who looks after our children in day care and cleaning up our malls and hospitals? If you don’t know, stop one of these timid souls doing those jobs and strike up a conversation about anything. See if you can understand his or her English! If you need a pair of hands to help you with some miscellaneous project which requires heavy lifting or some strenuous effort, go downtown (you know where the unemployed, itinerant laborers hang out) and ask one if they have the time to help you.
“Nomad-ism” is in our inherited animal genes. Despite the regulations and quotas on the books in all countries aimed at limiting immigration, people cannot be legally constrained in the US from seeking sustenance and emergency healthcare. Only force is truly effective in stopping illegal immigration. In the U. S. we are not ready to construct a Berlin Wall along our southern border and man it with machine gun toting guards like the Communists did in Europe. The Great Wall of China may have worked in the “old days.” Those who breached it were either slaughtered or assimilated by the local warlords if they seemed useful.
The most critical issue to resolve in all the more advanced and prosperous communities is how to provide food, shelter, employment, education, and health care to these uninvited invaders. We see them as a temporary problem, while they see us as the permanent solution. (They didn’t come here to go back home soon.) Besides, all over the world those who depart are seldom welcome back. Anyone who leaves a country is considered by the authorities as one less mouth to feed, one less body to clothe and worry about, and one less job to find. The poor who leave probably didn’t pay any taxes as unemployed, so their loss is not felt in the government’s coffers. Hospital demand is reduced, and no burial costs are incurred. “These people aren’t our concern anymore,” is the local government’s attitude. Allah (or the local Deity) be praised!
Seriously, good Christians in America wring their hands. Taught to help others so that they can aspire to be “Good Samaritans,” these altruists can’t dodge this issue. Yet, we really don’t want any more hungry and indigent people on the streets where our own unkempt “homeless” reside and embarrass us. What a dilemma! Fortunately, our country doesn’t have to deal with the problem other countries face where nearby wars have made political and economic refugees of many educated and employable people. These needy refugees could be gainfully employed in the new country once they learn the language, right? Unless that country already has a serious unemployment problem, and its people have an ethnic hatred for their unwelcome visitors.
As usual there is no easy or quick solution. Many refugees are going to suffer, starve, and die. Those that do survive are going to sacrifice in ways they never imagined. The turmoil is likely to get worse without any light at the end of the tunnel, because the poor will always amuse themselves with the cheapest recreation, procreation! I don’t want to alarm you, however. The Australians don’t want “boat people” in any great quantity. The Scots don’t need any Kurds, the Italians aren’t happy with Albanians, and the various African countries have enough AIDS problems themselves without importing more. “Guest workers” are creating problems in Europe. When we tried using them some years ago in California, the system we adopted failed.
No country can digest a swarm of locusts dropping out of the skies looking for food! No one is ready. At home, the herds are getting restless, the water sources are drying up, the food supplies are running low, and things across the border are looking better. Time to move on. Time for our societies to rethink how they are going to handle an invasion of “refugees:” good people fleeing bad times and unbearable circumstances. “Globalization” is considered progress in the prosperous, industrial, technologically advanced world. The truth be told, it brings with it a Pandora’s box of knotty social problems no one in an isolated country like the U. S. has seriously contemplated. How we deal with those thorny problems needs to be addressed.
Should our country of 300 million people be required to support the poor, suffering, sick “widows and orphans” in the rest of the world that has a population of over six billion? Should the rich and “better off” throughout the world be badgered by beggars, charities, churches, the media to take responsibility for the destitute, the homeless, and the disabled? What are our local and federal governments in America doing with all the taxes they collect? Since they haven’t resolved the homeless and poverty issues that we have in our own country today, how can Americans be expected to help the indigent on other continents? “Whatever you do, don’t bring them here! Don’t build any more low income housing in my neighborhood! Above all, don’t reach into my pocket and take out more money for taxes!” These are local citizens shouting.
Still, the migration is unstoppable. The magnet of prosperous cities, countries, and businesses will attract the unemployed. The movies, television programs, and print media will picture the lands of plenty in such a favorable light, that anyone would be motivated to leave the misery of a poor “homeland” for something much better. Even if it means raising money to travel to America in a sealed container on a leaky ship without adequate food and water. That is just the first risk undertaken by many of these adventuresome, fearless, and desperate nomads.
Since halting this mad rush to migrate to countries with better living conditions seems impossible in the short term, we should explore what can be done in the long term. We can rule out the likelihood that the Christian Coalition in the US can be persuaded to back serious propaganda efforts to convince the illiterate and uneducated to consider “family planning.” We can also assume that wars will be discouraged, epidemics will be treated with the most modern medicines, and famine will be fought will biologically enhanced crops despite strong resistance in Europe. With minimal chances that the world-wide population explosion can be halted soon, we must reevaluate what recent history has shown us are the longer term solutions of the past. The first is to share our unpopulated lands with the newcomers like the Native American “Indians” reluctantly did, and the second is to adopt Communism as Russia, China, and Cuba have done.
Sharing with others is more in line with our religious education. We definitely need more citizens with a good work ethic to handle the unskilled jobs and to improve the gene pool. Laziness and selfishness should not be inbred any further. We should continue to encourage all those to come here who desire to pursue higher education and an opportunity to demonstrate their gratitude after they graduate. This two pronged emphasis directed at identifying responsible skilled and unskilled workers would definitely enhance competition. It might even result in changing our ugly image as a greedy, isolationist world superpower!
Our government has set aside huge tracts of virgin land which could be opened up to this new wave of immigrants. Redevelopment of our slum areas could provide housing for those recent arrivals that need affordable living close to their work places. If newcomers take over the locations where they settle like the Latino immigrants have taken over in Los Angeles, we can hope that they won’t treat the displaced majority any worse than the white European immigrants treated the Indians when they took over America! Change of power will take time, and the displaced white majority might learn how to run casinos or Dotcom start-ups.
Our other choice in dealing with too many people is to let the hippy radical left introduce us to Communism. Letting the government run the economy in Russia and Cuba has resulted in a great exodus of people from those countries. Living in communes with the social pressure to conform to all those government regulations doesn’t encourage cooperation among the lazy and unambitious. Communism has worked up until now in China because the hordes had no better place to immigrate. Crossing the Gobi and the Taklimakan Deserts led emigrants to Mongolia, Afghanistan, and Siberia-not the most prosperous and inviting places to live. Sailing to America in Chinese junks isn’t recommended either. The economic successes of Communism have been temporary at best. Government planning in the U.S. has never been known to please many citizens. It is highly unlikely to promote rugged individualism and greedy entrepreneurs.
Once our State Capitalism has been converted to State Communism, I cannot guess how bad the living conditions would become here before significant emigration began. But it didn’t take a century for unhappy citizens to try to scale the Berlin Wall. The antipodes may attract a great number of people once they learn how to endure the cold and extract petroleum and other riches from under the tundra and ice. Of course, by then, optional paradises, like the U.S. is today too many foreigners, may not exist. I’m not sure how many countries with opportunities would issue visas right now to our average high school graduates, dressed as they are and so poorly prepared for college and the work place. Nevertheless, the crafty and adaptable usually find some way to survive, and maybe even prosper in dire times and in strange places!
The refugee problem will not go away, however. Our nomadic propensity will drive us to seek better pastures like the Three Billy Goat Gruffs. All kinds of Trolls will be encountered on the bridges trying to control the immigrant traffic. Tolls will be increased, intimidation will be employed, and discrimination will follow for anyone daring to cross borders. But immigrants will continue to come unless the situation here is bleaker than what they face in their own countries. Since Biblical times people have always been looking for green pastures and still waters. Christians, Arabs, and Jews have been arguing over where to settle for centuries in the Near East. The situation there may be what’s in store for us when conflicts over disputed lands become violent because there are too many people seeking too little arable land and fresh water!
We have a choice, friends: make room or multiply misery. We’re not likely to colonize space in the near future!