I came from California to Tennessee at a very vulnerable stage in life. Yet, I did not have the stereotypical experience of the "new kid". The folks in Tennessee were welcoming and friendly despite the foreign air about me. This experience made me appreciate what foreign immigrants to the United States have to go through and the feeling of acceptance when one interacts with a different culture. Currently, I am studying Political Science, Asian Studies, International Relations, and Economics to make an impact on future policy.
As an immigrant to Tennessee, I have an appreciation for what foreign immigrants experience when they come to this country. I've read literature on the economic effects of immigration and I firmly believe a liberal immigration policy is consistent with a liberal market economy. Immigrants start a multitude of new businesses, from humble taxi services to tech start-ups. Allowing individuals to apply for citizenship give them and our natural-born citizens the opportunity to improve their livelihoods through the market economy. As immigrants start businesses or gain employment in their respective communities, the opportunity opens up to integrate with their local community and strengthen the communal bonds of the neighborhoods they immigrate too. Finally, maintaining the principle of America as a beacon of hope for those in the dark world of oppression is important to me.
Congress must recognize the material and immaterial benefits of comprehensive immigration reform. Our current immigration system is demonstrably inefficient; for example, there are approximately 11 to 12 million undocumented individuals in the United States. Imagine the state of Illinois, with a population of 12 million, totally unaccounted for in the U.S. Census; that is the degree of the problem with the current U.S. immigration system. Immigration reform must address this issue.
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Eric, I am a native Californian, came to this beautiful state in '92 and a day hasn't gone by that I don't thank the Lord that I'm here. Why? Because here I'm safe, here they have a balanced budget and are careful with the taxpayers' money. Here you have neighbors with a name, here you're helped when you are stranded by the side of the road...not robbed or worse. Here there is work, seasons, and compassion. This is truly God's country and, while they'll offer you a hand up when you're in need, Tennessee expects you to pay it forward, not live off others.
Any legal immigrant can apply for citizenship, legal being the buzz word. I've worked here with Russians, Brazilians, Laotians etc. and they applied and received citizenship. There are no sanctuary cities in Tennessee - the nearest one is in Dalton and I hope and pray it stays that way.
While I do agree with you that changes need to be made, adopting a liberal policy like in California is foolhardy. If you want to push that agenda, I'd suggest you find another venue because folks here in Tennessee aren't buying that cow.
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Erick, every so often a swearing in of new "citizens" takes place in federal court. Each time there are 80 to 100+ new citizens that have followed our immigration laws. They applied, waited their turn and then fulfilled all the requirements. Some waited for months and others for years. Why? To become U.S. citizens and seek the opportunities that citizenship offers. They didn't violate our laws and only to seek money they couldn't make in their countries.
Eric, I would suggest you might think about attending the next ceremony and share with these new citizens how dumb they are for going through the legal process when they probably could cross the border without waiting.
When we talk about this being a country of immigrants the meaning is clear, those who would become law abiding citizens from the beginning. I believe the last group were from 30+ countries.
N.D. Kennedy Sr.