LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Immigration: An American perspective

Hearing so much about immigration and immigrant children being separated from their mothers at the border of the United States, I would like to point out that this practice is not new, but also affected children of American mothers at one time. My American mother married a British citizen, moved with him to a small island in the Caribbean, and had three children, I being one of them.

As a young child, my mother made the decision to return to America with my two siblings and me. To do this, my mother had to go to the American Counsel in Nassau, New Providence in the Bahamas, to determine what rights, if any, her children had to claim American citizenship. She discovered that the date of birth of each child was important because of the changes in the law concerning citizenship.

The law at the time that my 2-year-old sister was born and the year that I was born stated that a child born in a foreign land of an American parent could claim American citizenship, so we were both approved to enter the United States. However, when my brother was born, the law at that time stated that a child born in a foreign land could claim American citizenship only if the father was an American citizen.

At this time, American citizenship could not be based on a mother’s citizenship; therefore, my brother was not approved for citizenship or entry into the United States. Consequently, my sister and I were placed on my mother’s American passport, and the three of us left for the United States, leaving my brother behind.

My mother was required to leave my brother in Nassau until a student visa was approved, which was to take four or five months. There was no discussion or arguing about this decision.

The law was the law, so my mother hurriedly arranged care for my brother for whatever time he would have to remain in Nassau. At the time I was surprised that we were being allowed to enter the United States, but my brother was not although I understood why because I knew what “following the law” meant.

If the procedures for a U. S. citizen to enter the United States with children forced the American mother to leave a child behind, why is it not OK today to apply this rule to illegal non-citizens while the parent is being investigated for entry?

It is disturbing to see the lawless disobedience of the laws and regulations of the United States and the ease to which unaccompanied children, in particular, are able to enter the United States.

And then we learn that a large number of adults who bring the children to our borders are not related to them, and that terrible crimes take place for some of these innocent children. Children are being used as pawns for adults who break the law to get here. Why do we put up with this?

Until Congress takes action to squash all methods of illegal entry and the breaking of our laws, the constant flow of people will not stop, and terrible conditions will continue on our southern border.

We should be able to control who comes into our country; it is a matter of survival because millions of people from the overpopulated and desperate areas of the world want to come here, and the United States will end up like the countries from which these people come.

The future of our country depends on the decisions that we take to solve this problem, so this matter needs to be taken seriously. Even on the small seven-square-mile island in the Caribbean on which I was born, one could not enter and stay if they did not meet the established immigration laws of the island.

By having no strong, workable laws and controls for entry into this country, we give people the green light to come. We need to shut down all entry at the border until sensible and workable laws can be applied.

There is a system for people to apply to enter this country legally. This legal system gives our country the opportunity to verify the background of applicants and eliminate the criminal element from entering our country which cannot be done under today’s system.

Why should Americans have to accept such an incompetent way of handling immigration? We need to stop using excuses for not taking strong action to correct the immigration problem that has existed for at least 50 years. Our laws need to be changed by strengthening the requirements for entry into this country.

Congress (both parties) has been totally irresponsible for years in addressing this problem. Why has Congress let this problem disintegrate to such a disastrous level? Our senators and representatives were elected to serve the people, particularly in matters related to the safety and security of this nation and its people. They have not done so.

Immigration should be high on their list, particularly since they have dilly dallied for 50 years and done nothing. It is past time for Congress to stop playing politics and act now to solve the problem of illegal immigration that continues year after year at a terrible cost to the United States.

Barb Armstrong
Selbyville

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