Alternative title: No, ‘Just Letting Them Go’ is Not a Viable Solution. Please Use Your Brain.
There have been an increasing number of people, mainly opportunistic, social-climbing public figures, and the occasional soccer mom with more empathy than common sense, who seem to believe that governments, especially the U.S government, have nothing better to do than kidnap babies and throw them in cages on the borders of their nations. This is false.
I often ask these people what they think the solution to America’s border control problem (and it is a problem) is, to which they often either choose to ignore me, or reply with some string of utopian nonsense, wherein all these EVIL FACILITIES are shut down, border control is conveniently glossed over, and everything magically works out hunky-dory. Needless to say, this is also false.
Border control is something that essentially varies from country to country, and as such, warrants nuanced discussion via case-by-case basis.
Let’s begin this discussion with what is (for now) a universal truth: Border control is important. Why? The most important reason is because it prevents anyone and everyone from simply traveling wherever they please. Maybe many of these people crossing the border are harmless refugees, but some of them might also be criminals escaping justice in their homeland, or hoping to engage in crime within your own, this often involves but is not limited to human trafficking, drug trafficking, and probably at least a few forms of fraud.
The fact that border detention centres are primarily used for processing undocumented (i.e, no passport, no easy way of identifying the persons in question) migrants attempting to cross the border, legally or illegally, is worth noting as well. Those with the correct documents to identify themselves, and no criminal history, are seldom detained in these centres.
Sweden is a good example of what happens when migration laws are too lax. Infowars and Breitbart and other right-wing propaganda outlets will tell you the country is a warzone, which is a gross exaggeration; but violent crime rates in Sweden have risen exponentially in correlation to their immigration rates. Parts of the country have become refugee slums, which native Swedes are encouraged or compelled to avoid. You can find a few videos of cameramen or unsuspecting passers-by being accosted by refugees in these areas. My point being: people fleeing troubled nations are often troubled themselves. If they come from places where violence and underhanded dealings are valid solutions, they will have difficulty adapting to an environment where such dealings are unacceptable. You cannot rationally expect someone from a completely different part of the world, especially one who has had little-to-no formal education, to perfectly adapt to developed society. While heartless, screening processes are necessary. It is the job of the government to look after its citizens first and foremost.
A secondary reason why borders are important is to preserve culture. Japan has taken flak for turning away thousands of refugees throughout the crisis in Syria, and the country is known for its immigration laws being on the more stringent side of the spectrum. It is also one of the most culturally-rich and simultaneously ethnically-homogeneous societies on Earth, with roughly 98% of its populace identifying as Yamato Japanese: those whose families have been native to Japan for countless generations. This exemplifies a fully-developed nation that has a culture that is very unique and distinct from the typical western society. Arguments have been made that, given Japan’s declining population and birthrate, they should allow more migrants into the country. This might certainly be a good short-term solution, but what about the long-term? What happens to the culture? The customs? Even if they agreed to allow only people from developed countries to immigrate to Japan, western society and Japanese society are two polar opposites of the societal spectrum. One emphasises uniqueness and assertiveness, whilst the other emphasises harmony and selfless co-operation. Problems would be bound to occur.
The reason why what would happen to Japan in this situation does not, has not, and indeed will not, happen in a place such as Canada, is because Canada is unique in its not being unique. That is to say, apart from hockey and those who can claim First Nations heritage, there is very little cultural identity in Canada. Anyone can come here and adapt with relative ease, because we are a young nation– even younger than the USA. Canada is a still a cultural tabula rasa, whereas Japan is an ancient country with ancient and deep-rooted traditions that influence daily life.
Can what is said of Canada not be said of America? Probably not. America, like Canada, is a nation of immigrants, but it is also approximately a century and a half older than Canada. It has had 150 extra years to establish its own unique culture, and while the societal differences between Canada and America may seem minuscule to any outsider, as a Canadian myself, who has traveled about various regions of the United States and had a taste of the distinct, tangible cultural identities that my country lacks, the differences are quite clear.
I am interested to see what Canada becomes in the future, one hundred fifty years from now, once it has had the time it needs to mature as a nation and establish its own personality. Immigration will no doubt play an influence in developing this personality, and may end up being the main contributing factor to ensure Canada becomes a culturally rich, distinct, and perhaps even the world’s first truly diverse nation.
Yet none of this would be possible if Canada did not control its borders accordingly. We cannot do as Sweden does, letting anyone into the country with minimal process or qualification. We accept refugees, but in reasonable, controlled amounts, and provide them with the appropriate means of acclimating to their new environment. Those who wish to immigrate here for the purpose of citizenship must pass background checks and prove that they can contribute to society at least to some extent, so that they won’t simply end up on the streets. We are already a very diverse nation, and yet it rarely affects our crime rates. That isn’t to say Canada is perfect– there are plenty of internal issues and marginalised aboriginal demographics that don’t receive the attention they deserve, but I do, for the most part, have confidence in our immigration policy.
Every nation handles immigration differently, and some do so better than others. The U.S.A’s current method is clearly flawed, but at this point in time, I encourage you to consider valid alternatives, as opposed to idealistic pipe dreams. What happens if we heed the vacuous virtue-signallers and simply shut down the detention facilities? What happens to those contained within? Do we simply let them all pass into America, no questions asked? Or do we turn them all away at the border, forbidding them entry outright? And if you think these centres are a something that began with Donald Trump’s presidency, you are incorrect. Obama’s administration used detention centres, just as those before him did. It is not a new concept; you are only hearing more about these facilities now because of the rising number of refugees seeking to cross into America. These detention centres served adequately enough in previous years, but now they are running out of room. What is the solution to this problem, I wonder? The only thing I can say for certain is that shutting down these facilities will create many more problems than it solves.
There is much that must change in the way American politics, and congress itself, is comported, as well as plenty of cultural questions the American people will soon have to answer as a society, before any of the secondary issues such as border control, gun control, etc. can be addressed properly– for, while the U.S is older than Canada, it is still but a young adult, as far as the relative age of nations go; and the U.S is currently undergoing an identity crisis. Its liberal and conservative elements must stop acting the nemesis to one another, and begin to search for common ground, should either side ever hope to start patching the holes in any of their country’s less-functional systems.
This all begins with rational discourse. With so many conflicting opinions and outright lies prevalent in both sides of America’s political spectrum, the only thing people can do is to keep a level head and try to keep the narrative as straight as possible. Think beyond personal biases and grievances, and always ponder the why of things before acting. That will help matters a great deal, I think. In the day and age where a picture alone of Donald Trump is enough to throw half the American populace into a frothing rage, and the other half into a frothing rage about the people in a frothing rage over Trump, people need to take a step back from the news and social media and start carefully analysing things for themselves.
(ADDENDUM, 2018/10/23: Regarding my statement in the above paragraph, about the 50-50 split between the various partitions of frothing rage, it’s actually not nearly so bad as I make it out to be. Of course, I was being hyperbolic to some extent, but This Study suggests things are not nearly so polarised as the vocal minority on both sides of the political spectrum make it seem. Reasonable human beings still exist! All that’s left is for said reasonable human beings to come together and start having some reasonable discussions about our ideological differences, and what we can do to bridge the gap between our respective beliefs and reach a logical compromise.)