Archive for January, 2019


Borderline respect

January 9, 2019

3statesRecently, I moved for the fourth time in 16 years. The moves took my family and me to three different states and four different cities. One was a move across town, which led to discoveries much like a move to a new city can bring.

We were able to do this – in this land of the free and home of the brave – because none of our states have enacted border walls. That does not mean we didn’t have to comply with new laws and requirements to legally live in our new state; we did. They’re different in all states.

Some of those regulations (especially in our last move) are expensive. They have time limits, that is, you must complete them within a pre-established period of time. For example, in my new state, I had to get a new driver license and license plates within 60 days. These are not extreme demands. If I want to embed in this new place, new home, I must do so lawfully. If I choose not to do so, it is the state’s right to take action against me.

Notice the parallels? If I wanted to move into the US from another country, I may or may not have the option to do so. This country, founded by only immigrants, has decided that we don’t have enough room for more. Those who are not like us are not welcome. Whatever “like us” means since Americans are already a diverse people.

I can tell you that when I moved from the north to south, I was significantly unlike the native southerners. We didn’t even talk the same thanks to different dialects, nor was our language exactly the same. Pop or soda? Pen or pin? La-fay-ETTE or Luh-FAY-et? Shopping cart or buggy?

They didn’t kick me out because I was different. They embraced me, and we exchanged stories about our different cultures and weather extremes.

Had I not complied with the requirements and cultural norms, my positive experience would have been short-lived. The greatest parallel I see is that if as a country we enforced the immigration laws of record, we could continue to be the “land of the free and home of the brave” with new, happy citizens here and ready to contribute to this creative country.

It requires bravery to move to a new state – or country – thousands of miles from your family, friends and familiar surroundings. My goal was not to leave corruption, violence and danger behind, which is the goal of so many immigrants. Nonetheless, it is incumbent on them and me to follow the new laws.

No wall necessary. No additional taxpayer dollars necessary. Social service groups and nonprofits can still assist immigrants as they assimilate and hey, could even help fund the costs of legal immigration for them. From there, we will continue to be the ‘melting pot of the world.’