Cheap Seats 2019
Dear Applicant - 09/04
By Rich Trzupek
There is so much nonsense, most of it emotional nonsense, spewed about on the subject of immigration to the United States that one cannot help but wonder what potential immigrants think. To many, we must not appear as the land of opportunity so much as we do the land of derangement, populated by an apparently evenly distributed mixture of rabid racists and crazed anarchists.
We are, of course, neither of those things. White supremacists and Antifa thugs gobble up attention and elicit outrage, but we call each extremists for a reason. They operate at the fringes of American society, representative of nothing more than the fact that we are a nation that believes freedom doesn’t count unless it includes the freedom to be rude, self-absorbed and behave like fools.
With that in mind, wouldn’t it be helpful to have a letter we could send to every potential immigrant applying – legally applying – to take up residence in the United States? Such a document is long overdue. Here’s what I believe it should say:
Thank you for your application to establish residence in the United States of America. We appreciate your perseverance as you filled out the voluminous paperwork required and waited patiently throughout our long review process.
Our purpose, we hope you understand, is not to prevent immigration into our country, but is rather to ensure that immigration is conducted in an orderly manner so that you have the best chance of achieving success in this Land of Opportunity. We do not want you to live in the shadows, nor to feel that you have to live in the shadows. Knowing that you have entered America legally relieves you of that burden.
To the extent possible, we also try to prevent undesirable people from crossing the border. Now you may have heard it said that there are a great many Americans who define “undesirable” as anyone who is not Caucasian, does not speak English and does not possess independent means of subsistence. While one can hardly deny that a few such characters inevitably exist in a nation of 350 million that prides itself on its commitment to peaceful freedom of expression, this insubstantial minority is hardly representative of the ordinary Americans with whom you will routinely interact on a daily basis.
Undesirable immigrants describe the same people you would find undesirable as neighbors: hard-core criminals, drug dealers, sexual predators, etc. We don’t care if you’ve had a few traffic tickets or got busted for petty theft when you were in high school. We know that good people make mistakes. Our goal is keep out the truly bad people whom are both unreformed and unreformable.
The wall, of which you have no doubt heard much, is one way we believe we can achieve this goal. The wall, as we conceive it and believe it should be used, is not a tool to keep people out, but rather to ensure we know who’s coming in. For, only by knowing who is coming can we prevent those who would do you, me and the rest of society harm from infiltrating our nation.
Despite much talk about racism among politicians and some in the media, you will be pleased to find remarkably little of it in your day-to-day lives. That is not to say that racism has been eliminated in 21st century America, but rather to say that number of ordinary, working men and women who think about race – much less obsess about it as so many politicians and pundits do – is miniscule. Good people working hard to improve themselves and their lives do not see race when they look at their neighbors and co-workers. They see fellow travelers on life’s journey with whom they share trials and tribulations, wonder and joy.
This is not the case among many of our elected representatives, an unfortunate fact that we who elected them find deeply embarrassing. There are exceptions of course, but the primary goal of most of the men and women populating the United States Congress and state legislatures is not to serve the public, but to ensure their re-election. They are prone to say the most outrageous things and adopt ridiculous policy positions if they believe it will further that personal agenda. Most of the time it is best to ignore them. Should you become a naturalized citizen in the future, you should know that most times you will not be able to vote for the best candidate, but must settle for the least worst.
Despite the challenges with which our leaders present us, we believe you will enjoy living in the United States. We hope that you, like so many other immigrants who have settled in our nation, will prosper and live a long, fulfilling life. You are, and always will be, most welcome.