Christy Shaw's picture

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  by  Christy Shaw

See any correlation between stronger immigration controls in Latin American and tighter restrictions and enforcement in the United States?

I do.

Andrew Selee, President of The Migration Policy Institute, writing at migrationpolicy.org, discusses how migration trends are changing in the Caribbean and Latin America. Acknowledging that the United States has long been an overshadowing destination for "intraregional" migrants moving to and from countries in these regions, Selee reports that many who had previously migrated to either the United States or Europe are returning home. Then there are the 4.5 million Venezuelans who have fled to neighboring South American countries, and tens of thousands of Nicaraguans, and increasing numbers of Asian and African migrants.

Selee states:

As a result of these shifts, many Latin American and Caribbean countries find themselves having to develop coherent immigration policies to respond to significant inflows... increasingly, governments have started imposing tighter requirements for entry.

I am glad to hear this and it's about time. And I don't read anywhere where Selee or anyone else is criticizing these "tighter requirements", yet we know that similar efforts to reform and tighten our own U.S. immigration system is completely demonized. Bottomline, a responsible U.S. immigration system sets a powerfully positive example for other countries to follow, and many countries have stricter immigration laws than the United States!

There is no question that citizens of these regions have long struggled for greater freedoms and better economic opportunity, all of which has been too often undermined by government corruption and political upheaval. So one can empathize with their desire to come to the United States.

But positive and lasting change generally comes first from within, and studies show that most migrants do not want to leave their homelands and countries of origin.

To me there seems to be a clear connection between tighter restrictions and controls to U.S. immigration, and the positive effect that can have on increased efforts of other countries to help their own citizens to stay, to return, and to provide support for their own fair share of immigrants.

It is humane and just good common sense to set limits to immigration. Limits are required in every other aspect of life. And while the Migration Policy Institute and the United Nations frequently writes about mass migration issues with a clear finger-wagging in the general direction of President Trump, we are STILL one of the most compassionate and generous countries in the world for welcoming immigrants. But how many we welcome to stay here must be balanced with achieving and maintaining a sustainable population growth to preserve our cherished American way of life.

CHRISTY SHAW is the Member Services Manager for NumbersUSA

Updated: Sun, Sep 13th 2020 @ 3:10pm EDT

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