Published On: Tue, Oct 11th, 2022

OP-ED: Even with a partisan-divided immigration policy, we can still get things done

The American immigration system has long fallen short of the ideals of rule of law. Both of the recent administration’s policies have frequently violated the letter and spirit of the law, with serious consequences for immigrants. But these problems were endemic long before the Biden presidency and the Trump administration who reversed course on Obama/Biden policies during their 8 years in office. 

Those who wish to come to the United States should be able to work and earn a living without fear of persecution. The current immigration system is flawed, because it is too restrictive. Despite the United States’ long history of welcoming foreigners, immigrants only make up about a half of a percent of the population per year. The United States ranks in the bottom third of nations in per capita GDP and foreign-born residents. Furthermore, the country’s birthrate and population growth rate are the lowest on record.

Ultimately, the system needs to be fixed. The current system is failing to address the needs of American families, businesses, and society. It is relying on discretion, which is not sustainable after decades of legislative inaction. It cannot address the growing challenges of the system and is causing mistrust among people on both sides.

To fix the immigration system, we must restore rule of law. We must end lawless actions, and then design a fair and humane system. The immigration debate is being skewed by those on polar opposite sides of the issues at hand. The only way to fix this is to reform the law itself. A majority of democrats feel that immigration laws are unjust, while most republicans believe that our administration should simply enforce the laws that are on the books. 

Whenever it comes to immigration, especially at this point in our history, I am somewhere in the middle. As an administrator of an international security firm, who for years, provided anti-kidnapping services on the Mexican border, I have firsthand knowledge of the deteriorating condition of the border itself. 

While the border as well as mass immigration are issues that we need to come together on in the future, our experience with performing rescues of girls being trafficked has led us to another area where the system is just not operating correctly. USPA Nationwide Security has a branch, a nonprofit wing, called Kingsman. Our Kingsman division deals with the immigration system when we rescue girls who were lured into the United States, sold and used for labor or sex trafficking, then rescued – only to find that they have overstayed a work visa and cannot properly readjust or integrate within society – to no fault of their own. 

Other times, we come into contact with women who are legally in the U.S., who followed the correct and legal channels, only to be put on hold for years. An overwhelmed border crisis has debilitated all available resources and legal immigration has become nearly impossible. 

We recently had the opportunity to assist a Chinese family who legally immigrated to the USA, but for lack of response by INS, separated a mother from her two young daughters for 5 years. Our Executive Director, Michael Evans, was able to reconnect this family with the help of Congressman Ted Deutch. 

A process that had been stalled for several years, citing paperwork errors, long waiting lists and an overwhelmed system, was a challenge for the congressman and his staff. However, working together, Deutch and Evans were successful in re-igniting a stagnant process and the results speak for themselves. Jing Wang legally immigrated to the USA in 2017. Shortly after, she married an American and began the process of bringing her daughters to their new home. To no avail, they filed boxes of paperwork and waited patiently for years. It wasn’t until Kingsman got involved and sought the assistance of Congressman Deutch, that the family is now reunited and the girls are living here in Palm Beach, getting acquainted with their new and permanent surroundings. 

When we work together, we can get anything done. The congressman and his staff never asked which way we vote, our political preferences or anything other than, “How do we get these girls home to their mother?” 

If I could wave a magic wand over the immigration system, the wizardry would be to actually have a working system that meets the needs of asylum-seeking human beings, while supporting and defending America’s sovereignty and security. The same way we came together with a congressman who worked tirelessly for his constituents, we can extrapolate that out to the rest of congress and invite working groups to put their heads together, drop politics for a minute and get it done. 

One can only dream of this new benevolent civilization developing in a straight line if they are an unworldly idealist. It is necessary for us to leave behind our politics and escape the weather-beaten hands that latch on to drag us back into the identity politics of red versus blue, which is the problem in the first place.

Daniel Manning is the CEO of USPA Nationwide Security

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