We find it strikingly, unusual and selfish, that in a Nation, inarguably, populated by immigrants and their progeny, that the issue of immigration is so hotly contested. In general, Democrats are more welcoming to immigrants (especially, “asylum seekers”) than Republicans, most emphatically, the latter’s conservative constituents. The issue, disgracefully, appears to be a “game changer,” for many candidates, which is an indication that this “immigrant Nation” is sharply divided on the subject (The Statue of Liberty, and Emma Lazarus, notwithstanding).
The opponents of liberal policies of immigration, aside from those characterized by a lifetime of bigotry, argue that liberal immigration places a disabling strain on resources, such as residential spaces, schools, healthcare and public services, that it exacerbates social conflict, that its maintenance and enforcement is too costly, that “illegals” who do not pay taxes, place an unfair burden on the American taxpayer (N.B. little, or nothing is said by them, regarding the Nation’s big businesses and billionaires who do not pay tax), and that it creates competition for low-paying jobs.[ It is our considered view, that it is the venal element of bigotry, itself, that underlies most immigration objection.]
Proponents of liberal immigration, cite, among other things, America’s traditional history as a place of humanitarian asylum, its permissive Statutes affirming the propriety of immigration, the virtue in the responsible exercise of moral empathy towards the needy and afflicted by a prosperous Nation, and the frequent need of, special labor (viz., nurses from the Philippines, agricultural workers from Mexico).
We would, bravely, and confidently, offer an innovative and potentially, beneficial scheme which, if successful, could present the potential to reconcile all contesting interests on the subject (with the rational exception of America’s reprehensible and adamant bigots and anti-democratic, fascistic militias), but, additionally, and significantly, add to the strength of the Nation. However, prior to its revelation, we would cite some relevant empirical and historic, background.
Anyone who has taken an inter-coastal flight has undoubtedly, seen the vast areas of dry, empty, desert in the southwestern portion of the continental United States. The Nation, officially designated as located in the “Northern Temperate Zone,” is, nevertheless, occupied by no less than four enormous deserts ( in addition to an uncountable quantity of uninhabited prairie and grasslands). Of its four deserts (Sonoran, Great Basin, Chihuahua and Mohave) the Sonoran Desert, alone, contains 120,000 square miles of empty, barren and unused real estate.
A few years ago, when we were in Tucson, Arizona, we had the good fortune to visit its historical museum, which curated photos, clothing, utensils, tools, furniture and other relics of the Arizona territory, before the railroad. We saw somewhat, faded, photographs of ostriches, camels and mules, (the two latter, used as means of transport of goods) and the early settlers, living in the harsh, dry, infertile territory. These early settlers and their progeny, using common farm tools, reclaimed the arid, non-productive land and made it arable, commercial and habitable.
History relates that between the years, 1882 to 1903 thirty-five thousand Jewish immigrants (“the first Aliyah”) came to the arid, useless, forbidding, wasteland of the Negev desert and ultimately, tamed and improved it, albeit, with crude and inefficient tools, so that, generations later, Israel became a major exporter of fruits and flowers. Few of the former ghetto or shtetel, residents, previously, had farming experience, notwithstanding which, to their credit, the lands were made fruitful, and life, viable, through the dedicated, efforts of these broken and damaged, human remnants of the Nazi holocaust, who were granted asylum in that young country.
Our novel proposed, solution to America’s immigration issue would result in synergetic benefits for the immigrant and the Nation. We would propose a program, in which the approved and willing immigrant, seeking a new home in America, for himself and family, be given employment in the reclamation of the vast, unused areas of American desert.* Our Nation has the assets and skills, necessary to initially, create livable temporary spaces, as well as necessary infrastructure for the willing and capable immigrant.
A preliminarily necessary, step would entail the employment of such willing and capable immigrants in the assistance of the government construction of their new homes, and, ultimately, (and most beneficially to the Nation) the reclamation of the non-arable land. In the modern era, the miracle performed by the first Israeli settlers could be replicated; this time with the benefit and assistance of modern construction and agricultural equipment, expert guidance and assistance. The positive, synergetic benefits, of this (entirely voluntary) program, would be manifold, including, capital improvement (value) of useless, National lands, uncountable new jobs and salaries for American workers and engineers, as well as the trainee immigrants, and an increase in sale and use of American building materials and goods.
Immigrants, thus employed, would, inarguably, and universally, be esteemed as a useful National asset, and productive, and valued, new members of the American family.
[*N.B. It is contextually, important to stress, that this proposal is intended to apply, solely, to volunteer immigrants, and that no conscription, whatsoever, is intended.]