China | Immigration | Dual Citizenship | Your Requests or Comments
China represents a huge, largely untapped market for America. It is also a country whose government opposes the freedoms that our country stands for. Since the brutal supression of the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989, America has linked economic policy towards China with Human Rights policy.
While China wants normal trade with the United States, American sanctions have not proved effective at convincing the Chinese government to change its positions.
While foreign policy and business interests are invariably intertwined, the fact that some American businesses want access to Chinese markets seems like a poor excuse for America to compromise its belief in human rights. However, we also should not ignore the fact that when America exports goods and services, it often also exports ideology. Much of the pro-democracy movement that China repressed had its origin with trade, educational, and cultural relations between the countries.
Communications technology, in particular, creates significant problems for governments that are trying to maintain control over the spread of ideas. A photocopier, if not carefully controlled, can reproduce thousands of flyers with uncensored ideas. Personal Computers played a significant role in the fall of communism in the Soviet Union.
With respect to the Internet, governments can impose filters, caching systems, and firewalls to stop the open use of the Web for anti-government purposes; however, it is fairly trivial to safely bypass any such blocking techniques if people are motivated. For the same reason that our government would find it difficult to control material that it does not approve of on the Web, it is difficult for totalitarian governments to clamp down. If they want the scientific, productivity, and educational benefits of the Internet, they expose themselves to the rapid spread of ideas both from inside and outside their country.
Any successful immigration policy will include a change in our attitude towards Latin America. Over the last century, the United States has pursued its own interests in Latin America at the expense of the stability, sovereignty, and economic development of that region. People who feel safe and have the basic necessities of life are much less likely to try to come to the United States illegally than those who are desperate.
We have a right as a country to establish rules about who can come into this country and under what conditions and for what reasons. Particularly, in order to maintain fair wages and living conditions for our lowest economic classes, it is critical to manage the flow of unskilled labor into the country. By supply and demand, increasing the number of available unskilled laborers tends to push down the wages.
If we are going to have rules, we need to enforce them. If we arenít going to enforce the rules, then we need new rules that we are willing to enforce. Enforcing the rules isnít just putting up patrols at the borders. It is preventing those whom we know to have broken the rules from benefiting. This means that they should not be given jobs, welfare, etc. If we knowingly give them anything, it should be because we need to do so for our own protection (If, for example, immunizing illegal aliens will help prevent the spread of disease to the rest of us, we may make the choice to immunize out of protection for ourselves).
The difficulty with a strict exclusionary policy is that someone whose family is starving to death in Latin America isnít going to care much about our rules and, for many Americans, it is difficult to send someone back to a country where it is likely that they will die (from starvation, from political enemies, or from other causes).
We must be consistent in enforcement of the rules. The penalties for corruption in law enforcement need to be severe and vigorously enforced in every area of law, including border enforcement. The enforcement of laws against the employment of illegal aliens needs to be as vigorous as those against the illegal immigration. The person who hires an illegal alien as a housekeeper to save a couple of bucks is not in any morally superior position to the person who came here illegally and took the job to feed her family. If we donít have the will to enforce the laws as they apply to everyone, then we need to rethink our commitment to the underlying policy.
Dual Citizenship Mexico now allows its nationals to become American citizens without losing their Mexican citizenship. One of the stated purposes of this is so that Mexican-Americans can vote in U.S. elections without losing their status as Mexican citizens. I think that this a dangerous situation because that is how border disputes get started. There are already politicians in Mexico suggesting the California will eventually be returned to Mexico. Part of the duty of todayís government is to anticipate wars and international disputes of the future and, to the extent possible, to prevent them when they are minor annoyances rather than waiting for them to develop into real problems.
Copyright: 2000, Dale C. Mead for Congress Committee