11 Oct On-going Thoughts on Immigration
By Phil Waldron
In the United States we just celebrated Labor Day. Here in Honduras, we celebrate Labor Day on May 1st. Regardless of which day in the year that your country celebrates it, the idea of honoring the blue collar, agriculture and service industry workers is a good thing. Without these people, how would our economy and society function?
A news source that I read recently reported that the West Coast ports have large container ships “stacked up” in docking schedules due to the shortage of workers to unload the ships and an even greater shortage of truck drivers to connect to the containers and haul them to their destinations. This source also reported that all the trucking companies on the West Coast are searching for more qualified drivers because there just aren’t enough of them to meet the demand. The shortage is increasing costs to all of us consumers as well as creating scarcities. Costco has announced rationing of paper goods due to interruptions in the supply chain, and other stores are soon to do the same.
These shortages of labor are an indication that there really is a need for immigration in our country. Sadly, among our elected leaders, both republican and democrat, there is a “Failure of Nerve” as Doctor Edwin Friedman talks about in his book of the same name. The immigration issue is being so politicized that real, commonsense solutions are not on the table. Dr. Friedman says that this failure of nerve on the part of our elected officials has produced a grid-lock that will only be broken when leaders, on both sides, step up and truly work together to find common-sense solutions to our problems.
Perhaps I am too simplistic in my outlook, but I know from my early years as a project manager for a general contractor that it would have been almost impossible for us to build anything without the help of migrant workers. There just weren’t enough bodies to get the work done. For almost twenty years now, Donna and I have been living south of the border, among Mexicans and Hondurans. So, for what it’s worth, here is my proposal:
Why couldn’t we have a wall that impedes the flow of illegal immigrants? And why couldn’t we have a fenced road that runs from the Gulf of México to the Pacific between Tijuana and San Diego? And why couldn’t this road be patrolled by our immigration, customs, and military if necessary?
But doing all of that will not satisfy the need that the US has for migrant workers to make up for the manpower shortage. In addition to a tough, no-nonsense, closed border policy, our archaic and obsolete protocols for providing visas to migrant workers must be overhauled. In more than 30 years of working with Latino immigrants on both sides of the border, I have never yet met one who came to the US illegally that would not have done so legally if only they were able to get a visa to work in the US. My proposal is a solid, impenetrable wall backed up with constant patrols and then a realistic and efficient migrant visa program where the workers are guaranteed re-entry if they comply with the conditions to work for some extended period and then return home.
At Mission UpReach are doing all we can, with a vision to do more, to make Honduras a place where individuals can find work, stay in their family unit, and have the necessary income to provide for their family. It pains us to see our country, the U.S., take little action to sincerely help the millions who are risking their lives just for an opportunity for a better life. Meanwhile, please pray that we can continue to grow opportunities in Honduras while teaching people the good news of the gospel.