could we focus on solving the problem, please?

It is no secret that one of the things that concerns me most in our country is our inability to talk to one another about tough topics. The encouraged mentality is clearly “if you disagree with me, then let’s face it; there’s something very wrong with you.” And not only that, but “You are not worthy of my time, attention nor respect until you change.” 

Great. And just like that, we’ve thrown all Judeo-Christian values out the window. These are grown adults, friends. Grown adults don’t always behave very grown up.

We discredit, demean and cast all blame elsewhere. Know what that also prompts us to do?

Never solve the problem.

I look at America’s current struggle with migration and immigration. The number of persons apprehended for illegally crossing the southern border have reached record numbers this year. Over 2 million migrants have been arrested for entering the country illegally, with current estimates that at the fiscal year’s end, that number will equate to more than 35% than just one year ago. Obviously, something is not working well along the Rio Grande and more. Something is not only not working well in Arizona, Texas and other border states; something is not working well in our approach.

Before, no less, chiming in with a one-sided stance that focuses on the political stunts of solely one person or party, allow me to provide a brief caution first. No federal nor state official is immune to political stunts. None seems also immune to hollow rhetoric or the memorization of find-sounding talking points. The issue is complicated in that only the federal government has the legal power to enforce U.S. immigration law; however, the manifestation of the problem clearly puts an onus on state resources, and the states can only assist in regulation and enforcement.

Hence, this is an issue that needs to be solved by the federal executive and legislative branches; it also isn’t the fault of a singular administration — neither the current nor the previous. But the complicating factor no doubt in play here — and no doubt one we oft fall prey to — is that when we focus the majority of our efforts on the discrediting, demeaning and casting all blame on others, we are again not solving the problem. I often scratch my head, confusingly wondering where our leaders actually direct the most energy.

So what is the problem? It’s not an easy issue. And it’s been tricky especially in recent decades. There are extensive, excellent debates on the totality of impact from an economic, social, and safety perspective — especially in how the influx affects the job market, education, crime, drug trafficking, social services, tax contributions, terrorism, etc. Again, it’s a nuanced issue.

Generally speaking, Democrats and Republicans alike agree it’s a problem. Granted, they prioritize varying angles.

Democrats prioritize finding paths to legal status for those who illegally entered. Republicans prioritize border security.

What’s actually encouraging is that there is some significant overlap in the radical middle. I say “encouraging” because the polar opposite political ends, remember, are not known for their efficiency nor problem solving; sadly, they seem more marked by the anger in their heart or the loudness of their words. Let’s respect their passion; however, few are moved to the viewpoint of another via anger or volume.

According to a Pew Research Center report this month, below is the overwhelming overlap that the angriest, loudest voices seem perhaps not wanting us to hear. There is clear majority, cross-party support for the following: 

  • 73% of us wish to increase security along the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • 73% of us wish to take in civilian refugees trying to escape violence and war.
  • 72% of us wish to allow those who came to the U.S. illegally as children to remain here.

And… majorities in both parties say that solving this problem should be at least a somewhat important goal.

So let’s start there. 

Let’s start with problem-solving.

Let’s admit the overlap. And let’s stop with the discrediting, demeaning and casting all blame elsewhere. It only keeps leaders from doing what they were actually elected to do.