We all know the undocumented people living here have broken the law by coming in illegally or overstaying their visa and yet, something has to be done to get them registered and legalized. A majority of our citizens say we should find a way to solve this problem. This country needs them.
The reason most of these people came here was for work, because there is no work in their home countries that will support their families. If these millions of workers were suddenly sent back to their countries, it would cripple those economies along with hurting ours. They would be sent to the end of very long unemployment lines and never have any hope of finding work. The money they had been sending home to their families would stop and this would hurt the families and their economy.
When those young people have no job and no hope of getting one, they get angry and are perfect recruits for gangs and the political parties that are becoming increasingly anti-American. Civil unrest and economic hardship in other countries are dangerous for the residents of this country. The radical governments of some Latin American countries would love to have more people in their forces and against us. Especially since they are on our southern border and could manage to get into our country.
Some gangs that are powerful in Latin American countries have started gangs in this country, mostly involved in drugs. This is a small minority of the undocumented immigrants who are here, but it is enough to worry about, especially when they recruit members from groups who are alienated from the mainstream.
If teens are given legal status and are encouraged to get a good education or train for better jobs, they would be very unlikely to join gangs. When they have a stake in the country and don’t have to worry constantly about being caught and deported, the majority would be law abiding members of their communities. Many would continue their education and go to college and many would join the military.
There are almost 30,000 non citizens now on active duty in the U.S. military. These service members are defending a country in which they don't have the most important of our rights, voting for the people who could send them to war.
The waiting period for citizenship for immigrants in the military has been decreased from 5 years to 3 years. In 2004, President Bush signed an order allowing active duty immigrants serving at least one year during conflict to be eligible to apply for citizenship in even less time, without many of the usual requirements. And they don't have to return home before applying.
Many immigrants place a high value on military training and the additional education available through the military. When citizenship requirements are eased for those who join the military, even more immigrants than usual sign up.
If the undocumented immigrants here now were given legal status, there would be a huge additional pool of recruits and there will be a high number who will enlist for these new citizenship benefits. This would add sufficient numbers to the regular military and possibly enable the National Guard to remain at home.
The CIA's World Factbook lists 30 countries with a negative population growth and 13 of them are our NATO allies. The U.S. population growth rate is about even, which means our military will stay about the same size. But we must make sure our population increases to a higher rate so we can keep our military numbers sufficient and make up for some of our allies who have decreasing numbers.
These additional legal residents would help Social Security and our military and be an invaluable part of our society.
Yesterday I listed several areas we will all benefit when there is immigration reform which would legalize the millions of people living here illegally; the military, Social Security, our economy, our future economy, education and national security. The first column talked about our economy, this one was about Social Security and the military. The next one will continue with the others.