Trump has warned Americans about a dangerous, murderous invasion of illegals at the U.S. border. I agree that not all undocumented immigrants are good people. The numbers tell us that there are bad members in any large group.

However, traveling to the U.S. border isn’t a crime. Nor is seeking asylum. Most of the men and women are genuinely looking for a better, safer life for themselves and their families. What they see in America is hope.

Generally speaking, we humans don’t want to leave our homeland. We prefer to remain in the place of our history and culture, our people, our language, our family, our neighborhood, our way of life and all that is familiar. And we prefer to be where we are wanted.

We aren’t inclined to walk and hitch rides and sleep outside and be exposed to human and environmental dangers for thousands of miles simply to become freeloaders.

Most immigrants, like people in general, want to make a living. Like us, they’re a diverse and complex population. They vary in education, skills, and ability to contribute. Many undocumented immigrants in the U.S. work, live in apartments, or in homes they bought through a second party, and have businesses.

Many others live in a garage or a trailer, multiple people packed into small quarters, and work at poor paying jobs. They’re accused of stealing those jobs from U.S. citizens. Sadly, the real culprits are the American employers who don’t want to pay living wages to their fellow Americans.

People are concerned that undocumented immigrants receive government benefits. There are some who do. Most don’t. Because of their fear of arrest and deportation, they want to remain invisible. They will not ask for aid, and thus expose themselves. They do, however, pay taxes through their employment and by buying groceries, vehicles, clothing, gas, supplies and the items we all need to get by day-to-day.

Desperate individuals who are afraid for their lives, or want a safer, healthier life for their children, do whatever they must. A family in the U.S. moves out of a poor school district to a better one so their child has a better life. It’s human nature to protect and provide for our children, no matter the cost.

Trump creates a cruel and untrue narrative when he says that immigrants are intent on harming Americans. He creates false fears and perpetuates prejudice and ignorance. He turns a complex issue into a simple “Us vs. Them.” His job is to protect and inform Americans. His responsibility is to do it wisely, thoughtfully, truthfully.

We can deal with the immigrants. Some will be able to stay and others will be deported. But we can’t allow fear, misconceptions and lies to create within us prejudices about a human issue that requires genuine, humane, long-term solutions. We really are better than this. I hope.

Kathleen Sukiennik lives in Galveston.


(31) comments

Carlos Ponce

"Nor is seeking asylum."
Asylum and jobs were offered by Mexico. Those currently at the border declined.
"Most of the men and women are genuinely looking for a better, safer life for themselves and their families."
Not a reason for granting asylum. They could have applied LEGALLY for entry into the United States but decided to jump to the front of the line.
"Trump creates a cruel and untrue narrative when he says that immigrants are intent on harming Americans." Neither cruel nor untrue.
They have shown disdain and contempt for American law. They pelt our border agents with rocks and bottles. And many of our border agents are Hispanic. Some have used firearms against Mexican Federales. Many of these were deported back by Mexican authorities - but not all. 600 have been identified as criminals. Proper vetting would reveal probably hundreds more. Only a fraction are women and children. The clear majority are men of working age. They carry their country's banner with them in an attempt to plant that flag in our country. Many consider that an invasion. Question is, why don't they put their efforts to fixing their own country?
A false narrative was given to them back in their country. Promises of quick easy money and easy access to the United States.
MSNBC's Gadi Schwartz reports, "Many of these men tell us that they heard in Honduras that it would be easy to cross into the United States. Some of them told us that they had heard that there were programs, work programs. They have realized that it is very difficult to get into the United States."
Trump welcomes LEGAL immigrants. We all do. There is no "fabricated fear".
Is it too much to ask them to obey the law? I think not.

Carlos Ponce

Clarification: "looking for a better life" is not a reason for granting asylum. They can however, apply for entry.
Acceptable reasons for granting asylum are they suffered persecution or fear that they will suffer persecution due to: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group,or political opinion. None of these apply to the majority of those at the border.

Gary Miller

All the caravan members share one reason to not let them in. They are all willing to break our laws to get what they want.

Rusty Schroeder

Kathleen, you just don't get it. The US needs to take care of itself before it opens the floodgate to immigrants seeking a better lifestyle. The US sends Billions to these countries to help with infrastructure and welfare of their citizens. Now these same citizens want to swarm the border and demand asylum and a new life. Sorry, Mexico already wants them gone and the US doesn't need nor want them. My housekeeper is from Venezuela, she came here legally and is in the process of gaining citizenship. She told me months ago this would be bad for the US, these are not the "cream of the crop" people they are made out to be. Many are criminals and gang influenced, this was from family who she speaks with regularly in Venezuela. Secure the border, keep the caravans traveling to California instead of Texas.

Alan Waters

Kathleen's philosophy is what many of the Germans had as they allowed over a million refugees in by opening heir borders to allow amnesty. Ask them how this has worked. Ask the same questions to the citizens of Sweden. This is my main concern with the new thought of socialism.....if you don't study history, you are damned to repeat it. Look across the ocean and show me one country that the people have thrived under socialist programs. Please wake up before it is too late.

Dan Freeman

“Look across the ocean and show me one country that the people have thrived under socialist programs.” The following countries have after tax income per person comparable to the U.S.: Luxembourg, Switzerland, Iceland, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Belgium, and Australia. Of course all but the United States have guaranteed health care, university education, unemployment, and retirement programs. All depend on some form of socialized government.

Carlos Ponce

Look at the populations of each country named"
United States 327,716,056
Luxembourg 592,993
Switzerland 8,570,866
Iceland 338,859
Netherlands 17,103,638
Denmark 5,762,967
Norway 5,373,039
Austria 8,758,614
Belgium 11,527,035
Australia 24,903,246
We have cities with greater populations than some of the countries you mention. It is an unfair comparison but let's continue....
Looking at the "closest" (Australia) which has only 7.6% of US population.
Socialist? Although subject to debate the general consensus is "no", although there are a few government provided services supplemented by private entities such as in health care. As for immigration, Australia "maintains a list of skilled occupations that are currently acceptable for immigration." They also have policies that make it difficult for Muslims to immigrate to their country.
Second closest with about 5% of US population is Netherlands. The Netherlands is considered socialist but has a free market based economy. They have problems with immigrants and maintaining government programs. But they will attempt to increase taxes to remedy this problem.
[rolleyes] Foreign born make up 11% of their population.

Gary Miller

A good look at each of these countries will show they have socialist leaning government with a capitalist leaning economy. Capitalism is keeping the western European governments going.

Bailey Jones

Trump plays fear like a fiddle, and demonizing "the other" is as old as America. 5000 "illegals" at the border - ooh, that sounds scary. Criminals? Sure. Take any random sample of 5000 Galvestonians and see how many criminals you will find in the group. It's not zero. Coming for our jobs? Yes, please - come and take our jobs. Harvest our produce, man our shrimp boats, build (and clean, and landscape) our houses. America creates 200,000 new jobs each and every month, and we are at full employment. We've got jobs. Come and get them. We absolutely need secure borders and we absolutely need immigration reform that allows our southern neighbors to come here and work. And we need to be accountable for our own actions in Central America. The problems there didn't just fall from the sky, our fingerprints are all over them. MS-13? Straight out of Los Angeles. We exported it to Central America and it is wreaking havoc there and growing like a cancer - fueled by American drug money. and American guns. I'm not going to support this latest eruption of hate, xenophobia and racism. (Racism? - no one is complaining about the 75,000 Canadians here illegally.) I'm not afraid of brown people. Quit being a tool of your political party - and that applies to both parties. The solutions for immigration are not that complicated. But solutions only work if we actually want to solve the problem. As long as Trump can motivate his base by fear mongering, and the Democrats can get record numbers of voters to the polls by complaining against it, there's no way either party will let this golden goose die. Quit hating strangers and start motivating your representatives to reach across the aisle and solve this.

Carlos Ponce

Bailey, do you know any Angel Families, ie, families of those killed by illegal aliens? Have you no compassion for them?
There is NO RACISM! But you had to play the "Race Card" - because you have little to stand on except your über Leftist Liberal stance. Even Mexicans don't want them in their country. The mayor of Tijuana doesn't want them. Are they racist? Do you see Mexicans complaining about thousands of illegals in their country? YES!
Solution to the problem - BUILD THE WALL! It's only part of the solution but it is a step those in the Border Patrol would appreciate.
Let me tell you about Amanda "Mandy" Ferguson Weyant age 28 who was a sixth grade teacher at Eastwood Heights Elementary in El Paso, Texas who was killed Thanksgiving morning by an illegal alien, Joel Velazquez. She loved her students, her students loved her.
Immigrants are welcome, but come in LEGALLY!

Rusty Schroeder

Bailey, comments and opinions like yours are going ensure a 2nd term for President Trump. I love how you threw guns in there with your drug argument, classic democrat trolling attempt. My governor, representatives, and senators are doing just what they were elected to do, uphold their constituents wishes and desires. If you are from Galveston County I hope you can accept that reality, because other than County Commissioner Holmes, Galveston County remains solidly Red.

Ray Taft

“But we can’t allow fear, misconceptions and lies to create within us prejudices about a human issue that requires genuine, humane, long-term solutions.”

Let’s consider that Sukiennik‘s own story about accommodating a
mob of illegals is the misconception we should be concerned about.

The United States needs an immigration system that serves the national interest. To restore the rule of law and secure our border, to protect American jobs, resources and health. Without borders we are not a country. That’s what our government should be doing.

Mobs storming our border because they live in a dump of a country, arriving penniless, in poor health, illiterate in their own language, uneducated and demanding rights they don’t have, with people like Sukiennik telling us we can just deal with it while we just ignore the reality of what it costs Americans is the misconception we need to be concerned about.

Charity begins at home. America is for Americans and those who come here legally. Foreign countries need to take care of their own and not herd their undesirables in mobs towards our border.

Contact your representatives in the State and Federal governments and demand they defend our border.

Gary Miller

Congress could with very few laws put an end to illegal immigration. #1 make unlawful entry a felony. #2 Require all employers to use E verify to eliminate employing illegal migrants with fines stiff enough no employer would fail to use it. If illegal immigration were stopped legal immigration could be increased. #3 authorize a national citizen registry for voters, international travlers and job seekers.

Gary Miller

Why do we need legal immigration? The U.S. economy creates jobs faster than births. The national Chamber of Commerce wants illegal immigration for cheep labor. Democrats want illegal immigration for future voters. Do you want lower wages? Do you want non citizens voting?

Steve Fouga

Gary, we need legal immigration so we can bring critical skills into the country, whether they be shrimpers, doctors, or engineers. To me, legal immigration is the easiest way for the U.S. to get a "quick fix" of critical skills, but yes, over time, we should try to grow what we need at home. ILLEGAL immigration should, of course, not be allowed.

Jim Forsythe

Until we have Comprehensive immigration reform, nothing is going to change. At this time we do not want to change!
If we did, Congress would be acting at solving this, as we would be demanding that they did.

Is the caravan a major threat to the USA, or other factors a greater risk to us?
The caravan at our southern boarder has not committed any crimes against the USA, except for a few rocks. If they try to enter the USA illegal, they will be captured. If we want to decrease the size of the group at the boarder, increase the number of people taking their information. We have extra troops that is estimated will cost us $70,000,000 or more by the first of the year, that could be taking the information.. Also increase the number of judges to process the claims faster. We could also offer a free bus ride home, and some would take us up on this offer.
But this is not the group you should be concerned about. Below are two groups we should be taking action against.
If you are not concerned by visas overstays (600,000 a year that stay), maybe you should be! This is the easiest way to get into the USA.
One group is the 700,000 people that overstayed their temporary visas in fiscal year 2017, according to a recently released estimate from the Department of Homeland Security. Of these six hundred thousand of these individuals are suspected to have remained in the country, according to DHS, while the other 100,000 or so simply departed after their visas expired. This is the way to enter the USA with small chance of being deported and not receiving a big penalty, and this is happening year after year.
If they are captured it is "civil violation" in most cases.
If you overstay your nonimmigrant visa, it is considered to be a "civil violation," and not a "criminal violation." However, if you overstayed your nonimmigrant visa and had "unlawful presence" in the United States for a period of one (1) year or more after your 18th birthday, then you may have received a ten (10) year penalty under INA section 212(a)(9)(B). Once ten (10) years has elapsed, then you may qualify for re-entry into the United States. If you were given voluntary departure from the United States.
The Canadian boarder is another of the areas that needs to be addressed. If I was trying to come to the USA, Canada is where I would try and come in by using a small boat after flying in from Mexico, if I decided not to try to overstaying a visa..
While the number of arrests is tiny compared with the southern border, the human smuggling is just as sophisticated. “ They are very well organized. They have scouted the area. They have scouted us,” said U.S. Border Patrol Agent Richard Ross. “Basically, we are not dealing with the JV team; this is the varsity.”
Why has this become a problem? No visas are required from Mexico to Canada.
Visa-less entry into Canada for countries like Mexico and Romania, another nationality noted by Border Patrol agents as contributing to a spike in apprehensions, play a role by making the northern border more attractive for people seeking to enter the U.S. illegally. A plane ticket from Mexico City to Montreal or Toronto can cost less than $350. The Canadian government in late 2016 lifted its requirement that Mexican citizens apply for visas to enter the country as part of broader efforts to strengthen ties with Mexico. A similar requirement for Romanian citizens took effect in late 2017.

Carlos Ponce

Problem with "Comprehensive immigration reform" is that it means something different to everyone.
Only thing that needs to be fixed is to remedy the 9th Circuit court's Flores decision which leads to problems when children are brought over. Keeping parents with children violates the 9th Circuit's dictates. I think that was their intent - release everybody - open borders. No media microscope under Bush and Obama - but when it happened under Trump's watch ......[scared]

Wayne Holt

Besides a tiny sliver of extremists on both the Left and Right, the vast majority of both Republicans and Democrats are people of goodwill. We should begin every discussion like this with a personal reminder that what motivates people to speak out on both sides is the desire to MAKE LIFE BETTER. Some do lean toward that more for those in extreme poverty from other countries, some lean toward making sure native born Americans are not in want before considering the welfare of those who are not here legally. Both want to see human beings' lives improved, at the end of the story.

It is not helpful for Democrats to hurl the racist slur at those who clearly aren't but want legal immigration only. It's also not helpful for Republicans to call Democrats commie stooges who want to steal elections; most Americans who are in the middle of this mess want neither.

Let's try to start off by NOT pushing all the wrong buttons on the other side. Maybe then we'll find that we have brought the two sides together, even if just a bit more.

Jose' Boix

"Until we have Comprehensive immigration reform, nothing is going to change. At this time we do not want to change!" The travesty of it all is that we can't even manage the Immigration system we have. And, every time we bring up a "path to Citizenship," the nasty word Amnesty comes up. And, a Day Worker program - ditto, and doing a sweep on businesses checking the employed work-force is legal - ditto, the argument is that the "eVerify" system does not work, finally doing a sweep on the millions of students and others with expired tourist visas - somehow can't be done. And at the end, no one seems to agree on mass deportation. Then we do not have or want to be burdened with the cost of having enough judges to take care of the cases waiting. And, we can talk about Comprehensive Immigration reform? Just my thoughts as an immigrant USA Citizen.

Jim Forsythe

Comprehensive immigration reform requires effort and money. If we are going to change we must do both.
If we are not going to put in the effort and money, this conversation will continue forever.

If we continue to saying that we can not have Comprehensive immigration reform , we will not.
If we demanded change, it may happen.
This would require each party working together for a common goal.
We are working under a patch work of rules that need to be reworked toward our goals. But to be able to do this,we have to have one goal. Does anyone know what our goal is,beside what each party says.

What is our goal?

The rules that we have now can be changed. To change, it may become inconvenient for you, Are you willing to change the way we do things?
Make it hard to be here unless one is here legal. Change the visa system to one that makes sense for our times and not for the time when they were first put in use.
Require check- in every week, which would be verifying location and are they still in school or working. Make it easy to comply, but harsh if they do not.comply
Put penalties in place for employers that include jail time, if found not complying with the requirements which would include a employer reporting each week who is working for them..
Until we take out the profit our of illegal immigration, nothing will change.

E verify can be made to work, if we want. By using advance technology it can work.
If it used in every aspect of our lives such as banking, renting, schools, working, buying food,health care and such, part of our problem would be solved. If not, we will continue to have problems.

"No media microscope under Bush and Obama" ,
We can not change what has happen in the past, but the future is up to us.

Gary Miller

All want to come to America because America is the best place to be. Obama tried to fix that problem by changing America to a place no one wanted. Trump improved America so much they walk a thousand miles to get here.

Jose' Boix

Let's just try to have 100% compliance with the rules we now have. If we can't, then making any Comprehensive Reform work has the proverbial snow ball in "a hot space."
A way to make some head-way is to just take 3 areas of compliance and work to make make then 100% compliant. Then select a couple more, until it is done. Just my thoughts.

Jim Forsythe

Do you want to try and make the rules we have now work or incorporate what we have now with a different system to make it easier to be in compliance. The rules we have now are going to help with dealing with the undocumented population, even if we follow all the rules to the max?
One of the changes would be to E-Verify, which would serve as a deterrent and diminish the illegal population without the government having to directly remove anyone (although, obviously, deportation is a completely legitimate tool of enforcement).
The knowledge that it will be much more difficult to make money in the U.S. will serve as a humane deterrent against future illegal immigration. Moreover, mandatory verification for all workers will make it harder for illegal immigrants to have jobs, so some of them will leave. In addition, the mandatory implementation of E-Verify would make it easier to prosecute employers who exploit illegal workers and depress wages for lower-income Americans.
E-Verify would require IT working on the problem, and once Congress decided to do it they would not be involved in the nuts and bolts of it. At the same time they can tackle the visa system that is too complex. The last time I counted we had about 272 different type of visas.
The question that needs to be answered is do we need all of the different types and are they up to date with are needs.
Comprehensive Reform also means looking at laws and rules we have now and if it is do a good job, go on to the next problem.
We can stay the course we are on with immigration or change to a system that would help with our problem. If we stay the course, we will be in the same situation as we are now.

Carlos Ponce

Problem: Nancy Pelosi's idea of Comprehensive immigration reform includes a path to citizenship. They don't want citizenship, they don't need citizenship. What some want is a job so they can send money back home. They won't call the United States home. Notice how they carry their country's flag with them.
Comprehensive immigration reform should end chain migration. If they want in, let them apply and be properly vetted.

Jose' Boix

This Forum is a great example. We will continue to debate without achieving any effective change, action or results. The same path Texas education finance reform will follow. Just my thoughts.

Jim Forsythe

Carlos just demonstrated what the biggest problem is. If we can not get past, what they want and what we want, change will never happen. To say it can not happen because of ______- means we will never come together for the good of the USA, until the mind set is changed . Immigration reform can not be a Republican, Democrat thing, The only way it will be fixed is when we get leadership at the top, that bridge the two.

E-Verify will help us to maintain a pool of workers to supplement the USA work force.
The knowledge that it will be much more difficult to make money in the U.S., will serve as a humane deterrent against illegal immigration.

Carlos Ponce

In his 2019 Budget proposal Trump asked for E-Verify. He also asked for wall funding which became a stumbling block for Democrats even those who voted for a border barrier a few years ago. The extreme leftist like Ocasio-Cortez want ICE removed.

Jim Forsythe

Leadership test will start after the first of the year. When no one party is in total control. it is required to get things done. Maybe they will learn to work together for a common goal.

The E-Verify that the past presidents have worked for just Verify that a person can work in USA. This is a start, but it can be used for much more. This version does not address visa overstays.
Donald Trump has brought more public and media attention to the E-Verify service from the (DHS) Department of Homeland Security that it has seen since its inception in 1997. If Trump is not using what is already started, it would be a waste of resources.
"We don't want to expose employers to the risk where they end up rejecting a qualified candidate for a job because [E-Verify] says that the person is an illegal immigrant," Obama said. "The goal right now is to see if we can perfect the E-Verify system."
Carlos , what power do you think Ocasio-Cortez will have, She is just one person, and has not even started her job.
As far as the wall, it will require leadership. If leadership is lacking, it will not happen. One of our leaders said Mexico will pay for it, so some may waiting for that. The total cost of the wall will be too much for the possible benefit we may get from it. It does nothing about the one's already here.

Carlos Ponce

Ocasio-Cortez has the backing of the Liberal Media.

Jose' Boix

Mr. Forsythe's words: "Immigration reform can not be a Republican, Democrat thing, The only way it will be fixed is when we get leadership at the top, that bridge the two." Too true! It should be that simple; ditto for the various other significant issues we all face!

Jim Forsythe

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was elected by 100,044 votes to 17,762 for Anthony Pappas a Republican , because she is the one they wanted.
She was out fund raised by a 10 to 1 margin and still won by a lot. Just what power do you think she will have being a jr member.
You are trying to make it sound like she will be the Speaker of the House.
Prejudging what she will do before she has started to work?

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