by EDITORIAL BOARD
This week, the American public had to witness the disgusting and demoralizing act by U.S. law enforcement officials and military of tear-gassing children who are seeking asylum in this country from violence and despair. The actions of the public servants stationed at the border may well have been justified at the moment of conflict: They were likely following orders and operating under protocol put forth by our government.
And therein lies the problem. Our policies on these matters are all messed up. They lack humanity. They make our country look mean-spirited and morally corrupt. Ultimately, these actions and these images do far more damage to the country, and leave our people in far more danger, than if we simply opened up the borders and let people wander back and forth as they pleased.
If our border control policy is going to continue to be tear-gassing children who can’t even walk yet, then we should just open the borders.
Each year, we spend billions of dollars protecting our southern and northern borders. Economists also suggest that we lose billions more in trade opportunities because of the lost time it takes to travel back and forth between Mexico and the United States, or Canada and the United States.
The reason we don’t open the borders is that we are concerned about the safety and national security of our country. But more than 99 percent of the people trying to cross the border have no criminal intent. They are not rapists or terrorists. They are simply people looking for work, or possibly looking to buy something. As for the others, I am sure our law enforcement officials will be able to deal with them.
Another argument against open borders is that drugs will flow freely into this country. News flash: They already do. Mexican cartels fly drones over our border daily and seem to have no problem moving their product. Besides, many of the drugs that are killing our people are over-the-counter or prescription pills. So opening the borders would likely have little impact on the drug trade.
The truth is that the focus on border protection is really just about xenophobia. And the hysteria that has been drummed up around it costs this country tens of billions of dollars each year. We could take a fraction of that lost revenue and spend it strategically to solve any of the problems that would arise from having an open border.
Furthermore, by transitioning back into the welcoming society that the United States has been for much of its history, we will end up being the destination of the best and brightest people in the world when they are fleeing persecution. The positives of embracing ambitious foreigners in our country will always far outweigh the negative impacts.
Queens is a great example of this. We have ethnic enclaves in all corners of the borough. We’ve seen an incredible influx of immigrants over the past decades. And while we’ve encountered many problems as populations shift and move, we have overcome all of them and come out on the other side the better for it. Our economy is booming. Our people are educated and kind, and we find richness (both monetarily and culturally) in exploring and accepting each of our differences.
The president of the United States has often criticized Democrats as being out of touch because they “want open borders,” which is simply a lie: You’d be hard pressed to find a Democrat with the courage of conviction to suggest we should have open borders. Many of them probably think it’s a horrible idea, even if they are speaking in private.
But what is truly horrible is the prospect of seeing more images of our government — which is supposed to be a shining light on the hill — tear-gassing 10-month-old girls in the arms of their weary mothers, who have walked thousands of miles in hopes of a better life.
It’s time to start talking about open borders. And it is well past time to be talking about recapturing the moral values that have made the United States of America great.