Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for June 3rd, 2021

It doesn’t take long for chaos to ensue

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Milkweed seeds are packed quite neatly into their pods. Once a pod opens, however, the fluff attached to the seeds readily yields to the wind and chaos soon sets in. That’s what you see in this antelope horns milkweed (Asclepias asperula) across the street from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on May 26th.

On the same day that these seeds were “migrating” out of their pod, thousands of people were illegally “immigrating” to the United States. With that abrupt turn, let me pause to tell you a little about my background. My father and his brother and parents escaped from the Soviet Union in the 1920s and came to the United States to get away from communism, corruption, and antisemitism. My mother’s father was also an immigrant. One of my nephews is married to an immigrant. I’ve had two brothers-in-law who were immigrants. I have friends who are immigrants. I’m married to an immigrant of a different race from the other side of the earth. Immigration has greatly contributed to the development of this country. I wouldn’t exist without it.

At the same time, I value fairness and order. The United States has set up a system in which people from other countries can apply to move here. Approximately a million people were allowed to do that in 2019. Some say that the number is too low and we should let in two million people a year. That might be okay. As needs change, Americans can decide on an appropriate yearly number that wouldn’t overwhelm the country’s resources.

What many Americans don’t find appropriate is people from other countries circumventing our immigration system and coming here illegally. I’ve heard projections that as many as two million people will have crossed into the United States illegally in 2021 alone. That number is plausible, given a report on National Public Radio that “More than 170,000 migrants were taken into custody at the Southwest border in March, the highest monthly total since at least 2006, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials who have been briefed on the preliminary numbers but are not authorized to speak publicly.” To that must be added the unknown number of people that the overworked Border Patrol didn’t manage to apprehend. Another indication of a huge increase in illegal immigration comes from a June 1st news story in the Epoch Times: “Border Patrol in the Del Rio [Texas] Sector has apprehended 95 sex offenders this fiscal year, compared to six during the same period in fiscal 2020. Apprehension of criminals has topped 813 compared to 161 in the same period in fiscal 2020.”

Those figures are evidence that for the most part our southern border is open. (A cynic would say the way we know the southern border is open is that the current administration tells us it’s closed.) Our government is letting many—perhaps the majority—of the people who enter illegally stay. Whereas applicants for legal immigration are screened in their country of origin to verify who they are, to ensure they’ll have a means of support, and to keep out criminals and people with infectious diseases, we have almost no way to determine the identities of those coming here illegally, what state of health they’re in, or whether they’ve been involved in crime—especially of the many who evade the Border Patrol entirely. During a worldwide pandemic our government is paying large amounts of money to send illegal immigrants into the interior of the country by bus and plane, sometimes without even testing for Covid-19.

People who don’t want any limits on immigration purposely and deceptively use the word immigrant to include those who come here illegally. That’s not fair, just as it wouldn’t be fair to describe someone who broke into your house as a resident. Advocates of unrestricted entry into the country hurl the epithet racist at anyone who distinguishes between legal and illegal immigration. That’s not fair. What’s fair is to establish an orderly immigration policy and to have the government enforce it, not flout it.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 3, 2021 at 4:20 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

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