The fact that America’s population is aging is no secret. Baby boomers are growing older and their reproduction rates haven’t kept pace with those of their parents. According to U.S. Census data, the average median age of Americans grew from 32 years in 1990 to 35 years in 2000 and it continues to grow.
Programs such as Social Security, which many of us will depend on in our golden years, are dependent upon a younger generation of workers. With an aging population, the burden on the worker generation, our kids, is going to grow heavier. The fact is that we either need our own birth rates to increase and keep pace with the previous generation or we need to open our doors to immigrants. Otherwise sustaining a decent standard of living for our elderly, orphaned children and widows will be impossible
Enter the influx of Hispanic immigrants from south of the border. The disparity between rich and poor is even greater south of the border than it is here in the US. Millions of these immigrants found themselves struggling to provide basic services such as food, shelter, and education, to their families. Many of these folks see the greater opportunities that exist in the US and have made the decision that any loving parent and most of our ancestors made; to come to America at any cost. Many, who choose to immigrate legally, find themselves waiting years in order to successfully obtain a visa to immigrate to the US. Many of those who wait to do it legally never find success leaving only the option of illegal immigration. Regardless of their immigration status, almost all of them are coming here to provide a better life for their children than they can obtain in their native countries. If you ask me, to sacrifice all you have known, the people, the places, sights, and familiar culture, for the sake of your family is the most noble of deeds and speaks volumes to the character of these immigrants.
Now, back to the question of how we solve our problems of providing for our aging population. The answer seems obvious to me and is right in front of us. We don’t have to ask for a younger generation to come and help out, they’re coming on their own. We have an abundance of willing immigrants who want nothing more than to come to America and work. Many are risking their lives getting here, knowing they will be doing work that few Americans want to do. In fact, immigrants from south of the border have become such a integral part of the American economy that after Alabama recently passed repressive anti-immigrant legislation, Alabama farmers discovered they have no longer a labor force to help them harvest their crops.
At a time when Americans who are above the median age of 35 should be welcoming these immigrants as saviors, we instead pass laws such as Alabama’s which intend to punish any American who provides assistance to illegal immigrants while making life hell on the immigrants themselves. Assistance in the case of the Alabama law doesn’t mean smuggling illegal’s across the border in your trunk. It involves such benign forms of assistance as giving an illegal a ride to work, or giving their kids a piece of candy on Halloween.
So, why aren’t Americans recognizing the need to allow these immigrants to come here? I suspect it is good old xenophobia that is the root cause of our blindness to common sense. Laws such as Alabama’s seem to be overwhelmingly popular in states such as Alabama, which have had a history of issues dealing with human equality.
America is still the wealthiest country in human history yet many of the very people on the right who advocate making life hard on immigrants proclaim to be Christian. With this abundant wealth of which we have all been blessed, they chose to be stingy, even to the detriment of their own futures and those of their progeny. It is time that America rids itself of prejudice and xenophobia and recognizes a mutually beneficial relationship when ones such as this appear. Open the path to citizenship to those who would risk their life wanting to become Americans and deport the bigoted rednecks who claim to be American instead trample upon the dreams of freedom and equality that define America!